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Forming Philosophical Communities of Inquiry in Early Childhood Classrooms

Forming Philosophical Communities of Inquiry in Early Childhood Classrooms

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. V ' U I l ~
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CONTENTS
DAVIDKENNEDY
Fonning
Philosophical
Communities
of
InquiryinEarly
Childhood
Classrooms
MAl
ASPLUNDCARLSSON,INGRID
PRAMLING,
QIUFENGWENandCHISEIZUMl
Understanding
a
Tale
in
Sweden,
Japanand
China
17
.......
8)2
..
ALICESTERLING
HONIG
Evaluation
of
Early
Childhood
Enrichment
?rograms
29
TIFFANY
FIELD,
TRACYKlLMER,
MARIA
HERNANDEZ-REF
and
IRIS
BURMAN
Preschool
Children's
SleepandWake
Behavior:Effects
of
Massage
Therapy39
)
JOHNT.
PARDECK
A d ' ' ' O O : 3 ~ Y
ar.dPurents
of
Special
N e e d ~
C h i J d ~ e r .
45
ANDREANICHOLLS
and
JOHNKIRKLAND
MaternalSensitivity:A
Review
of
AttachmentLiteratureDefinitionsS5
HELEN
M.
ROBINSHA
W
The
Pattern
of
Development
fromNon-communicative
Behaviourto
Language
by
Hearing
Impaired
and
Hearing
Infants
67
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cava)
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ge,WimbledonParkside,
Early
Quid
D<wIofnnml
and
car..
1996,
Vol.
120,pp.1-15Reprint.<availabledirectlyfrom
the
publisherPholocopyingpermitted
by
l i c e n ~
only()t996
OPA
( O v e ~ a s
PublishersAssociation)
Amstenbm
B.V.
Publishedin
The
Netherlands
under
1 i c e n ~
by
Gordon
and
BreachSciencePublishers
SA
PrintedinMalaysia
!cuse
University,College
iada
FCM
da
UNICAMP,isty,Sydney,
NSW2109,
'i
7,Kita·ku,Sapporoshi,ttyeCaldwell
(USA)
Judith
')
M.
Klein
(USA)
Sandor
Durie
(USA)
Kurt
Luscher
((USA)Heinz
F.R.Prechtl::.
Robinson
(USA)
Olivia
ISA)
IngerWilliamOlsson
Dsychologists,educators,
with
research,planning,
ish
translations
of
work
in
>n
allaspects
of
earlychild
al
and
preventivemedical
alreviews
and
summary
s,
reportson
conferences
in
The
Netherlands
under
'onandBreachPublishing
ibed
below,
110
part
of
t i 1 i ~
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or
mechanical,
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the
advance
written;
Distributorat
one
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issues
ofthebehonoredfree
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charge
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microform
editions;
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on
insidebackcover)
FormingPhilosophicalCommunitiesofInquiry
in
EarlyChildhoodClassrooms
DAVIDKENNEDY
WesternCarolinaUniversity
(&uived
1
FebruLJry
1996)
Acommunity
of
inquiry(CI)describesanygroup
of
people
who
communicatetogetherregularly,whosecommonprojectistomakeacriticaland/orcreativeinquiryintoalieldordiscipline.
Cllheory
understandsknowledgeascommunallyconstructedandemergent,proceedingthroughtheinteractionofcriticalandcreativethinking.Philosophical
CI
isacontrolled,
communallorm
ofwonderingwhichfocusesonthelargermeaning
01
humanexperience,andacontinual,logicaldialecticalprocessofexploringtheconditions
01
knowledge.Usingfamiliarstories
as
texts,andfacilitatedbyaleaderwhoissensilivebothtothephilosophicalpreoccupationsofyoungchildrenandtotheirways
01
thinkingandtalklng,youngchildrenare
both
interestedandcapable,attheirlevel,ofphilosophicalCI.Beyonditsphilosophicalimplications,theprocess
of
groupdialogueisatraininggroundlortheskillsanddispositionsassociatedwiththeautonomous,democraticpersonality.Key
words:
Community
of
inquiry,criticalthinking,philosophyforchildren,childdiscourse.
It
is
circletime
at
achild
care
center
somewherein
the
midweSL
The
teacher
is
tellingastorytofifteen
raptfour
and
five
yeac-old.s
-asomewhatzany.magicaltale
that
she
made
upherself,
about
aboywhosefather
is
an
inventor,
and
constructsa
robot
wholooks
and
talks
and
walks
and
behavesexactlylikehisson,
and
the
troubles
that
everyonehastelling
them
apart.
As
sheweaves
the
spell
ofthe
story
through
voice
and
gesture,
she
illustrateswithtwoidenticalfeltboacdfigures
on
aboard.
She
follows
her
brief,intriguingnarrativewithalead
offquestion
-
is
the
robot
aperson?
When
one
childanswers
"NoR,
the
teacher
asked
her
why
nOL
"Because
he's
arobot",
is
the
answer.
The
teacher
asks."What
is
thedifferencebetweena
robot
and
aperson?R
Another
child
chimesin,
"A
personsleeps!R"Butanimalssleeptoo",
says
another
child,"becauseIhavea
hamster
inacage
and
he
sleepsalot!""Area.nimalspersons?"'queries
the
ever-alenteacher."Nol"'
is
thechorused
reply.
The
teacher
presseson:"What
can
we
find
that
just
persons,onlypersons
do
or
have?"
she
asks."Theyhave
anns
and
legs!"shouts
an
excitedchild;
but
almostimmediately
another
childpoints
out
that
someanimalshave
anns
and
legs.Adiscussionensues
about
whether
animalshave"all
anns"
or
"alllegs"
or
both.
Monkeysace
mentioned.
Nowthe
children
aceaddressing
each
other
directly,astheyhave
become
usedtodoing.
The
teacher
asks
whetherthere
is
anythingelse
·;··
....
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i . ~
; ~
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-,it
~
 
