Dr. Marilea Bramer led a professional development session entitled The Power of “Why?” and “What if?” Using Philosophy for Children in the Classroom, for Fargo Public Schools 6-12 grade teachers on Monday, Feb 18.

Description: What if you could help your students significantly improve their academic abilities and their social skills, simply by changing the kinds of questions you ask? Studies have shown that students who engage in an hour of philosophical discussion and related activities per week improve their reading and math skills an average of two months more than comparable peers. Students and teachers also report improvements in self-esteem, self-confidence, empathy, and compassion, as well as gains in students’ ability to reason and think critically.

In this session, they explored the highly successful Philosophy for Children (P4C) method of inquiry and looked at ways it can easily be implemented in the classroom. Together, they participated in an exercise that utilized the P4C method. Then, they discussed how to use the P4C method in various disciplines and how to work philosophical questions into a lesson plan that is already in use. Teachers left the session with a concrete example of how they can apply P4C in their classrooms right now, as well as a list of resources and other examples of P4C activities.