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Journal of Human Development and Capabilities: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal for People-Centered Development
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The Missing Dimensions of Children's Well-being and Well-becoming in Education Systems: Capabilities and Philosophy for Children
Mario Biggeri & Marina Santi Version of record first published: 05 Jul 2012

To cite this article: Mario Biggeri & Marina Santi (2012): The Missing Dimensions of Children's Well-being and Well-becoming in Education Systems: Capabilities and Philosophy for Children, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal for People-Centered Development, 13:3, 373-395 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2012.694858

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Journal of Human Development and Capabilities Vol. 13, No. 3, August 2012

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The Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming in Education Systems: Capabilities and Philosophy for Children
MARIO BIGGERI and MARINA SANTI Mario Biggeri is a Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Florence, Italy
Marina Santi is Professor in Teaching Methodologies and Special Education in the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology at the University of Padova, Italy

Abstract The objectives of this paper are twofold. The rst is to consider how the capability approach can help rethink the policy goals of educational systems by analysing well-being and well-becoming from an individual and societal point of view. The second is to explore Philosophy for Children as a suitable pedagogical approach to promote capable agents and enhance critical, creative and caring thinking. The paper is divided into four parts. After a background is sketched, the capability approach and the concept of evolving capabilities are disentangled in order to rethink educational systems. The Philosophy for Children approach is then presented as a pedagogical base and possible instrument to foster the individual faculties (creativity, critical thinking and care) needed to ourish and participate fully in society (these are usually missing in achievement-based educational systems). In the nal part of the paper the main elements of change are recalled and some conclusions are offered. Key words: Capability, Education, Critical thinking, Philosophy for Children, Well-being, Well-becoming

Background
What children and youths are able to do, to be and to become is a key issue in our societies. When analysing the deprivations of children and youths, the world does not appear to be t for childrento paraphrase the United Nations (2002). Children and young people are often excluded from decision-making processes (and are rarely given the opportunity to make deliberative choices), which has led to a sort of age bias in the decisionISSN 1945-2829 print/ISSN 1945-2837 online/12/030373-23 # 2012 Human Development and Capability Association http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2012.694858

M. Biggeri and M. Santi making processes. Nevertheless, their inclusion could be central to fostering their present well-being, agency, responsibility and participation with the aim of empowering them (taking into account their priorities, values and aspirations), to move their societies towards a better future in which the minds and thoughts of children and youths might be able to make a difference.1 Fostering these conditions, however, entails strong cultural change, which has to start from the educational systems pedagogical instruments and from the introduction of new forms of childrens and youths participation in civil society and decision-making processes (Biggeri et al., 2011b; Santi and Di Masi, 2010; Di Masi and Santi, 2011a). Sen (1999, 2006, 2009) argues that democracy involves participation in public deliberation (see also Crocker, 2007). Democratic societies should therefore aim to produce capable agents (Bonvin and Galster, 2010; Nussbaum, 2011) and communities. Hence, the process of acquiring communicative competences (Habermas, 1981) and complex thinking (Lipman, 2003), including dialogical attitudes and argumentative practice, becomes central. The development of a democratic society implies the promotion of critical, creative and caring thinking in its citizens. This will enhance their autonomy and, at the same time, open their minds to confrontation with different perspectives and points of view (Santi, 2007; Nussbaum, 2011). Promoting childrens active participation also means socializing them towards an understanding of their own competencies; that is, to a sense of responsibility and skills in planning, designing, monitoring and managing social contexts (Matthews, 2003) and thus participating in change (Prout, 2005), thereby affecting childrens evolving capabilities (Biggeri et al., 2011a). This implies a rethinking of the traditional teaching-centred educational perspective in which children are considered tabula rasablank slates to be written on and nurtured. The purpose should be a move towards a learning-centred approach in which children are considered the active, aware and responsible builders of their own understanding, knowing and growing (Brown and Campione, 1994). There is no reason to treat even younger children as incapable or passive sufferers without recognizing that they might be part of the solution for achieving a better life with dignity (see, among others, Lansdown, 2001, 2005; Feeny and Boyden, 2004; Baraldi, 2009; Ballet et al., 2011).2 Many children and youth practitioners think that this is the time to move further.3 The capability approach (CA) to education makes progress in this direction for two main reasons. First of all, it focuses on the ability of human beings to lead lives they have reason to value and to enhance the substantive choices they have (Sen, 1997, p. 1959). Secondly, both Sen (1987, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2003) and Nussbaum (2006, 2011) acknowledge the social role of education in emphasizing its intrinsic and instrumental value for human ourishing. According to Sen (1992), for example, it can foster public debate and dialogue about social and political arrangements. Furthermore, Sen highlights two more roles for education: an instrumental process role, which enables individuals to take part in decision-making processes at household, community or national level; and an empowering and distributive role, enabling 374

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Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming marginalized groups to gain access to centres of power and to make a case for redistribution. Moreover, education can also have an interpersonal impact because people are able to use the benets of education to help others as well as themselves and can therefore contribute to democratic freedoms and to the good of society as a whole (see Walker and Unterhalter, 2007; Unterhalter, 2009; Walker, 2010). In her view of education for freedom (i.e. for democratic citizenship), Martha Nussbaum (2006) points out that it is essential to develop at least three education capabilities: namely, critical examination (or critical thinking), cosmopolitan ability and narrative imagination. These three capabilities are not the result of spontaneous development, but emerge from the interaction of personal talents with contextual enhancing factors. Among these factors, education is one of the main facilitators of functioning, through which children are offered the opportunity to enlarge their space of activity and participation and to express their agency. From a cognitive point of view, critical thinking, cosmopolitan ability and narrative imagination would be considered logical, moral, and creative components of the higher-order faculties involved in democratic thinking and judgement. Following the interpretation of freedom as reasoning, Nussbaum, in the same article, emphasizes that a public education of good quality is crucial to the health of democracy. Therefore, education, in a human development and CA perspective, should not be conned to learning mathematics or developing literature skills. On the contrary, it should also incorporate life-skills and should teach children how to be autonomous, how to cooperate and collaborate, and how to interact with others and with the world (World Health Organization, 1997; Radja et al., 2003; Shechtman et al., 2005; Dubois and Trabelsi, 2007; Walker and Unterhalter, 2007). In other words, the educational system should aim to expand childrens real opportunities (i.e. capabilities) for present and future functioning. This is why basic functionings, capabilities and rights (relating to nourishment, health and play, inter alia) cannot be ignored, especially for young children (Nussbaum, 2000, pp. 90 91; Sen, 2007; Saito, 2003). This paper embraces these perspectives and develops them in two ways. Firstly, we show how the CA can help us rethink the policy goals of educational systems by refocusing on well-being and well-becoming from individual and societal points of views. Second we explore Philosophy for Children (P4C) as a suitable pedagogical approach, able to form capable agents, enhance critical, creative and caring thinking, promote basic human functionings and enlarge capability sets, in order to empower each child with the opportunities and agency to choose and actively pursue a worthwhile life. P4C is an educational movement developed in the 1970s, which aims to develop critical thinking and democratic citizenship in children and youths. This goal can be achieved by cultivating complex thinking (Lipman, 2003; Santi and Olverio, 2012), which amounts to involving students in philosophizing, as dialogical activity. The P4C proposes an idea/ideal of citizens as complex thinkers aware of their own assumptions and implications, as 375

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi well as of the reasons and evidence on which conclusions are based (critical component) and capable of imagining new ways of seeing and connecting the experiences elements (creative component). Moreover the affective, emotional, motivational dimensions of thinking (caring component) are involved during the practice of reasoning, argumentation, and reection on authentic problems. The development of logical reasoning skills, of imagination, and awareness of own feelings and feelings of other is the bases of the capacity of good judgement, and the core aims of the P4C educational proposal. The inquiry activity, focused on discussion but sustained also by reasoning exercises, takes place in a circle, with the teacher/facilitator intervening to push the thinking to a deeper level but aspiring to allow the discussion to follow the emerging interests of the group. Matthew Lipman is credited with starting the P4C in the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy (IAPC) for Children at Montclair State University. Lipmans method involves reading philosophically stimulating narrative to children and encouraging them to come up with philosophical questions in response. Many of the materials used by the IAPC are philosophical childrens novels that were published by Lipman as the worlds rst systematic pre-college philosophy curriculum K 1/12. The IAPC has a large teacher/facilitator preparation component and provides manuals that include discussion plans, guide-ideas and exercises that are specically designed to assist in the facilitation of philosophical discussions transformed into communities of inquiry within the classroom. Considering the limited space available, this paper refrains from evaluating different educational approaches (see, for instance, UNESCO, 2003, pp. 32 33; Robeyns, 2006; Walker and Unterhalter, 2007; Untherhalter, 2009, Walker, 2010; Brighouse and Untherhalter, 2010) and focusing on specic case studies. Indeed, we acknowledge the variety of education systems and curricula adopted around the world, developed in accordance with theories adopting a top-down (ensuring the maintenance of national standards) or a bottom-up (taking into account local needs in a exible school-based framework) approach (Priestley, 2010; Connelly et al., 2008; Jackson, 1992). Nevertheless, we recognize in all these educational systems, ranging from the norm-referenced to the standard-based, the limits of referring exclusively to actual achievements and outcomes as measurement of the students learning success. Alternative complementary educational systems are instead necessary to understand empowerment in terms of the expansion of student, group and community capabilities dened in terms of potentialities and choice opportunities in which achievements are employed. It is argued that if achievements are the manifested aspect of functionings, they are not sufcient to guarantee an improvement in capability. Our intent here, following recent literature on the CA, is to further develop the approach, and to consider the role of a different pedagogical approach for enhancing educational systems and curricula that seeks to sustain children and youth agency and citizenship as expressions of their ourishing, well-being and 376

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Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming well-becoming. P4C is one of approaches that can be implemented in this direction. For instance, as Nussbaum (2010) shows, western tradition counts many educational models and methodologies that can be reinterpreted as innovative and transformative proposals consistent with the CA. P4C shares the same tradition as Socratic Dialogue, Montessoris pedagogy of play, Pestalozzi reform of education based on head, hands, and hearth, the Don Milani school of the people (Scuola di Barbiana, 1967), and the need to embed education in experience toward the establishment of a better living and society. Moreover, the learning environment community of inquiry (CoI) shares the dialogical and inter-subjective hallmark with other current educational settings such as community of learners and community of practice, while the style of discourse promoted in CoI compares with other interactive communication devices, such as reciprocal teaching, cooperative learning, peer tutoring, and cognitive apprenticeship.4

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Education from a human development and capabilities perspective


