Our Conferences

FAPSA has traditionally run two kinds of conferences, each held biennially. One is the FAPSA Strategic Planning and Development Conference (or mini-conference) which discusses matters in relation to furthering the aims and objectives of the FAPSA Council. The other is the FAPSA Biennial Australasian Philosophy in Schools Conference. The focus of this conference is on the presentation of research, invited national and international speakers, and practical workshops.

2016 FAPSA Conference

FAPSAP4CNZ hosts the 2016 Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Conference

“Philosophy Throughout the School Years”

18th and 19th of April, 2016

Te Wharewaka o Poneke, Wellington, New Zealand

The conference was followed by an “Action Day” for students at a local school on April 20th.

For a list of workshops and presentations offered at the conference, download the following document:

FAPSA CONFERENCE 2016 Preview of Presentations

The Federation of Australasian

Philosophy in Schools Associations

  2014 Conference


Philosophy’s Contribution to School Education

 7-8 July, 2014

Australian National University, Canberra 



Gilbert Burgh (University of Queensland) How should children practice philosophy?

Philip Cam (University of NSW) On philosophical narratives for children

Liz Fynes-Clinton (East Brisbane State School) Deep reflective thinking through collaborative philosophical inquiry

Lynne Hinton and Sharon Baird (Queensland University of Technology and Hillbrook Anglican School) Implementing philosophical inquiry at an independent secondary school: A measured approach

Britta Jensen (Marist College North Shore) Philosophy in the foreign language classroom

Winifred Lamb (Narrabundah College) The value of philosophy and its counter-cultural role in the senior high school curriculum

Christopher McCaw (The University High School, Melbourne) A bumpy start: First encounters with philosophy teaching, from an experiential perspective

Martyn Mills-Bayne and Virginia Kinnear (University of South Australia and Flinders University) Children’s use of justificatory language within and without the Community of Inquiry

Thom Robertson (Narrabundah College) The place of nature in a secondary philosophy curriculum

Rosie Scholl (Buranda State School) Engaging students in collaborative philosophical inquiry

Dan Smith (Serpell Primary School) Creating a toolbox for thinking – motivating philosophy and transforming school culture

Robert Stevens (NSW Department of Education and Communities) Cultivating flourishing in schools

Panel discussion What contribution can philosophy make to school education?


Downloadable forms below:


2014 program

Notes for Participants

Past conferences

Information about past FAPSA conferences.

2013 Conference Presentations, Notre Dame, Sydney, July 12-13

  •  Narelle Arcidiacono & Chris Ling (Dramatic Philosophy & Cannon Hill State School) Ten Years, Ten Rules, Ten Tools: Teaching and Transformation
  • Philip Cam (School of Humanities, University of New South Wales) Teaching Ethics in Schools
  •  Laura D’Olimpio (The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle) Philosophical engagement with mass media: teaching viewers to be critical
  • Kon Kalos (Korowal School) Deep Listening—‘Stillness and Silence’ Practice & Intellectual Detachment—the other side of Philosophy in Education Pedagogy
  • Kate Kennedy White (Bondi Public School) How to embed philosophy into the ‘crowded curriculum’ (and find five hours a week for philosophy)
  • Vanya Kovach (University of Auckland and P4CNZ) Developing and Mapping Arguments in Ethics
  • Sandra Lynch (University of Notre Dame Australia) Philosophy, play and ethics in education
  •  Martyn Mills-Bayne (School of Education, University of South Australia) Emotional Dialogue in the Community of Inquiry: building an Empathic Pedagogy
  • Sally Parker (Moria College and The University of Sydney) Is ‘Science as a Human Endeavour’ really ‘Science Philosophy’ in disguise?
  • Andrew Peterson and Brendan Bentley (University of South Australia) Philosophy for Children and Character Education
  •  Rosie Scholl (The University of Queensland and Buranda State School ) Transforming Pedagogy through Philosophical Inquiry
  • Emmanuel Skoutas (Dandenong High School) Exploring the ethical dimension of the Question Quadrant
  • Robert Stevens (NSW Department of Education and Communities) Assessing General Capabilities 
. The 2012 Annual AAP Conference Presented by the Philosophy Program at the University of Wollongong, this conference was held one 1 – 6 July 2012. It included a “Teaching Philosophy” strand, which was supported by FAPSA. The keynote speaker was Professor Rob Wilson. Professor Wilson, originally from Perth, now works at the University of Alberta and co-directs Philosophy for Children Alberta. He presented a paper entitled: “Collaborative Inquiry out of School: Philosophy Boot Camp, or the Endless Summer?” based on his experiences of ‘Eurekamp’, Alberta’s innovative summer camp for children interested in philosophy. Visit the conference website to view the full conference program.

