Thursday, July 29, 2010

A peak into our classroom in "Philosophy in School"

While we were studying "Philosophy in School" at the Oslo University College International Summer School, our teachers posted information, links, and pictures from the sessions online. I have taken some samples from these folders to show you what our class was like.

One of our teachers, Beate, writes on the board to help us see our discussion.  Our other teacher, Bo, photographs the board so we can use it for reference later as we write our papers and plan our lessons this fall.  This discussion was about "rules."  I have decided to do a similar type of philosophical inquiry with my students in the beginning of the year as we analyze the reasons and purpose of rules in the classroom.

This photo was taken during one of our 2 minute reflection times.  Instead of just asking a question, Bo and Beate would have us take some time to think, reflect and write about it.  Afterward, they tossed the dice to see who would go first.  It was a great way to organize a discussion.  Also, notice our name tags, which ensured that we learned each others' names very quickly.  4 of us decided to use our laptops in class, and those notes were extremely helpful for our papers.  Masha, who is to my left, is from Russia and really appreciated reading my notes as I typed them because it helped her with her language.  Our class was eclectic.  Going around the room, starting on the left, we have Baiba from Latvia, Vicky from Spain, Kristin from NYC (that's me), Masha from Russia, Clara from Spain, Kamal from Palestine (now studying in Denmark), Andrey from Russia, Sofia from Greece, Veronica from Spain, and Maggie from Maine.  (Marjan from Slovenia and Viktoriia from Ukraine are not in this picture).  It was a great to do philosophy with all these different perspectives.  Plus, many of us were teachers, so we brought insight from our classroom experiences.

After discussion of 5 statements about rules, we decided as a class that the most difficult statement to agree or disagree with was "There is one rule that is the most important."  As a result of thinking and discussing, we had to decide which was the best reason to agree with that statement.  Through our discussion and work, the class selected the statement "There is one rule that is the rule of the rules."  That is just above the work in this picture, but you can see how we tried to formulate a statement that works as one rule that regulates all the rules.  (Love, respect, etc).

A pedagogical technique apparent here is writing students' answers on the board with their name next to them.  This helps students to feel very involved, proud of their work, and also provides a lasting record of the discussion after class.  Teachers made this available online.  Another way to do this is to type on a computer that projects this information onto a screen.  Then this material can be made available later.

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