What is the impact of Philosophy for Children on Year 13 politics pupils in their consolidation of knowledge at the end of a topic?

Background and purpose: This study sought to support 10 learners in a Year 13 A-Level politics class, with a particular focus on three students who were identified as being at the top, middle, and lower ability of the class. Philosophy for Children (P4C) was used with the class to explore its usefulness in developing students debate and discussion.
Aims: We wanted to use ‘P4C’ as a tool to build and develop students abilities to engage in meaningful discussion and debate on different political topics. If successful, this should also result in an improved ability to write purposefully about the topic in an essay.
Study design or methodology: We used research lesson study, to work collaboratively with colleagues, and to take student interaction and feedback (post-lesson interviews) as the basis for reflection and onward planning. We particularly focused our lesson study observations on 3 students identified as top, middle, and lower ability. All students were aged 17 to 18 years.
Findings: Students showed an increased confidence in engaging in debate throughout the three lesson series. The P4C model allowed students to demonstrate and develop their knowledge and understanding of topics covered in politics lessons. Using P4C as a tool to bring together a topic before an essay is written gives students the confidence to see the material come alive in discussion and consider different points of view.
Implications for practice: A P4C model has been developed for the school and delivered to staff at INSET. Research lessons are now embedded as a learning tool at Haileybury due to their benefits for staff and student learning.
Keywords (free text)
oracy, P4C, philosophy for children, politics, discussion
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