Philosophical Teaching-and-Learning and the Valuing of Virtues


  • Roger Sutcliffe


This piece maintains that, despite 50+ years of successful practice and development, Philosophy for Children (henceforward, P4C) is undervalued—but that, suitably re-presented, it may yet become the most important agent of educational change of the 21st century: a change that is essential, if not existential, given the challenges facing humanity. The recommendation is to present P4C not so much as a specialised practice, but rather as the basis for a general pedagogy, suitable for teachers of any subject or age. This pedagogy is given the name ‘Philosophical Teaching-and-Learning’ (PTL), because its 6 interweaving strands draw on the tradition of philosophy itself—as well as on P4C practice. The article gives an overview of, and rationale for, the pedagogy, then focuses particularly on the 6th strand—‘virtues-valuing’—as being the most encompassing, but also the most exigent. If every teacher, pre-service and in-service, were introduced to P4C and then committed to developing these strands—especially the 6th one—in their teaching, humanity might just have the makings of an educational system fit for purpose.