Richard Adams “Philosophical discussions boost pupils' maths and literacy progress, study finds” http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jul/10/philosophy-for-children-pupils-maths-literacy
イングランドの48校の小学校で１年間に亙って、3000名の小学生を巻き込み、行われた実験。 「子どもたちのための哲学（Philosophy for Children）」。「真理」、「公正」、「優しさ（kindness）」といった抽象的なトピックについての生徒主導の討論を定期的に続けた子どもたちは英語（読み）や算数の成績にポジティヴな影響を得た。
More than 3,000 pupils in 48 state primary schools across England took part in a year-long trial as part of a study named “philosophy for children”, and found that their maths and reading levels benefited by the equivalent of two months’ worth of teaching.
A Durham University evaluation*1 said the results showed faster rates of progress for pupils eligible for free school meals, suggesting that the technique could “be used to reduce the attainment gap in terms of poverty in the short term”.
In the trial, key stage two classes of pupils aged between 8 and 11 were given regular classroom sessions featuring pupil-led discussions on topics such as fairness or bullying. Teachers received special training to act as moderators, while the children sat in a discussion circle.
Stephen Gorard*2, professor of education at Durham and author of the evaluation, said: “I think this study is interesting. All of the indicators are positive, even if they are small, and it’s a relatively small cost.”
Gorard said he couldn’t explain the success of the debates in improving an unrelated subject such as maths, but suggested that such open-ended discussions were unusual in primary classrooms, and meant children were more engaged and found school more enjoyable.
Both teachers and pupils also reported improved classroom behaviour and relationships, as well as a boost to pupils’ confidence in speaking, patience when listening to others, and self-esteem. Some teachers said the discussions had a positive impact on classroom engagement and may have resulted in some pupils asking more questions across all lessons.
But Martin Robinson*3, a teacher and author who espouses an updated classical education based on grammar, dialectic and rhetoric, said that the use of philosophical discussion*4 would be improved if schools adopted it in other subjects. “It’s got to be about more than just the opportunity to speak,” said Robinson. “These techniques should be part of how we approach teaching, and that would be much more powerful.”
Another piece of new research funded by the EEF found little positive effect from a project designed to improve the reading and literacy skills of children from low-income families*5. The study aimed to address the “knowledge gap” between disadvantaged and affluent children by building up their background knowledge and understanding, a cause espoused by the US academic ED Hirsch*6.
However, the report found that “teachers’ subject knowledge did not appear to be sufficient to support a deep and engaging discussion of the material included in the curriculum”.
Michael Pritchard “Philosophy for Children” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/children/
*1:“Philosophy for Children” https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/philosophy-for-children/
*4:何故か、Julian Baggini, Christine Korsgaard, Ursula Coope, Peter Singer, Susan Haack, Kenneth Taylor and Slavoj Žižek “I watch therefore I am: seven movies that teach us key philosophy lessons”（http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/apr/14/force-majeure-films-philosophy-memento-ida-its-a-wonderful-life）にリンクが張られている。
*5:“The Word and World Reading” https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects/word-and-world-reading-programme/
*6:See eg. Sol Stern “E. D. Hirsch’s Curriculum for Democracy” http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_hirsch.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._D._Hirsch https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%A8%E3%83%AA%E3%83%83%E3%82%AF%E3%83%BB%E3%83%89%E3%83%8A%E3%83%AB%E3%83%89%E3%83%BB%E3%83%8F%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B7%E3%83%A5