As we have argued elsewhere, there are numerous reasons why policy-makers should place higher priority on childrens and youths capabilities (Biggeri et al., 2011a). As Sen points out: What opportunities children have today and will have tomorrow, in line with what they can be reasonably expected to want, is a matter of public policy and social programmes, involving a great many agencies (2007, p. 10). A key component of such a child-orientated approach is a policy that ensures universal access to education with attention to the quality of education (UNESCO, 2003). In the literature on children and the CA, two relevant and complementary aspects are emerging: the process of evolving capabilities, introduced by Ballet et al. (2011; see also Lansdown, 2005), and the idea of capable agents, introduced by Bonvin, amongst others (Bonvin and Galster, 2010; Andresen et al., 2011; Biggeri et al., 2011a; Lemann et al., 2011; Nussbaum, 2011). The evolving capabilities process tries to capture the dynamics among three components that underlie capabilities: the capacity/ability concept, the opportunity concept and the agency concept (see Figure 1). The child or youth is conceived of at the centre of the development process (as in ecological and new social theories),5 interacting with other (agents) peers, teachers, family and community members and drawing on and using entitlements (the availability of which is mediated through their families, schools, communities and regional/national entities). Indeed, as Sen has pointed outboth for children and adultswhile exercising your own choices may be important enough for some types of freedoms, there are a great many other freedoms that depend on the assistance and actions of others and the nature of social arrangements (2007, p. 9). Foster and Handy (2008, p. 4; see also Basu and Foster, 1998) use the concept of external capabilities to describe the cases in which a person is able to achieve additional 377

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FIGURE 1. Capability approach framework and the evolving capabilities. Source: The authors elaborations on Ballet et al. (2011) and Trani et al. (2011).

functionings through a direct connection with another person (narrowing the scope of external capabilities only to abilities and achieved functioning). However, we are inclined to think that external capabilities should be broadened to incorporate the notions of opportunity, potentiality and, even more importantly, that of entitlement (see also Bellanca et al., 2011; Biggeri et al., 2006). Thus, the range of possible functionings for childrenthat is, their capability setmay be restricted by their capacity and/or by their social and physical environment. Indeed, the ability to convert resources into capabilities and functionings depends on individual and social conversion factors (Sen, 1985, 2009), which act mainly through the education system (Otto and Ziegler, 2006), and on their parents or caregivers capabilities. The evolving capabilities process illustrated in Figure 1 starts with the initial achieved functionings of a child at time t. The process of resource conversion is signicantly affected by how different institutions, norms and cultures constrain or enable childrens capacities and opportunities, shaping the formation of different levels of capabilities and functionings that are inter-temporally distinct. The choice of functioning vector from the available capability set will determine the functioning vector achieved in the following time period, t + 1. The dynamic core of the evolving capabilities process is expressed by the feedback loops that re-shape the potential capability set of the child and enhance or reduce agency. Indeed, if human and sustainable development relies on peoples freedom to make decisions and to advance key objectives as agents of change, children and the youth will need the freedom to be educated, to be 378

Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming loved and cared for, to participate in community life, to be respected and to have freedom of expression and association (amongst many other capabilities and basic functionings). Thus, it is also by being capable agents that people (including children and youth) can contribute to the environment in which they are educated, loved and cared for, speak freely, and are able to participate in decision-making processes (amongst other things). As Ballet et al. (2011) have pointed out, Sens approach embraces the importance of self-determination, especially when it distinguishes between well-being freedom and agency freedom (for example, Sen, 1985, 1992, 2009). The latter, in particular, implies persons capacity to exercise their own free will (Sen, 1999). Agency is essential in order to exert ones participation and to regulate his/her own behaviour by dening a series of operations, which enable him/her to reach a potential desired condition. The concept of agency captures the ability to pursue goals that one values and has reason to value. The degree of individual childrens autonomy is relevant in the process of choice.6 However, according to Ballet et al. (2011), as far as the question of autonomy is concerned, the process by which choices are made is even more important than the choices themselves. This means that it is important to internalize freedom of choice through the choice process, and not through choices themselves. Consequently, to form a capable agent it is necessary not only to give children the opportunity of learning, but also to provide them with voice in the learning process, in terms of choice-guiding rules. These rules must be the subject of an argued discussion with children, who will thus come to participate in the elaboration of decision rules concerning themselves. The improvement of the learning process is the most challenging educational response that children and youths need, in order to acquire the instruments that are essential to make the choices they value. Moreover, through this process children and youths learn how to take responsibility for the choice process in itself. This process also affords a potentially valuable opportunity to make a difference in society, which may be a fundamental component of a ourishing life. While the capacity to aspire relates to aspirations, the capability to aspire is connected with the freedom to aspire, which entails examining the process behind aspirations (Hart, 2010): Therefore, it is not just a question of opening up multiple opportunities, even if this can be the starting point in case of deprivations, but seeing to it that, amongst a set of limited and achievable choices, children may develop a capability to aspire through their involvement in the decision making process. (Biggeri et al., 2011b, pp. 341 342) A key component of the capability to aspire is the capacity to be committed and to maintain the strength of reective thinking in which imagination, anticipation, and evaluation of alternatives are involved. These aspects of aspired functionings need to be sustained at individual and societal levels 379

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi by ourishing-oriented education proposals aimed at implementing the development of an evolving capability such as the ability to aspire. In other words, by extending the CA to children, Ballet et al. (2011) do not just afrm that children are subjects of capabilities but that they have the potential to be part of a social contract. Even more signicantly, they underline the fact that we need to recognize that children are social actors endowed with agency and autonomy (according to their maturity), who are able to express in different ways their points of view and priorities. Therefore, it is relevant to internalize the freedom of choice, as expression of the human faculty of understanding and will through participation in the choice process of thinking and dialogue within the community, and not only through choices themselves that foster instrumental capacities for children and youth. These include: listening to others, expressing ones own mind, resolving differences, evaluating alternatives, advancing proposals, welcoming challenges, avoiding reasoning mistakes and learning from experiential errors. These capacities are also involved in the previously mentioned and educational capabilities advanced by Nussbaum:
.

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Critical thinking requires developing the capability to reason logically; to test what one reads or says for consistency of reasoning; correctness of fact, and accuracy of judgement (Nussbaum, 2006, p. 388). Young people learn to deal with differences among themselves and with their disagreements; they take responsibility for their own reasoning and debate ideas with others in an atmosphere of mutual respect for reason (Nussbaum, 2006, p. 389). Cosmopolitan ability implies the facility to understand the differences that make understanding difcult between groups and nations, and the shared human needs and interests that make understanding essential, if common problems are to be solved, which include the task of understanding differences that exist inside ones own nation (Nussbaum, 2006, p. 390). Narrative imagination means the ability to think what it might be like to be in the shoes of somebody different, to be an intelligent reader of that persons story, and to understand emotions, wishes and desires that that person might have (Nussbaum, 2006, pp. 390 391).

To reach this goal, it is necessary to expand achievement-based education, in order to engage in pedagogy and other activities including different types of spaces, such as community of learners (Brown and Campione, 1994), community of practices (Lave and Wenger, 1991), and community of inquiry (Lipman, 2003), where children can learn to engage in ourishing that promotes well-being and well-becoming (see Figure 2). Figure 2 reports the potential role of education in the evolving capabilities process given the context of learning, on the one hand, and resources and conversion factors, on the other, which together enable people to ourish and become capable agents. Achievement-based educational systems, 380

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FIGURE 2.

Evolving capabilities and education for enhancing childrens ourishing.

curricula and contexts (such as classrooms) are relevant in enhancing learning but are not sufcient: they have to be considered as the empirical starting point that does not full the main elements of the CA. Indeed, we have to accept that functionings emerge as achievementsthe only directly observable component of individual capability sets (Sen, 1992, p. 52). In the next section, we consider the P4C proposal, in which childrens and youth rights to think for themselves is viewed as a condition for citizenship education within democracy of thinking communities. The idea is to connect education to the world beyond the classroom and to the authentic expression of child and youth agency in an enlarged community that is adequately supported, and to explore whether P4C might be a suitable pedagogical approach for achieving this aim.

Rethinking education
Education needs to be re-thought as a means for achieving human development and as an instrumental capability to enhance and transform other childrens capabilities into citizenship functionings. As widely recognized in the literature, children and youth should be considered active agents of their own learning.7 Lipman developed a new model of learningcommunities of inquiry in which teachers and children collaborate with each other to grow in understanding, not only of the material world but also of the personal and ethical world around them (Lipman, 2003; Lipman et al., 1980). According to Lipman (2003), the most disappointing aspect of our schools is their failure to form people able to reason and think for themselves, which reects the Deweyian framework behind his work that emphasizes people capable of democratic thought. Lipmans criticism may be read on two distinct, yet complementary, levels: the rst looks at educational institutions, focusing 381

M. Biggeri and M. Santi on their key role in democratic society, and at the education system in general; the second focuses on the individuals and on the curricula that can be used in class in order to foster reasoning skills (Di Masi and Santi, 2011a, 2011b). Two key aspects of Lipmans P4C meet what we have said about the value of agency within democratic citizenship education. The rst is philosophical dialogue as a method for reective agency; the second is CoI as a setting for agency of thinking. The two aspects are related and interdependent in the P4C methodology and emerge together during educational practice, to highlight the power of philosophical inquiry dialogue to form capable agents and construct communities of agents. Nussbaum (2010) underlines the effectiveness of educational programmes such as P4C for promoting childrens capabilities that are fundamental for participation in community life and for the construction of a democratic society. In particular, Nussbaum notes that Lipman: thinks that children can prot early on from highly specic attention to the logical property of thought, that they are naturally able to follow logical structure, but that it usually takes guidance and leading to help them develop their capacity. (Nussbaum, 2010, p. 73) Accordingly, Nussbaum recognizes the value of P4C to educate critical thinking and reasonable judgement in young students. Nevertheless, P4C is much more than a critical thinking programme. It can be viewed as a logical base and as a possible means to nurture the capabilities and ourishing of children, in a holistic way, giving an internal frame of reference, providing a meaningful rationale, allowing choices, encouraging self-perspective and complex thinking. This proposal would be based on the common philosophical roots of P4C and the CA, which are both rmly grounded in pragmatism.8 P4C can be viewed as an autonomy supporting educational curriculum from which democratic living can benet. It is essentially a path based on collaborative participation, shared responsibility, rational dialogue and deliberative judgement, which yield ontological and methodological principles. The childrens capability to think for themselves emerges through their engagement in the experience and practice of philosophical reection, which starts as they begin to wonder about the world in which they live and question the kind of world in which they would like to live. The experience of philosophical thinking as educational opportunity is realized within communities of inquiry, where students work together through the use of dialogic, collaborative and exploratory dialogue. The notion of CoI is crucial in the theoretical and methodological framework that is explicitly derived from pragmatism by Lipman (2003).9 Peirce recognizes the profound educational implications of fusing together the two independently powerful notions of inquiry and community into the single transformative concept of community of inquiry (quoted from Lipman, 2003, p. 84). CoI represents both an instrumental means towards democratic thinking and a fundamental valued aim of a democratic society 382

