Provocations: Philosophy in Secondary School

Provocations was shortlisted for the Educational Resources Award 2015. For all Finalists visit the ERA website

This book is a superb provocation to philosophy itself...It should be in every schoolroom, and every teacher’s hands, as an instrument that will transform students’ interest and capacity across the whole range not just of their studies but their lives.

A.C. Grayling


Provocations is the latest edition to The Philosophy Foundation Book Series with Crown House Publishing. Like all the books in the series it is a beautiful hard back book with content that is tried and revised in the classroom.

'Provocations' is a set of philosophy sessions designed for secondary school and predicated on the pedagogical methods of The Philosophy Foundation. These sessions are mature and challenging, exploring, amongst other things, Wagner and desire, Shakespeare and madness, Joan of Arc and gender, Faust and temptation, Nostradamus and time. They span the curriculum and provide an opportunity for teachers across a range of subjects to introduce a philosophical approach to their lessons.

There are tips and suggestions throughout on how to use the book in the classroom. There is also an extensive reading list for those who wish to explore the topics in greater depth, as well as an introduction to basic logic and guidelines to help students write their own sessions.

In the best tradition of the Socratic gadfly, David Birch challenges many current practices and assumptions in education, and provides an imaginative resource for stimulating debate, critical reflection and creative thinking on a wide and engaging range of topics. His emphasis on the importance of listening as well as speaking, for the teacher as well as the student, is refreshing.

Dr Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield