Feb. 12, 2010
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Guest lecturer encourages philosophical inquiry
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. ��- Thomas Jackson, professor of philosophy at The University of Hawai'i, will give two lectures at Slippery Rock University Monday and Tuesday to provide pointers for encouraging children to pursue philosophical inquiry at school.
Jackson, an expert on philosophy for children, will speak at 6 p.m. Monday in the McKay Education Building Auditorium about "Nurturing Creativity Through Philosophical Inquiry." He will give a second lecture at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in Spotts World Culture Building Auditorium about "Philosophy, Education, and the Loss of Wonder: What's Responsible? What's to be Done?" Both lectures are free.
Andrew Colvin, SRU assistant professor of philosophy and Jackson's former student at Hawai'i, is bringing Jackson to SRU. The primary audience is education and philosophy majors.
Jackson, director of The Hawai'i Philosophy in Schools Project, argues that beginning in kindergarten children should be taught to raise questions, wonder about topics and carry on philosophical inquiry because these activities promote critical thinking skills.
"One of the issues, generally speaking, is that many students don't encounter philosophy until they reach college," Colvin said.
While Jackson does not advocate teaching Plato in primary school, Colvin said students would benefit from philosophy-style discussion on topics such as, "what is a friend?"
"If they listen to one another and respond respectfully, what you will find is it really does change the classroom atmosphere," Colvin said.
For 25 years Jackson has worked to establish philosophy as a recognized, essential part of the K-12 school curriculum and has trained countless Hawaii public school teachers and education majors at The University of Hawai'i, assisting them in learning how to nurture philosophical inquiry in their classrooms. Through his writings and work as director of the Hawai'i Philosophy in the Schools Project, he has been an invited speaker around the world and has done workshops for teachers, administrators, education researchers, and government officials in numerous countries including Austria, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, China, Israel, and most recently Japan.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.