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Philosophising in practice

Philosophising is not "grateful entertainment", but an educational principle that has a lasting effect. To convey this is a challenge, especially at the beginning and in the introduction of philosophising! More and more schools and pedagogues as well as committed parents at home and abroad have recognized that the philosophical discussion is a great opportunity for the development of everyone involved. The academy inspires and accompanies model schools and kindergartens in the introduction of philosophising. Through events, the academy tries to make philosophising better known and to show teachers the possibilities of philosophising in workshops and lectures. In the meantime, people even travel to our course from different European countries. A course in English is already being worked on.




School project, OSV Zeltgasse, 1080 Wien

For years, the academy has been successfully cooperating with schools, institutions and committed people who want to establish this integrative cultural technique in the educational sector. One example is the sustainable philosophy project in OSV Zeltgasse. The main initiator was Neslihan Turan-Berger years ago. With a lot of commitment and personal commitment, information evenings on the subject of "philosophising" were organized in cooperation with our academy. With the support of the Chamber of Labour, which offers philosophising together with the academy at the education fair L14 and in parent-child workshops, philosophising workshops for all classes could take place in the Zeltgasse. In the following year, this philosopher series was continued and the decision was made to offer an internal training series, which was followed by a large number of educators. Even several parents decided to participate in training (open groups). In autumn 2017, the city school board officially released hours for philosophising. See also




Philosophising with 450 people

A milestone in philosophising and that might even have been a world record. That happened at the Pentecost camp of Kinderfreunde Niederösterreich, where we organized a philosophical journey for young and old with 21 groups and 450 people! And that at the same time. In the individual stations, the participants were able to deal with very specific topics in a practical way in the sense of a "philosophical activity", as we call it. The response was extremely good and confirmed that we are on the right track, namely combining fun and life with concrete content. Philosophising at Pentecost camp was developed by Lena Korherr and Uly Paya.


Children's University in Vienna

Philosophising has already been offered a few times at the Children's University in Vienna. Our employees or philosophical discussion leaders trained by us stimulated the youngsters, for example about "What is nature actually?" to research. In an exercise prior to the group discussion, the topic was made tangible and experience was gained. Exciting remarks, such as those made by an approximately eleven-year-old child, are well remembered: "When I'm older, I'd like to study to maybe solve the world's plastic problem with the help of photosynthesis!". One can only be amazed.....




Philosophising and outdoor pedagogy
The academy is constantly developing suitable games, workshops and outdoor educational exercises for philosophising. A successfully implemented example is the so-called "analogue computer game", which imitates a computer game in reality. This was played with great enthusiasm by all participants at the Pentecost camp as well as in the Philo-Camp and then of course served as an exciting philosophical discussion.

General experiences and successes from practice
The following verifiable changes from practice could be observed and evaluated through philosophising in model experiments of the Academy ("kinder philosophieren", Munich) at 48 day-care centers and schools in children and adolescents:

  • Children’s questioning behavior and willingness to talk change, they become more curious and question more.

  • They express their own points of view more frequently and justify them more confidently.
    Children with behavioral problems (both aggressive and conspicuous behavior and withdrawal behavior) are more involved.

  • The way the children interact with each other changes.

  • Conflicts are increasingly resolved verbally.

  • Children's attention spans are lengthening.

  • Children with a migration background in particular expand their vocabulary significantly and become more secure in terms of grammar.

  • Gifted children and children with learning disabilities can be better integrated into the group and contribute surprisingly intensively.

The culture of conversation in philosophical conversations also has an effect on other subjects, in which children show more appreciation for the thoughts of their classmates, actively change perspectives and relate to one another in terms of content.









Philosophy versus philosophising - terminology
Over the years it has often been shown that many people do not differentiate between philosophy and philosophising. This corresponds roughly to the well-known "theory and practice problem". Reading a book about mountain hikes or something about the high alpine mountains is something completely different than going out with a backpack yourself! And so it is with philosophising and philosophy. Instead of discussing theoretical treatises, the content of philosophising is worked out by the group itself using philosophical questions. Philosophising is about the process, which, unlike philosophy, has no result as its goal. Rather, it is about the exchange of ideas, which can of course be summarized to form an overall picture or a research result. The focus, however, is on the individual, who is encouraged to think, and on the community, which looks at and questions the most diverse opinions and experiences together.
So philosophising is not just about citing existing texts or concepts from philosophy. The focus is on one's own experiences and thoughts, which are used to research a mostly philosophical question. When philosophising, the question is an essential and at the same time one of the most difficult tasks for the discussion leader. This is also the reason why the philosophical question in the first module of the Academy's training series is one of the most central building blocks.
In the last few decades, a large number of variants of philosophising have emerged, most of which go back to the very first attempts at philosophising and have survived to this day. We distinguish between "children's philosophy", "philosophy for children" (or p4c - philosophy for children), "philosophising children" or "philosophising with children", as we call it. All differ from each other in their methodology and approach or their basic approach. It is comparatively like with dancing, where there is a multitude of offers, for example there are group dances as well as creative couple dances. The Academy developed its model many years ago, which combines these different forms of philosophising. In the training courses at the academy, these forms are conveyed methodically and didactically and passed on in a practical manner.


