The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom

Philosophy with my Year 6 class was a revelation. Children who had never felt confident enough to speak up came out with such insightful comments that others had no choice but to start to take them seriously. Every school should have philosophy as part of the curriculum.


Amanda Crook, primary teacher
 

Bestselling book, The If Machine is a rich resource of ‘guided philosophy sessions’ containing many stories, both original and classic, aimed at developing higher-order thinking through the activity of philosophy. Many of the stories are based on classic philosophical thought experiments but have been re-written in order to make them accessible to children in primary and early secondary school. The stories have a series of accompanying questions that have been tried and tested in the classroom with a wide variety of age groups. There is also instruction and guidance on how to approach doing philosophy in the classroom based on years of experience of running and devising philosophy sessions.

The overall aim of the book is to provide teachers with a thorough list of strategies for encouraging higher-order thinking in their students that can be used in any education setting, and to realise the philosophical potential of primary school age children introducing them to the practice of real philosophy and the kind of thinking that philosophy engenders.

This is a timely and valuable contribution: a capacity to think critically is the key component of any education, and Worley is an inventive enhancer of children's ability to think for themselves.

A.C.Grayling, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK