Philosophy For Schools

philosophy for schools2

Philosophy For Schools

This week we delivered our first Philosophy for Schools workshop. This workshop was the pilot of a plan that I’ve been working on for the last 4 months or so. At the globe at hay, we are really proud to be a part of the Institute of Art and Ideas and have the opportunity to champion everyone’s right to access philosophy and critical thinking. Our programme is chocked-full of ideas and events that can and do make a positive difference to everyone’s lives.

We believe at the globe that this access to exciting ideas and big thinking should be something that begins as soon as possible. This is why we have launched an education programme that allows students from all phases of education to have access to the best arts and philosophy ideas currently in circulation.

Over the last four months I have been working closely with schools to create a programme of workshops that allows pupils to explore the world that they live in; helping them to develop skills that mean they are more resilient in adversity and compassionate towards other peoples’ beliefs. Monday’s workshop was our first toe-in-the-water with these in-school workshops, and we learned lots.

The school got in touch with a request for a workshop that explored the question,

“If we are going to replace God with Money, where does the morality come from?”

The workshop group of one hundred 15 year old Religious Studies students were largely, but not exclusively, atheist and agnostic. The workshop was delivered by national press journalist and lecturer, Jude Rogers, who for the most part explores ethics with university level journalist students.

Jude deftly asked them to explore the things that they value, but removing any monetary worth. What is the value of these things without money being involved? Examples such as football and music were seen in a new light, as ways of unifying groups of people, encouraging them to belong to something greater than themselves. Helping individuals to demonstrate unique expression, and not just follow the crowd. Of course none of this is a revelation when you stop and think about it. We know that music allows us to express ourselves, and that pop stars often introduce us to big ideas about art and politics, but where we often run aground is that their worth is so often talked about only in terms of money.

In the 21st Century where arts and ideas are so often justified by their alchemical conversion into ‘brand value’, to hope that it will contribute the bottom line one day, surely we are missing the point? This is what Jude explored in her workshop. As these teenagers emerge into a world where the balance-scale is so heavily tilted towards capitalism, art for arts sake and enjoying something because it just makes you feel good is more of a precious commodity than ever. I learned at the back of that school hall that, value without ever touching on its financial worth is something that all of our young people will need to be encouraged to defend fiercely, as they forge the future.

Fran – Education Lead at the globe at hay

If you are interested in our workshops for schools as they develop please do get in touch with Fran on