Religious education, ethics and philosophy
In countless conversations with directors, teachers and parents, I often encounter this question, with all its facets and challenges! For more than 30 years there have been (public) discussions about establishing ethics lessons across the board. Religious education takes place in many places, but more and more children are opting out. Depending on the location, there are alternative lessons or a free hour. Why is that? What would it take to bring young people together and get them talking again in the "digital madness"?
Community is always created through a joint conversation, in pairs or in a group. It is basically a simple and, if you will forgive me, a very healing path once you have set it in motion. But where do quiet conversations take place today? In my conversations with teachers over the past 15 years, it became clear to me that kindergartens and schools are simply overwhelmed. Teacher bodies are educators, crisis platforms and knowledge mediators at the same time! Or must it be inevitable. How often do I hear about being overwhelmed in the seminars, which cannot be reconciled with loving empathy and joy in the job forever! In one of the last seminars we talked extensively as a group about insomnia. I was horrified. How is it that most of them often cannot sleep because of their challenging work in an elementary school? What kind of quality of life is that? Why is this simply ignored and who would be responsible for a change? There are plenty of concepts and ideas as well as examples from other countries! In Hawaii, for example, Jackson has developed a hot spot school into a model school with top-performing students within a few years. And how? In every class there is philosophising on a weekly basis!

To "sell" philosophising as an educational principle is a difficult undertaking, since it is not a pleasant form of teaching. The added value is not immediately visible because social skills are not immediately visible like in a school assignment or study. However, if you look at successful companies and see the social skills, motivation and joy of the people, you could actually guess the "yield" of philosophising.

The academy strives to support this development and to offer a contribution to a healthy community. We hope that politicians will eventually recognize sustainable quality and support this development.
(U. Paya)


Belief and faith
This article aims to give you a little insight into the nature of philosophising through the difference between belief and faith. Religious teachers and theologians with different faiths take part in our training courses. But in our philosophical discussions we deal with belief in itself and explore with children or young people what it is actually all about. Belief is not treated as a ready concept and knowledge. In some cases, however, it can be a reason for a conversation.
Of course, for many, the faith that most people know from their family of origin or culture plays a major role. When we philosophise, we don't discuss different faiths, we deal with "beliefs" in general. Questions could include: "What does it mean to believe in something? How does it feel to believe? And what is the difference between believing and knowing?

It has been shown that children and young people are very happy to deal with these questions. Religion plays no role here and I think it is essential not to mix the process of thinking and searching for the nature of an event with a religious belief. But for many it is also an opportunity to take a closer look at one or the other religion or world view. And that in a different form of quality, because it includes a completely different self-motivation. Many existential questions such as the question of the meaning of life are answered by religion. However, philosophising is value-free and open-ended and does not provide any answers or suggest a content in any form or in a hidden way. Philosophising as a cultural technique and as an educational principle promotes one's own thinking and the integrative process of the community, where life themes are discovered and explored together.

Philosophical interviewers:
Trainers, parents and educators take on the role of moderation in the open process of philosophising. They create the framework for philosophising using rituals and the special way of speaking, which must be learned for this. You develop further with the children, discover your own amazement as well as new thoughts. They also develop into equal discussion partners at eye level and become more patient when dealing with the children.
On the basis of the philosophical question, a new quality of listening can arise in a group. Initially, this requires a learning process for everyone involved and a certain amount of patience. After a while, however, philosophising takes the pressure off of regular classes, since the group community learns to work out its own answers and to develop solutions. The moderators are motivated and themselves curious to research philosophical questions. In addition, with the help of the philosophical talks, they can get to know and assess particularly quiet or conspicuous children better. Philosophising already enriches the discussion leaders when preparing for a specific topic. It brings many new aspects and contents for one's own life, which are no longer carried out by adults alone, but by the entire group and are responsible for them. Because it is always about our humanity and our life issues, and the younger as well as older people similarly.

also prominent persons come to our workshops


The UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child

On November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. All children in the world thus create guaranteed rights - to survive, develop, protect and participate.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child describes basic values ??that apply worldwide when dealing with children, regardless of social, cultural, ethnic or religious differences. And it calls for a new perspective on children as independent personalities. All states except the USA and South Sudan have ratified the convention. 
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"Was bedeutet Philosophieren eigentlich?"

Erfahre in 6:43 Minuten, was Philosophieren bedeutet...

Books (German):


Es gibt unzählige Bücher und Literatur rund ums Philosophieren. Zwischen Theorie und Praxis liegen oft Welten. Da können wir das Philosophieren mit einer Kletter- oder Tanzanleitung vergleichen.

Unter diesem Gesichtspunkt wurde das neue Buch "Fragen, Forschen, Glücklichsein" geschrieben:



"Fragen, Forschen, Glücklichsein"
Das Buch zum Philosophieren für alle von 0 bis 100


In diesem Buch beschreibt Uly Paya, Gründer der Akademie, das Philosophieren mit Kindern aus langjähriger Erfahrung und bietet Ihnen dabei kreative und spannende Details aus der Praxis. Das Buch gibt Antworten im Umgang mit Fragen von Kindern, Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen. Welche Rolle haben Fragen eigentlich? Und was ist überhaupt eine Frage? Das Buch zeigt auf, wie und wo Bildung heute versagt und welche Chancen das Philosophieren als Bildungsprinzip und Kulturtechnik in sich trägt. Uly Paya vermittelt Ihnen, was das Philosophieren gerade in Zeiten von Computerspielen oder Orientierungslosigkeit vollbringen kann. Er gibt praktische Hinweise für Eltern, PädagogInnen und ExpertInnen im Philosophieren. Der Autor begleitet Sie dabei als erfahrener Referent, Lehrer, Musiker und Maler.

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Buch "Mit Sandburgen die Welt verändern"
Zwei (von der Akademie ausgebildete) Moderatorinnen haben mit Kindergarten-Kindern zum Thema "Veränderung" philosophiert und die Ergebnisse zusammengetragen. Das Buch ist liebevoll gestaltet und macht Lust auf mehr Philosophieren. Uly Paya hat für das Buch ein Gastkommentar beigesteuert und die Autorinnen beim Philosophieren unterstützt.



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