Why we should teach philosophy to kids

Via the BPS Research Digest: A recent study on the long-term benefits of the Socratic method. In a study of 105 children, all around 10 years old, teachers spent an hour a week for 16 months teaching lessons based on philosophical inquiry.


The philosophy-based lessons encouraged a community approach to “inquiry” in the classroom, with children sharing their views on Socratic questions posed by the teacher.

The result? At the end of 16 months,

Compared with 72 control children, the philosophy children showed significant improvements on tests of their verbal, numerical and spatial abilities

And two years later, when the philosophy children were tested again, their higher scores persisted — while the lower-scoring control group were, in some cases, declining further. Researchers Keith Topping and Steve Trickey point out that these gains persisted even though the kids had switched schools as well, from primary to secondary, showing that the influence of philosophical inquiry works across contexts and over time.

Or in the words of Socrates, “If this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed.”

Socrates image from Wikimedia