Democracy Cafe

PHILOSOPHERS’ CLUB, and A Guide for Educators, Parents, and Kids of all Ages

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Picture a group of children gathered for a regular meeting to talk about their thoughts and concepts of the world. They follow a method of questioning inspired by the philosopher Socrates. You’ve just imagined a Philosophers’ Club.

In a nutshell, the Socratic method of discourse is a way for children to seek and find insights and truths by their own lights. Socrates believed that we only discover what we truly think about something by engaging in constructive and empathetic discourse with others.

Philosophers’ Clubs invariably help members nurture their ability in “the fourth R”—the ability to reason—in breathtakingly imaginative and constructive ways. As a result, children are more highly motivated to develop their abilities in the traditional three Rs. In this form of creative and critical inquiry, children are required to back up their viewpoints with compelling evidence presented in well-structured arguments. Sloppy or lazy thinking is taboo. So every step of the way, the teacher or volunteer educator is helping a child develop reasoning and logical thinking skills.

What’s more, Philosophers’ Clubs will enable members to ponder in a meaningful way those three questions of questions:

Who am I?

What am I capable of?

Who can I become?

As children develop clear and more thoughtful answers to these questions, they become better able throughout their lives to chart courses for realizing their loftier hopes and dreams.

Here’s what one teacher has to say about Philosophers’ Club and why it makes such a difference in her classroom.

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