Date of Award
Schools and Centres
Professor Chris Hackett
Dr Laura D’Olimpio
With the increasing need for Australian students to be prepared for the ‘world of work’ once they have finished their schooling (Gonski et al., 2018), it is important for schools to offer opportunities to develop the necessary skills required for adulthood. Western Australian schools have the responsibility of ensuring that all students develop the General Capabilities stipulated by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority (2009). One of these capabilities is ‘critical and creative thinking’. One of the ways to develop students’ ability to think critically and creatively is through philosophical inquiry adopting an integrated pedagogy of Cam’s (2006) Question Quadrant and Lipman’s (2003) Community of Inquiry.
While the research on the inclusion of such pedagogies has been undertaken in primary and senior secondary schools, there is a paucity of research at the lower secondary school level. The purpose of the research project is to bridge this problem by addressing three research aims. Firstly, to investigate how lower secondary students exhibit the attributes associated with the ‘critical thinking’ capability through philosophical inquiry. Secondly, to investigate how lower secondary students exhibit the attributes associated with the ‘creative thinking’ capability through philosophical inquiry. Finally, to explore the extent to which lower secondary students perceived the contribution of philosophical inquiry through an integrated pedagogy assisted them to become more confident learners.
Employing a theoretical framework based on the epistemology of constructionism, and a theoretical perspective of interpretivism through the lens of symbolical interactionism, this research established a Philosophy Club at three Western Australian secondary schools. The research employs an integrated technique: namely, Cam’s Question Quadrant and Lipman’s Community of Inquiry from which to gather data. The data was analysed using discourse analysis to assess the student voice, and reflections of participating students. The research is designed to provide insight from a student (rather than a teacher) based perspective in the field of education.
The findings from the research group themselves around five key themes of the impact in implementing philosophical inquiry with lower secondary students. Firstly, by exhibiting skills that train students for future schooling. Secondly, by preparing students for the ‘world of work’. Thirdly, permitting students to strengthen the knowledge they obtain in all learning areas. Fourthly, enabling students to voice their ideas with like-minded peers to attribute meaning and become more confident learners. Lastly, by encouraging a sense of belonging, students can engage within a democratic community and reflect on their experience of the Philosophy Club sessions.
Massey, S. (2019). A quest for confidence: The extent to which philosophical inquiry through the integrated pedagogies of the question quadrant and community of inquiry can encourage the exhibition of attributes associated with the critical and creative thinking capability. University of Notre Dame Australia. https://researchonline.nd.edu.au/theses/295