Make philosophy a compulsory curriculum subject

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The time has come for philosophy to become part of the school curriculum. There are many good reasons for teaching philosophy in schools, but the main reason is improving the way we think – what is known as critical thinking. We take thinking for granted. But being able to think correctly by logically following through an argument, or evaluating an argument, or considering alternative arguments, or reflecting on ones reasoning, are all skills that need to be taught. Logical reasoning is a skill - it is not innate and has to be taught. Teaching philosophy in schools will help enable students to acquire critical thinking skills. It can also improve children's learning in other subjects. A study by the Education Endowment Foundation (https://qz.com/635002/teaching-kids-philosophy-makes-them-smarter-in-math-and-english/ has shown that teaching philosophy helps improve both mathematics and English skills for primary school pupils. What’s more, these improvements are much more prominent in children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Furthermore, philosophical thinking benefits society, as well as individuals, because it has provided us with ideas leading to our democratic systems of government, legal systems, and even religions have all been influenced by the works and ideas of great philosophers – such as Aristotle, Descartes, and Stuart Mill. Philosophy  has much to say about all aspects of human thinking and will continue to play an important role in the rapidly changing world of the future.

There are those who think that it is too difficult a subject at school level, but it should be possible to teach some basic concepts of philosophy so that pupils of all ages could find the subject interesting and inspiring. I am not suggesting that very young children should be taught the language theories of, for example, Wittgenstein. That may well be beyond their capabilities.  But, pitched at the right .level, children could benefit from the rigour of philosophy, and the understanding of logical reasoning. The spirit of  philosophy requires a mindset based upon inquiry and reflection and that can be of positive benefit to all children.



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