On Becoming both Less and More Open-Minded


  • Lena Green


Introduction: I first encountered Philosophy for Children (P4C) in the late 1990s. I am not a philosopher, but as an educational psychologist fascinated by the notion of learned intelligence, I was eager to explore any educational intervention that claimed to improve students’ thinking. There is literature since the 1980s (Doidge, 2007; Feuerstein, Feuerstein & Falik, 2010; Perkins, 1995), which argues that intelligence is not fixed but modifiable, that we can actually change the way our minds operate and in doing so may also change our brains. The P4C curriculum seemed a promising intervention strategy with this in mind. As a once-upon-a-time English teacher I loved the idea of using fiction not only to engage and motivate, but also to model a form of thinking (reasoned dialogue as a respectful community of inquiry) that might change how students perceived their own relationships with knowledge and with others and how teachers perceived their role in the classroom.