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Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming in itself. According to pragmatism, the instrumentality of CoI toward democracy coincides with its intrinsic value, which safeguards the approach from an improper instrumental use motivated solely by personal interests. Subjective good thinking and rational behaviour, as emerges within dialogue in the CoI, is thus rather a powerful antidote against utilitarianism. The pragmatist critique of utilitarianism, which is a premise of Lipmans educational programme, is just the rst common starting point for P4C and the CA. Following the pragmatist reading of the CA proposed by Zimmermann (2006), we can detect in CoI activity many other building blocks of the CA. In fact, CoI can be interpreted as a context in which individual rational choices become personal expression of the agents freedom to choose the capabilities she/he has reason to value. Moreover, CoI can be considered both as an external conversion factor (facilitating subjective functionings and enhancing the personal set of capabilities) and as internalized habits and constraints that enlarge childrens opportunities for choice and agency, and supplant adaptive preference formation (Nussbaum, 2001; Teschl and Comim, 2005; Goerne, 2010; Santi and Di Masi, 2012). Moreover, P4Cs emphasis on methodological valuation and concern with caring and consideration toward others participating in CoI is reminiscent of the CA general concern with equality, reason and commitment towards others, also in the form of recognition of other cultures, obligations and duties, responsibility, and so forth (Sen, 1992, 2009). Finally, the P4C caring attention to the inner variability of the CoI members, who are equally considered and differently valorized during dialogue, operationalizes the CA issue of generality and singularity of equality (Sen, 1992). In CoI each member assumes a positional agency, taking into account the plurality of individual traits and stories being affected by them in a dialogical meeting of minds that leads to a situated agency perspective. In this sense the embedded dimension of personal agency recognized by Sen maintains in P4C the original interactive dimension of action highlighted by pragmatism, going beyond the limit of xed individual positions that is the main consequence of the absence of interaction in the development of capabilities development (Zimmermann, 2006). The interaction dimension of action in P4C emerges in the mechanism of CoI formation (Table 1) through a set of normative constraints that help to dene the nature and aims of philosophical dialogue, considered a complex thinking activity that Lipman (2003) views as self-corrective, sensitive to context, based on criteria, and discovering oriented processes. According to Pardales and Girod, the community forms by being dialogically inquisitive, active and reective, articulate, cognitively adept, cooperative, sensitive to context, and explorative (2006, p.305). All these features can be reorganized under the three main components of complex thinking: the critical, creative, and caring capacity of rational judgement. The form of dialogue promoted in CoI is at the same time the semiotic mean to CoI building. Santi (2007) referred to this kind of discourse as inquiry talk, which guides members of the community by helping them to take responsibility for their comments, motivate their ideas and positions 383

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi


TABLE 1. Mechanisms of community formation in Philosophy for Children 1. 2. 3. 4. Group solidarity through dialogical inquiry The primacy of activity and reection The articulation of disagreements and the quest for understanding Fostering cognitive skills (e.g. assumption nding, generalization, exemplication) through dialogical practice 5. Learning to employ cognitive tools (e.g. reasons, criteria, concepts, algorithms, rules, principles) 6. Joining together in cooperative reasoning (e.g. building on each others ideas, offering counter-examples or alternative hypotheses, etc.) 7. Internalization of the overt cognitive behaviour of the community (e.g. introjecting the ways in which classmates correct one another until each becomes systematically self-corrective)intrapsychical reproduction of the interpsychical (Vygotsky) 8. Becoming increasingly sensitive to meaningful nuance of contextual differences 9. Group collectively groping its way along, following the argument where it leads Source: Lipman (2003, p. 242).

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with good reasons, negotiate solutions and make collective decisions. Furthermore, such dialogue should endorse the development of thinking skills and knowledge that are considered to be important for the progress of democratic living. Thus, education for democracy should be promoted in a safe environment in which members can express their points of view, have the opportunity to generate more than one solution over a problem, express the necessity to deliberate over different alternatives, learn to value ideas and respect one another. The philosophical discussion enhanced by the use of inquiry talk within a CoI thus promotes the development of critical creativecaring thinking, which is necessary for active participation in democratic living and to judge and decide what life is valuable for oneself to live. In particular, the internalization of the pragmatic rules of inquiry talk can sustain both the cognitive and communicative dimensions of good judgement and argumentation. The basic macro-pragmatic rules of this style of discourse are as follows:
. . . . . . . . . .

encouraging participants to put forward their own views in a group; reecting before speaking; sharing and discussing relevant information; motivating their own reasoning; giving importance to the thinking structure; accepting challenges, building on others ideas; discussing alternatives; proceeding in a self-correcting way; negotiating a mediation; and responsibly participating in decision-making.

