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Reading: Practicing philosophy of childhood: Teaching in the (r)evolutionary mode


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Practicing philosophy of childhood: Teaching in the (r)evolutionary mode


David Kennedy

Montclair State University, New Jersey, US
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This article explores the necessary requirements for effective teacher facilitation of community of philosophical inquiry sessions among children, and suggests that the first and most important prerequisite is the capacity to listen to children, which in turn is based on a critical and reflective interrogation of one’s own philosophy of childhood (POC)—the set of beliefs and assumptions about children and childhood which adults tend to project onto real children. It argues that the most effective way to explore these assumptions is in community of philosophical inquiry (CPI), where we encounter the same concepts—nature, person, good and evil, innocence, etc.—which underlie more general philosophical inquiry. It then describes the work of the American educator Patricia Carini, who developed the Descriptive Review Process as a phenomenological approach to understanding the children with whom one is in relation, and identifies the Descriptive Review Process as another form of the practice of philosophy of childhood which, together with the regular practice of POC-CPI among teachers, offers us a grounded, integrated methodology for schools dedicated to adult-child dialogue and to school as a site for cultural reconstruction.

How to Cite: Kennedy, D., 2015. Practicing philosophy of childhood: Teaching in the (r)evolutionary mode. Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 2(1), pp.4–17. DOI:
Published on 25 May 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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