I know–philosophy sounds boring and probably makes you want to hit the back button on your browser but hear me out. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is all the rage right now and honestly our kids are better for it. The future will bring more technology than we’ve ever seen before and the jobs our kids will have someday likely don’t exist yet.
There’s a big problem though. We are good about teaching kids what to learn but we are failing at teaching them HOW to think. If we want our kids to solve increasingly complicated problems, we need to teach kids a higher order of learning that was so important to some of the greatest thinkers of the past. Philosophy can do that! It teaches how to distinguish between prejudice, bias, manipulation, misinformation; how to listen and respond to an opposing argument; and how to ask the questions that drive true inquiry.
Check this out: 9 and 10 year olds who participated in a philosophy class once a week for a year made 2 additional months’ progress in their math and reading scores. Another study reported similar results with higher test scores in verbal, numerical and spatial abilities and showed that gains persisted when tested 2 years later. Amazingly, it also said: “evidence of maintained gains from thinking skills interventions are rare in the literature even within sectors of education, let alone across sectors.”