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ERIC Number: EJ1063864
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
You Are Embarked: How a Philosophy Curriculum Took Shape and Took Off
Senechal, Diana
American Educator, v39 n1 p18-23 Spr 2015
Diana Senechal teaches philosophy at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering in New York City; in addition, she serves on the faculty of the Sue Rose Summer Institute for Teachers at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. In this article she states that if someone had told her five years ago that she would be a high school philosophy teacher, she would have been astounded and thrilled. Senechal begins with a brief history of the philosophy program at Columbia Secondary School which began in 2009. She then goes on to explain how one goes about teaching philosophy at the high school level by describing the curriculum and reflecting on the program as a whole. She chose to make texts a major part of the philosophy courses. Yet the goal was to have students not only learn the arguments and ideas, but respond to them. Each of the courses (for grades 9-11) consists of four long units. Each course meets twice a week; students must read and write in preparation for every class session. (There are about 90-100 students in each grade and up to 34 in a section.) The sequence allows students to draw on their previous learning. Senechal concludes the article by saying that she believes it both possible and beneficial to students to include philosophical works and ideas in an English, history, or science curriculum--whether by integrating them in the regular courses or offering philosophy electives. She encourages her colleagues to take the time to do this by pointing out that good questioning is an essential component of teaching-and where is good questioning found, if not in philosophy?
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Grade 10; Grade 11
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York