Saturday, December 31, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
|IPO 2011 students in the quad at the University of Vienna.|
|A meeting of some of the Delegation leaders at IPO Vienna 2011|
Thursday, June 30, 2011
It was amazing to see and hear all these professors and teachers speak for 2 days on the state of philosophy education in the country. It is an uphill battle, as it seems that many people in education don’t see the practical applications of teaching philosophy, but if this conference showed anything, it’s that there are many dedicated professionals out there with a passion for sharing big ideas and big questions with their students.
Today, Ethics did not come up in our discussions, but what was discussed were the mediums in which we could bring ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical questions to students: children’s books. Though this theme was often repeated, it seems like a really good idea. Debora Tollofsen of the University of Memphis suggested the use of children’s books to discuss metaphysics, while Thomoas Wartenberg (Mount Holyoke) and Ariana Stokas (Bard College) suggest using art and the creation of art to spur students to think critically about what makes one piece of art good and another bad.
There was talk as well of developing models for the collaboration of middle and high school teachers with professors of philosophy. Also, the creation of Philosophy Outreach Programs seems like an interesting thing – philosophy grad and undergrad students going out to schools and discussion philosophy with students who would not normally encounter philosophy education in their everyday lives.
The trend here seems to be that we need to teach students about philosophy when they’re young and keep them reflecting on themselves and the big questions as they grow. This conference is hopefully the beginning of many. It is certainly an exciting time to be an educator.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
1) Teaching students to think critically and philosophically about their world should be an important part of schooling
2) Certain teachers should look towards developing their “philosophical awareness” or the ability to pick out philosophical questions from the material in his or her classes. Consequently, philosophy can be attached to pretty much any subject taught in schools. It’s all about finding the right questions to ask.
3) Teachers must be guides and facilitate a discussion, but the topics should be dictated by the students and their interests. The big ideas and big thinkers of history are there for the students to find at their behest. We, as teachers, can help guide the students to those questions using the students' own experience as a platform.
Also, there’s apparently something called a Philosopher in Residence at some schools, which totally blew my mind. This is a person who helps students and teachers find and develop philosophical ideas within the curricula, and are a resource to develop these discussions in the class itself. I'd love to see how this works in practice.
All in all, a good day with some excellent ideas. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s discussions.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
|Barbara Conrad, Chair IPO Vienna 2011 & other IPO leaders|
Over the next few days we would wonder, wander and walk all over Vienna together. I felt like we were some kind group of late medieval scholars who spoke Latin at their lectures, but their own vulgar languages when they had more intimate conversation with their compatriots. That alone was a wonderful experience.
Over the next weeks and months, I will write more about the International Philosophy Olympiad Vienna 2011. In December at the APA Eastern Division conference, the American students from the US Delegation to the IPO and I will describe and discuss our Viennese experience and International Pre-College Philosophy. In the meantime, the Columbia University Pre-College Philosophy Conference is about to begin. It will take place at CU during the last week of June. Since, most unfortunately, I cannot attend -- because I will be in Barcelona leading a group of 30 American students on an academic immersion trip with the University of Salamanca as our final destination and home away form home for a month -- my colleague, Ben Fleisher, will attend in my stead. He will be a guest blogger in this space and write about the Columbia Conference. Good luck to everyone at CU and to Ben.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
|Kelly, Mr. Murphy, and Andy on Thursday evening|
Well, 65 kids from 30 countries. What do you think the lingua franca of the IPO is? It's not Latin, but I'll make an interesting analogy in a future blog. Some of the Philosophy teachers and I discussed it at some length here in Vienna this week. I'll leave you with this. Imagine what it must have been like for medieval scholars to travel around the major university circuit of the 13th & 14th centuries -- Bologna, Sorbonne, Salamanca, Cambridge, Dublin, Heidelberg, Cracow, Vienna.... Then imagine them all coming together once a year in one of the places mentioned to discuss philosophy with each other and with the star students they brought with them. There was a 'common' language. But imagine the accents.
Kelly and Andy are tired after just arriving on Thursday morning, 26/V/'11. But they're in Vienna! The day will be spent walking around near Hotel IBIS. No napping today because our rooms aren't. So we'll do the Olympic thing -- tough it out and fight exaustion with enthusiasm, anticipation and immersion in Austrian life in town. Tonight we will go to a reception with the Mayor of Vienna at the Rathaus (City Hall) at 20:00. Then sweet sleep before the essay tomorrow.
There are 65 competitors from 30 countries. We don’t know what the linguistic mix is going to be yet. It’s all very exciting. We did take a moment to rest at an outdoor café. Pastry and Viennese coffee -- Melange! We meet everyone at 16:00 today. Oh, wait… that’s in 5 minutes. Young philosophers on the run…. Bye for now.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The XIX IPO is being held in Vienna, Austria between May 26th and May 29th, 2011. I am leading the U.S. Delegation with high school students, who will be competing in Spanish.
Each nation may send two students to compete at the international level after a national competition or other IPO approved method of entry. The 2011 American team is supported by the American Philosophical Association. The official languages of the IPO are English, French, German and, for the first time ever in 2011, Spanish. Students must write in a language that is not their native language or the main (or official) language of the nation from which they come.
Students who compete must be secondary (high) school students of Philosophy and be sufficiently competent in one of the official languages to be able to write philosophy in it.
I am overjoyed to lead this pioneering American delegation!