The Thoughtful Classroom: Teaching to Overcome Educational Disadvantage (2012)

FAPSA, in partnership with VAPS and the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, presented this international conference on 2 June 2012 at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. The full day of presentations, workshops and panel discussion featured guests Professor Tom Wartenberg, Dr Ron Ritchhart, Professor Lynne Hinton, and Associate Professor Philip Cam. The conference focussed on primary school philosophy and how it may contribute to overcoming educational disadvantage. The conference was inspired by research underlying the Big Questions Philosophy Mentoring Program, a Melbourne-based partnership program bringing philosophical inquiry to primary school classrooms and offering community-based learning opportunities to undergraduate Philosophy student ‘mentors’. Abstracts and Papers

Philip Cam: Educational Disadvantage and the Community of Inquiry Download Philip Cam’s full paper.

In dealing with educational disadvantage, teachers need to try to bridge the gap between the educationally disadvantaged student’s out-of-school life-world and the one they encounter at school. This talk looks at the ways in which the classroom Community of Inquiry can assist in this process. After suggesting that there are more and less productive ways for teachers to think about educational disadvantage and its connection to the Community of Inquiry, we will examine evidence for thinking that the Community of Inquiry can help us to deal with educational disadvantage. Following this, we will explore three prominent features of the Community of Inquiry that also give us reason to believe that it can be effective in dealing with educational disadvantage. These are its capacity to stimulate student engagement, its emphasis on learning to think for yourself, and its ability to generate a sense of belonging.

Associate Professor Philip Cam from the University of NSW is a national leader in Philosophy for Children, who wrote the acclaimed curriculum for teaching Ethics in public schools across NSW. He advocates the teaching of philosophy as a means of overcoming the systematic entrenchment of disadvantage in the school system. The 4-minute video ‘Philosophy for Children’ featuring Associate Professor Cam may be viewed here.

Lynne Hinton: The Thoughtful School Download the slide presentation from Lynne Hinton’s workshop (PPT 4.6 MB). Note: View in ‘slide show’ mode only. How does the school itself contribute to or perpetuate the notion of educational disadvantage? This presentation suggests that the most important job of schools is to teach children to think well, thereby enabling them to make good judgements and question issues that relate to their lives and the lives of others. How this was achieved at one school through engagement in philosophy over a period of 14 years, is described. Current work being undertaken at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane is also outlined.

Professor Lynne Hinton is Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology. Formerly Principal of Buranda State School in Brisbane, Lynne has won many accolades for her innovative work over 15 years implementing Philosophy for Children. The 3-minute video ‘Classrooms in Action’ demonstrating philosophical inquiry in the classroom is available here.

Ron Ritchhart: Demystifying Thinking: Helping All Students Learn How to Learn Download Ron Ritchhart’s presentation (PDF 9.9 MB) Educational disadvantage impacts an individual’s engagement in school and general readiness to learn, reducing a student’s development of self-efficacy toward learning and future aspirations associated with education. By demystifying the thinking process, drawing on students’ natural inclination toward sense making, and offering providing models of intellectual engagement, teachers can help all students learn how to learn. A classroom focus on ideas and thinking, rather than achievement of the quick right answer, changes the dynamics of the classroom so as to create a community of inquiry and truly thoughtful classroom space. Drawing on the past twelve years of research into making thinking visible and creating classroom cultures of thinking, Ron Ritchhart will share strategies that engage learners in active meaning making while scaffolding the thinking process and making it more visible to all.

