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Help learners connect philosophical ideas with practical applications – 5 hands-on activities that keep DP philosophy learning contemporary and engaging.
...what do you think happens when children refuse to conform with society's expectations?
Nancy Le Nezet on connecting DP philosophy with the real world
Teachers often mention it can be difficult to make connections between philosophical concepts and practical, real-world examples and ideas. I use non-philosophical stimuli to create links between philosophical theories and their practical applications – this approach can equip learners with confidence for assessments and build relevance, grounding knowledge acquisition in current, topical issues that teenagers can relate to.
Here are 5 activities you can try with your DP philosophy learners to connect subject knowledge with tangible real-world situations - from Nancy and her co-author Guy Williams:
#1 “Girls’ toys” and “boys’ toys”
Group activity – freedom
The development of gender identity can be deeply influenced by the kind of games and toys that children are given. On the internet, visit a popular toy or gift website and run a search for “girls’ toys” and “boys’ toys.” Have students discuss the following:
#2 If Descartes watched the Matrix...
Independent response – body and mind
Watch the film The Matrix. Does the film support or oppose mind-body dualism?
Imagine that Descartes watched The Matrix. Taking on the role of Descartes, write a review of the film from his perspective.
#3 A thought experiment
Class discussion – freedom
Imagine that scientists manage to prove that freedom does not exist and that all human behaviour is predictable. Discuss:
At the end of your thought experiment, decide if humanity is better off believing in freedom (whether it is actually an illusion or not).
#4 New-born babies and cognition
Research question – personhood
Research the development of foetuses and new-born babies, and particularly of the brain and cognitive abilities. Do you think there is a specific point when personhood begins?
#5 A dialogue with the Buddha
Critical analysis – body and mind
Write an imaginary dialogue between the Buddha and the five ascetics, in which the Buddha argues for the Middle Way, while the ascetics argue for asceticism. Incorporate arguments for and against their views on the mind-body relationship.
Research the Wheel of Life and produce your own diagram of it. Analyse the implications of Samsara for the way we view the physical body.
Analyse and explain how the Noble Eightfold Path could be used to discipline the body, without hurting it?
Investigate ways in which modern theories or knowledge could be used in a critique of Buddhism. Is there lasting value in this philosophy?
Nancy Le Nezet has taught DP Philosophy for ten years; she is currently based in Bangkok. Nancy is the author of the IB Philosophy Being Human Course Book.
The new IB Philosophy Course Book equips learners to practically apply skills in philosophy, while connecting philosophical ideas with current, relevant situations.
The only DP resources developed with the IB
Author Nancy Le Nezet, Author Chris White, Author Daniel Lee, and Author Guy Williams
Paperback | 18/12/2014
Price: £39.99Also available as an ebook
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