These discourse-based rules are internalized by the children and become a rationale for the development of the argumentative thinking structure and for its externalization as reective functionings in dialogue. Moreover, the internalization of these rules as procedural devices of participatory dialogue 384

Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming offers children the authentic possibility of emancipating their contribution to contemporary life and of overcoming the demagogy of participation, which often follows from a surface understanding of the status and voice of children, thanks to their recognition as agents in social and political matters that concern them (Graham and Fitzgerald, 2010). In fact, enriching the spontaneous childrens discourse with a set of dialogical pragmatic rules (which are also shared by adults in the CoI) offers many opportunities to children and youth. Among them, that of being recognized in their active role in decision-making and deliberation about things that are worthwhile, contributing to their self-condence, self-respect and self-esteem, thus orienting the practice of inquiry and dialogue toward childrens and youth self-understanding and individual agency. The last point, in particular, entails much more than listen to their voice (Graham and Fitzgerald, 2010). Moreover, the hermeneutic dimension of participatory dialogue in the P4C CoI enlarges the opportunity for self-understanding for the adults involved in the activity as well as children. It allows them to learn from and be inuenced by childrens thoughts, which shapes their agency and affects their decisions. The reciprocity of philosophical dialogue, together with its self-corrective character, sensitivity to context and criteria orientation, are the P4C methodological constraints. These constraints can be interpreted as effective instruments to be offered to children and youth in order to sustain their evolving set of capabilities, turning each potential capability into a real doing and being that actually makes a difference in society. In particular, the procedural constraints of the pragmatic rules of inquiry talk adopted during dialogue within community of philosophical inquiry, while maintaining the role of dialogue as a pedagogical device, emphasize its participatory potential (McCoy and Scully, 2002; Di Masi, 2012). These focus on the possibility that dialogue offers an alternative philosophical approach to childrens voice, mechanisms of transformation in dialogic encounters, and the problem posed by inequality between dialogic partners (Barrow, 2010, p. 61) allows P4C to recognize and to overcome the problem that asymmetry between dialogic partners, mainly between children and adults, poses. This happens by maintaining an open dialogical participatory mechanism through the reinforcement of the practitioners capacity to tolerate the discomfort of genuinely open dialogue and avoid transforming individual differences and inequality in power and voice into exclusion, discrimination and a purely instrumental approach to the practice of childrens dialogue. This helps ensure that dialogic and participatory potential is developed (Barrow, 2010). Taking this focus into account, the P4C education experience might be a benecial opportunity to increase the practitioners expertise to adopt and maintain reectivity, which is needed to guarantee the authenticity of childrens dialogical participation and their agency through their own voices. The role of philosophical questioning and inquiry is not incidental in the P4C educational proposal. The meta-cognitive dimension of this form of thinking, its dialectical/dialogical discourse structure, its heuristic/hermeneutic nature and epistemic component, and its values and judgment orientation 385

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi offer to children some effective conceptual and methodological tools. The utility of these instruments is to make them able to think critically, creatively, and caringly about the problems that matter for them. Lipmans trust in the strong link between philosophy and education is summarized in the claim that it might not seem at all outrageous to contend that fundamentally all true philosophy is educational, and all true education is philosophical (Lipman, 1988, p. 43). This equation is guaranteed in his programme by the effective member status offered to all the children from the beginning of philosophical activity in the CoI. This status legitimizes open access to discussion and gives children different and numerous opportunities to become authentic participants, being highly aware of the value and of the inquiry process in which they are involved. The proposal can be enriched by elements of different local contexts. The involvement in classroom activities and the scaffolding received from facilitators and peers fosters the internalization of attitudes, values and competences. These elements are fundamental for the successful implementation of philosophical dialogue. According to Lipmans perspective, the CoI is the context in which children and adults together would exercise and reciprocally support the ability to take part in dialogue, which is crucial for the construction of a better humanism within a democratic society, and for capability. In so far as dialogue requires interaction abilities that are neither natural nor spontaneous, it should be bestowed through education and life-long learning, to be implemented through an apprenticeship in thinking. The cognitive apprenticeship that is activated within the CoI is an educational relationship based on reciprocal scaffolding between persons with different levels of expertise, who assume alternatively the roles of teacher, tutor or learner during a shared and mediated activity. The intellectual apprenticeship fostered in the community of philosophical inquiry fruitfully optimizes the socio-cognitive potential of interaction. The purpose is the creation of zones of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1962) of the higher-order thinking skills involved in philosophizing, such as formal and informal reasoning skills, which could be viewed as the cognitive cultural-based ability for achieving the capability for authentic social participation. The focus on questioning, openness to alternatives, non pre-determination of set or correct answers in philosophical dialogue, and its appeal to the power of good reason against the reason of dominant power, are continuously fostered and maintained in the community of philosophical inquiry. Even more, they represent the inclusive constraints of this educational context. From an inclusive perspective, the creative and caring dimensions of philosophical thinking represent the educational scaffolding offered to childrens set of creative and caring capabilities, which, in conjunction with the critical capabilities, are implied in their participation in decision making, choice processes and agency. The inclusive dimension of communities of inquiry emerges as a diachronic and synchronic operazionalization of the set of capabilities of the different participants involved in the dialogue, in 386