Dr Ron Ritchhart spent years in the classroom as a teacher before joining Harvard Project Zero where he is now a Senior Research Associate. His research has explored such issues as teaching for understanding, the development of intellectual character, creativity in teaching, and the development of thinking dispositions. He currently directs the worldwide Cultures of Thinking project aimed at supporting teachers in creating classrooms where thinking is valued, visible, and actively promoted.

Tom Wartenberg: Philosophy as a Tool for Ameliorating Educational Disadvantage Download Tom Wartenberg’s presentation (PPT 7.5 MB) My presentation focuses upon my experience working in a primary (elementary) school in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. My university students teach a seven week “Introduction to Philosophy Course” to children to seven and eight year old students all of whom are Hispanic and African American and from impoverished backgrounds. After explaining my approach to teaching philosophy, one that is based upon using children’s picture books as prompts for philosophical discussions, I present a range of benefits that accrue to the children from their engagement with philosophy. The presentation includes some video clips.

Professor Tom Wartenberg is a Professor of Philosophy at Mt Holyoke College (USA) and a leading exponent of Philosophy for Children in disadvantaged school communities. He is a Fulbright Research Fellow and formerly honorary visiting professor at the University of Auckland. Along with maintaining popular website for teaching children philosophy, he teaches an innovative course in which his students teach philosophy to elementary school children. The 15-minute video ‘Picture Book Philosophy’ featuring Tom Wartenberg may be viewed here.

FAPSA Australasian Philosophy in Schools Conference 2010

The 2010 FAPSA conference was at the University of New South Wales. For the first time, this conference was held in conjunction with the Australasian Association of Philosophy conference, with the two conferences sharing a ‘pedagogy’ stream. As well as providing workshops and practical demonstrations of classroom philosophy, the FAPSA conference offered a broad range of presentations, including: Reading Philosophically Ross Barham (Melbourne High School/University of Melbourne) The Child’s Right to Inquire & Shape their Environment Jennifer Bleazby (Monash University) Ethical Behaviour in the Australian Curriculum – Opportunities for Philosophy Monica Bini (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) Citizenship as a Learning Process: Re-evaluating the Role of Citizenship in Democratic Education Gilbert Burgh (University of Queensland) Democracy and Philosophy Education Philip Cam (University of New South Wales) An Ethics Pilot Program for the Upper Primary School Philip Cam (University of New South Wales) In Pursuit of Quality Teaching: Quality Teaching & Philosophy in Schools Elizabeth Curtis (Queensland University of Technology) An Ideal Truth or Truth as a Regulative Ideal: Collective Understandings in
Philosophy and Education Sarah Davey Chesters (Queensland University of Technology) Improving Literacy Outcomes through Philosophical Inquiry Liz Fynes-Clinton (East Brisbane State School) Philosophy Teaching: How to Think, or What to Think? Clinton Golding (University of Melbourne) Implementing Philosophy: A Whole-School Perspective Lynne Hinton (Queensland University of Technology) Respect in the Community of Inquiry Vanya Kovach (University of Auckland) Don’t Just Press Play, Meet the Continentals. Film Philosophy in the Late Middle Years Russell Manning (Yarra Valley Grammar School) Developmental Assessment of Philosophical Skills and Dispositions Janette Poulton (University of Melbourne) A Case for Philosophical Dialogue: Teacher and Student Perspectives Rosie Scholl (The University of Queensland) Making Connections: Philosophy, Reflection and Identity Rosie Scholl (Buranda State School / The University of Queensland) Caring for the Self as “One-among-others” Laurance Splitter (Hong Kong Institute of Education) How indispensable is self knowledge in education? Winifred Wing Han Lamb (Narrabundah College/ANU)