2
D.
KENNEDY
.110
.'."Ili
,,.,.Jt1
~
whichonlypersonshave
or
do.
~ T a l k ! "
burstsOutayoungchild.
~ B u t
animalstalk",offers
another
child.
~ A n i m a l s
talk"repeatstheteacher,looking
around
thecircleforaresponse.
~ B u t
not
likepeople",says
the
samechild.
Yet
another
childasks
her
toclarifyhowthetalk
of
animals
and
of
humans
is
the
same
and
different.
And
soon.
By
the
end
of
thesession,which
could
lastanywherefrom
five
tothirty
or
more
minutes,the
group
mayhaveestablished-withhelpfulsummaries
by
the
teacher
-
one
or
morenecessaryconditionsforcalling
someone
(or
thing!)auperson",
or
theymay
not
have
decidedon
any.
Ineither
case,the
teacher
summarizes,
and
suggeststheytalk
about
itagain.She
then
suggests
that
somepeoplemaywishtodraw
and
dictatethe
robot
story,
or
one
likeit.Perhapsshealsohassomepropsinthedramaticplayareawhich
encourage
playingstorieswithrobotsinthem.For
next
week'sdiscussionshemaytellthesamestorywith
other
materials-forexampledollhousefigures,
or
puppets
-
or
she
maytell
another
story.Shemaypickachildren's
book
witha
related
theme
-
The
~ l v e t e e n
Rabbit
(Williams,1975),forexample,
or
Pinnochio
(Collodi,1991),
The
Steadfast
Tin
Soldier
(Andersen,1953),
or
TheGingerbread
Man
(Hauge
&
Hauge,1973)-
or
act
out
a
short
skitwith
another
teacher
(Edwards,1986).
She
maystickwithpersonsastheme,
or
present
something
whichsuggests
another
topic.
She
maysolicitdirectionfrom
the
group
itself.
WHATISACOMMUNITY
OF
INQUIRY?
The
teacher
in
£his
classroom
is
conducting
aphilosophicalcommunity
of
inquiry.Acommunity
of
inquirydescribesany
group
of
peoplewhocommunicate
together
regularly,
and
whotakeitas
theircommon
projecttomakeacritical
and!
or
creativeinquiry
into
something:
to
find
out
howthingswork,todiscover
the
meaning
inthings,tomake
judgmentsaboutsomethingimportant
to£hem-inshoft,tocreateknowledgetogether.Scientistsworking
on
£he
samekinds
of
problemsformcommunities
of
inquiry,
as
do
artistswhofolloweach
other's
work
and
shareinfluences.Plato'sAcademy
was
aphilosopilicalcommunity
of
inquiry,
and
£he
salons
of
18£h
centuryFrancewereliteraryones.Anyclassroom,in
that
it
is
a
group
of
people
broughttogether
to
inquire
inaspecificfield
of
study,representsapotentialcommunity
of
inquiry.
But
whatdistinguishesaclassroom
that
is
acommunity
of
inquiry
frem
onethat
is
not?
The
distinctionbegins
wi£h
our
idea
of
howknowledge
is
generatedand
acquired.Community
of
inquiry
is
associatedwith
two
ideas
of
knowledge.
One
is
that
knowledge
is
communally
constructed
through
theprocess
of
dialoguebetweenpersons.
One
person
does
not
bringit
and
deliver
it
tothewholegroup;rather,it
g r o ~
through
£he
interaction
of
group
members.
The
other
is
that
it
is
emergent.
It
is
nevercomplete.Noindividual
or
group
will
everhave
the
wholepicture.
When
we
apply£heseideasto
£he
classroom,
we
get
amodel
of
theclass
as
aworking
group
inwhich
each
individualcontribute.>insome
way
to
the
knowledgebeing
created
; 2 ~ ' : : ~ : : 1 f T ~ i ~ : ' : : ~ : '
.?
:
~
l
'-,:
,',
..
"_
..

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