Redlands Philosophy Club

The newly formed Philosophy Club offers students of Year Six the opportunity to develop their thinking skills in much the same way that the classical thinkers of years gone by may have done so. The Philosophy Club will operate weekly, Tuesday lunch times and cater for ten students per term. The Club will be led by Mrs Catherine Williams, an expert in the design and implementation of philosophical learning for young students and a student of Professor Philip Cam of UNSW, a highly respected expert in the field. Each Term a member of the Redlands teaching staff will “Shadow” Mrs Williams adding to their set of teaching tools. In Term One Ms. Clare Mcphillips will work with the club.

Last Thursday Mrs. Williams spoke to the Year Six students about the Philosophy Club and asked them the question “Which is heavier, a promise or a mistake”. This simple question led to some outstanding responses from the students as they considered a question with no obvious or correct answer. The power of a philosophical question to engage and expand the mind was very apparent and the students left the meeting clearly enthused. The Year Six teachers spoke with Mrs. Williams after this. It was obvious to us that the Philosophy Club will provide our students with an experience of great value to their learning now and in the future. Long term we can see connections to the IB’s Theory of Knowledge component and an excellent fit with the school’s focus on developing learning skills applicable to novel situations not benefitted by rote learning.

We have subsequently requested students to Self Nominate for the programme and have formed our first group. This group of ten pioneers met on Tuesday and has enjoyed an initial session focused on getting to know each other and setting guidelines for how the group should function. Students who are not in this initial group can look forward to benefitting from the Club in later terms.

What is philosophy?
Philosophy is talking together about ideas; thinking; asking questions and finding reasons.

Why teach it?

* To help students learn to think effectively and creatively for themselves;
* To stimulate students’ curiosity about who we are, how the world is, what our relationships within it and with each other are, and what is fair, right and good;
* To have students engage cooperatively in learning, motivated by their own curiosity and interests as they learn to articulate problems; how to probe and question, and reveal and confront problems;
* To support and encourage students to explore holistically their way of being in the world by providing them with the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns, from both a personal and global perspective, as a group in a safe and supportive environment


Camp - Responsibility and Consequences

One of the goals we have for Year Six is to encourage the students to develop greater responsibility and recognise that there are consequences for their actions. Camp is a great opportunity to do this and the process begins before they leave.
Last week we sent home Camp Booklets including a packing list. On the list are the essential items required for an enjoyable camp. All the items are important, some more so than others. The list includes items that will keep you dry, keep you safe, keep you warm at night and ensure you are fed. Raincoats, sleeping bags, hats, shoes for the dry and for the wet, plates and utensils.
Each year two or three students discover they have forgotten one or two of these items. Normally they discover this just as it rains or just before bedtime. The conversation is always the same, "Mum forgot to pack my . . ." The response is always the same too, "So will mum be getting wet today?" The message is the students need to take charge of their packing; the consequence is theirs the responsibility is too.
There are a number of items that shouldn't go to camp. Electronics including phones are easily lost or broken and defeat the purpose of a camp experience away from home and technology. Spray deodorant offers a different set of problems when it is used as room deodoriser or bug spray. The breathing difficulties and headaches that result have forced us to ban it. Extra food is not required however; a small bag of treats to be enjoyed across the six days we are away is acceptable.

Meet the Teacher

It was lovely to be able to meet the parents of our students on Tuesday night. This communication between home and school is a vital link in the education of the children. By working together and sharing information the important role that each of us plays is made easier and we are all better able to meet the child's needs.

An issue to consider at this point in time is the degree of independence that we expect from the students in completing task. It is a balancing act in many ways as we battle with conflicting needs of promoting greater independence and ensuring that children are fully supported in their learning. The trick is to have the child feel they are working most of it out on their own while we are holding their hand along the way. The acrobat who works with a net but gains enough confidence to forget that it is there.

With this in mind when we are begining to teach our Big Ideas there is very much a need to guide the students towards the desired understandings. Little chunks and ideas are discussed, and connected and built on and slowly the big idea emerges. Along the way we teach the students to make the connections, to ask questions and look for answers. The Big Ideas are there for us as a destination to be reached by the end of the term or year but in many ways the learning is the journey and the stops along the way.


Human Rights

Recently we investigated our rights and explored the origins, history and scope of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It was pleasing to see that the ideas you put forward for what our rights are closely matched those of the politicians who drafted the official document. You recognised the importance of safety in many forms and guarantees including an education, health and a caring family. You knew that the rights applied to all persons and sadly you also knew that despite the Declaration many people do not enjoy the rights we often take for granted.

It is important to understand that the United Nations has a hard time gaining the support of all Nations. The Declaration is a good example in that it is not LAW. Many nations ignore some or all of the Articles and apply them to some citizens and not others. So what do we do?

The video we shared suggests that the key to Rights for all is the actions of the individual. As one of those Individuals what do you imagine you could do? What action could you take to promote the rights of others?


Welcome to Year Six

This Blog contains information for students and parents of Year Six. Contnet will range form information about learning to reviews of what Year Six has been doing. Posts to this can be made by Teachers of Students and will thus be a way for sharing ideas. 

Students will be encouraged to post to this site by their Teachers or can submit posts direcly or via one of the school leaders. Posts by students could range from comments and discussion of topical issues, pieces of work developed through classwork or items of a creative nature developed independently or in small groups. It should become a record of your time in Year Six and place that celebrates the great work you have done.

This Blog will be of particular value to the School Leaders as it will allow them a voice on the web and a location for promoting events they organise as a group.


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