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Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming which diversities are welcome and valued as phenomenological condition of justice and equality (Terzi, 2008). In Thinking in Education, Lipman (2003) maintains that the development of a democratic society implies the promotion of critical, creative and caring thinking within citizens to enhance their autonomy and, at the same time, to open their minds to different perspectives and points of view (Santi, 2007). In capability terms, the procedural, epistemological and substantial features of philosophical thinking and the corresponding abilities promoted in the P4C curriculum can be interpreted as functionings components and specic sets of capabilities offered to children as an experience of participatory dialogue in an inclusive perspective. According to Biggeri et al. (2011a) and Bellanca et al. (2011),10 following other authors such as Gasper (2002), we can distinguish between: A-capabilities (capabilities as abilities), the complexity of innate talents and of acquired competencies (skills); O-capabilities (capabilities as opportunities), the set of actual, accessible or available chances for improving well-being; and P-capabilities (capabilities as potentialities), the set of the imagined prospects or conceivable chances of improving well-being or alternatives that can be considered admissiblebeliefs, attitudes, and institutional expectations thus represent a constriction of perspectives in which what is acceptable has the same value as what is available.11 The P4C curriculum is an educational proposal that embraces all three kinds of capabilities; it offers systematic support to the development of talents and the ability to think, by offering reasoning training (A-capabilities), inquiring opportunities (O-capabilities) and exploring possibilities (P-capabilities). The shared experience of being part of a CoI increases and enriches the process of building an identity in an interpersonal context in which each and every agent is recognized as a valuable thinker, with his/her own original cognitive style, typology of knowledge and life expertise. In this way, P4C activity constitutes an entitlement to convert some tangible and intangible resources and rights into well-being (i.e. access to power de facto and power de jure). A concrete example of children experience in P4C can be found in the Polioa project (Santi and Di Masi, 2010; Di Masi and Santi, 2011a, 2011b, 2012). Within this project, the practice of philosophical dialogue in CoI was transferred outside school, through the Municipal Council of Children, in order to promote their agency in a political context. This evokes both sides of social power: on one side, formal power, concerning the way of accessing and using institutions; and on the other, informal power, pertaining to control over specic means. In other words, we assume that (de facto and de jure) power over some resources and rights represents the main lever through which a person is able to keep, improve and strengthen his/her initial talents and to gain competencies (Bellanca et al., 2011) and individual and social empowerment. O-capabilities and P-capabilities are connected to a unique explanatory mechanism, which, in more general and intuitive terms, states that a person tends to keep orwhen it is alteredrestore a dynamic balance between his/her own convictions and his/her own 387

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi actions (Bellanca et al., 2011). If, for any reason, a person has to act against his/her own convictions, or has to believe something that is in contrast or contradiction with his/her actions, such a misalignment causes discomfort (which is, simultaneously, psychological, cognitive and value-based). The P4C proposal also meets the main policy principles for a justice approach to lifelong education (see Walker, 2007, 2010, 2012). In particular, the practice of philosophical dialogue and complex thinking within communities of inquiry is coherent with the central elements of Sens (2009) approach to justice, namely: a realization-based focus on actual human wellbeing; the recognition that a capability to do something is also a power to do something; and an emphasis on impartial public reasoning as crucial to the process and accomplishments of justice. According to Walker: If, as Nussbaum (2006, p. 385) argues, public education is crucial to the health of democracy, then it follows that a just education is one which fosters young peoples critical voices to participate in public life and contribute to deepening democracy. (Walker, 2010, p. 20) From this perspective, P4C might be considered a response to the children/ human need/aspiration to the realization of selected capabilities (actual lives that we can live matter). Moreover, the caring dimension of complex thinking implemented in P4C activities responds to the educational aim of fostering obligations to others (as capability is also a power to do something as capable and responsible agent). According to Walker (2010) the evaluation principle requires each of us to take and have moral responsibility for our actions with others, to contribute to making the world go better and not to always displace this responsibility to apparently impenetrable structures that remove individual obligation to act for the common good. The public dimension of philosophical thinking can be considered a form of inner dialogue to universal audience (Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1958) and generalized other (Mead, 1934) that occur along the whole human life and across all experiences. From this point of view, we could better understand the coherence of this proposal with the principle of justice as a process of public scrutiny. This principle underpins the rst two and might be regarded as architectonic. Furthermore, it is consistent with Sens (2009) pragmatic idea of justice to include what can be widely accepted, without expecting that this strategy will solve every decisional problem that we face. We can aim at a better education and at improvements through education.

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Conclusions
In this paper we argue that if we desire a cultural change that leads children and youth to ourish and to participate in decision-making processes (and 388

Missing Dimensions of Childrens Well-being and Well-becoming thus to be agents and social actors), a rethinking of educational systems should be one of the starting points (Walker and Untherhalter, 2007). This requires a change in direction of the instructional scaffolding that inuences childrens evolving capabilities process and a new focus on the democratic citizenship functionings they need to develop, in order to be recognized as authentic agents and participants in society. The possibility to interpret the P4C proposal as an educational instrument and rationale to sustain the right and efforts of children to pursue ourishing lives has been discussed. In particular, the critical, creative and caring dimensions of complex thinking involved in the experience and practice of philosophical dialogue within the CoI are interpreted as possible conversion factors, which help achieve two purposes: on one hand, the identication of different sets of evolving capabilities relates to the plurality of individual and communal aspirations; and on the other, the facilitation of their operationalization in terms of worthwhile childrens agencythat is, personally chosen doings and beings and social participation in public deliberation and decision-making. This is obviously not enough. Indeed, whether a child can effectively participate in society and evolve capabilities over time depends on several conditions, including access to information, the availability of appropriate training, the openness of parents and other adults to dialogue and learning from children, and access to safe spaces that foster appropriate dialogue in the family, community and society. It also depends on the given socio-cultural, economic and political context. Most of all, authentic and meaningful participation requires a radical shift in adult thinking and behaviour, from an exclusionary to inclusionary focus on children and their capabilities, and from a world that is dened solely by adults to one in which children contribute to building the kind of world they want to live in (UNICEF, 2002, p. 5). Furthermore, we have to promote values and good societies that shall be able to listen to children as full citizens and thus to actively engage with them to explore solutions for a better future. Childrens social participation needs to be visible in public contexts, in order to clearly manifest their citizenship and their inclusion in a society that incorporates the full range of rights and opportunities found in the self-determination human rights approach (Freeman, 1998). From this perspective, the P4C proposal and its application within and outside school can be considered as a space in which such needs of visible participation nd a response, creating communities of inquiry in which children and youths might think about (and decide) what they want to be and become. Social policies should encourage proactive behaviour of children in decision-making processes. Fostering their participation is central to the process of evolving capabilities (Biggeri et al., 2011b) and takes into account the priorities, values and aspirations of children. Educational policies have to foster interventions that sustain childrens thinking ability and capability to recognize their own values and aspirations and in the evaluation of their priorities. The CA perspective and the P4C provide an opportunity for 389

