A new educational philosophy : building bridges in young minds
Teaching philosophy to pre-service teachers will encourage school students to be open-minded and tolerant. In 2009, the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will teach a philosophy subject to early childhood and primary teachers. This follows the success of an early-year philosophy program administered for the past 10 years at Buranda State School in Brisbane. Efficacy studies of the Buranda philosophy program have revealed happier children who achieve better grades, exhibit less truancy and a lower incidence of bullying in the playground. In today's world of continuing religious persecution and fear, teachings of the early philosophers offer the prospect of building a much-needed bridge between ever-diverging cultures, and between Eastern and Western ideals. Fostering an understanding of these connections in both teachers and their students will help society realise some fundamental links all of humanity share in their worldviews on spirituality, morality and learning. If these broader concepts are explored in new philosophy subjects such as those proposed by QUT, there is a valuable opportunity to teach young children open-mindedness and religious tolerance from the grass roots. [Author abstract, ed]
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