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M. Biggeri and M. Santi educational systems to promote critical, creative and caring thinking and participation in childrens daily lives. The standard educational system and context (such as classrooms) are relevant for enhancing learning but are not sufcient: other forms of education and contexts are necessary and should be mainstreamed in the educational systems. This poses the need to rethink initial and in-service training of education practitioners, in order to turn the traditional teacher/ educator-centred approach into a learner-centred one, overcoming a view of education as only content-knowledge transmission as opposed to a capability-oriented approach to knowledge, possibilities, and values coconstruction.

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Notes
1 This can be dened as an expansion of capabilities or of positive freedoms compatible with economic, social and environmental sustainability. 2 Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 is a turning point for the advocacy of childrens participation. As Landsdown (2001) points out, there are many issues that even very small children are capable of understanding and to which they can contribute thoughtful opinions: There is no lower age limit imposed on the exercise of the right to participate. It extends therefore to any child who has a view on a matter of concern to them (2001, p. 2). 3 Nowadays increasing pressure to include children is coming from at least three directions. Firstly, the international children and youth movements are increasingly challenging and inuencing societies thanks to improved communication technology and globalization. We can see a trend in favour of childrens culture (versus childhoods culture) (James et al., 1998). The culture of childhood has placed particular emphasis on childrens selfrealization (Prout, 2000) and on childrens agency (James et al., 1998; Hallett and Prout, 2003). Social participation is a clear manifestation of citizenship, intended as inclusion in a society, with full rights and opportunities (Iervese and Rossi, 2009). Secondly, many studies conrm that children (independently of their place of birth and life experiences) are able to conceptualize relevant childrens capabilities and, in particular, value education as one of the most important capabilities for change (Biggeri, 2007; Biggeri et al., 2006, 2011a). Thirdly, all around the world there are some signicant and reasonably successful examples of Municipal Councils of Children (Di Masi and Santi, 2011a, 2011b, 2012). They are instruments adopted by local administrations to promote childrens participation. See also the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (proclamation at Parliament in Strasbourg, 12 December 2007). All over the globe, children and youth movements are pressing for change. 4 For a review of different kind of community, see Pardales and Girod (2006). There is a vast literature on cooperative and collaborative learning and other forms of peer-tutoring, such as reciprocal teaching (Palincsar and Brown, 1984), cognitive apprehenticeship (Rogoff, 1990), and learning together (Johnson and Johnson, 1994). See also Topping (1988). 5 See Bronfenbrenner (1998), for example. 6 Ballet et al. (2011) consider that the level of agencyas a measure of autonomous action and of empowerment in the context of choicecan vary according to age, especially for some capabilities. Notice that autonomy and agency do not mean independence and isolation, but interdependence and reciprocity (i.e. socialization). 7 Authors with very different background and visions such as Dewey and Freire would agree on the role of education as fundamental condition for the development of democracy and as an instrument of emancipation towards just and equal societies (Dewey, 1916). According to a democratic and emancipatory perspective, the role of education should be experiential

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and critical in order to contribute to the development of free thinkers for open societies. Critical pedagogy inuenced by Freire (1970, 1985) makes strong claims for an education aimed at strengthening students ability of thinking critically about their situation; that is, to interrogate the assumptions about life and power relations they usually take for granted, to exert more conscious control over their lives and to raise questions about the moral relevance of their actions. According to Bernstein (2000) it is possible to recognize in these pedagogical approaches three integrated pedagogic rights. They should allow each person to realize his or her full potential in acquiring knowledge:
.

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. .

the right to enhancement, which involves critical understanding and seeing new possibilities; the right of inclusion, namely the right to be included socially, intellectually, culturally and personally; and the right of participation in inuencing and transforming political outcomes.

8 A pragmatic reading of the CA has also been proposed by Elizabeth Anderson (1999, 2005, nedicte Zimmermann (2006, 2008), Ortrud Lemann (2009) and Alexander 2009), Be Goerne (2010). In particular, Zimmermann (2006) recognizes some interesting challenges in social theory and empirical research, which would be referred also to the P4C theoretical framework and its methodological operationalization. 9 From Peirce the notion of CoI is adopted and developed by educational theorists of different orientations. A review of the concept, considered also in P4C, is presented in Pardales and Girod (2006). 10 Here we are applying the approach from the individual perspective. For potential capabilities including community and group capabilities, see Trani et al. (2011). 11 Please note that Sens notion of capability encompasses mainly A-capabilities and the O-capabilities. O-capabilities refer to concretely accessible options and expectations.

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