Welcome to imaginethis. I’m madeleine, a twenty-something educator, activist, poet, and globetrotter. This project began as a Poetry Concentration Capstone during my Philosophy undergraduate study, developing a web of resources for educators to facilitate Philosophy for Children communities through poetry. Over the years, it has become a blog of my experiences and wonderings through education around the world, which you can read post by post or browse through the tag cloud (also on right-hand side of each page). While not everything is related to philosophy and poetry, my writing centres on themes of inquiry and ethics, mostly with children. Please feel free to join the discussion on any page or post by using the Comments to share your ideas and critiques. Please note racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, body shaming, ableism, and speciesism are not welcome here.
My thoughts on education
As a Philosophy for Children educator, I am constantly looking for ways to open critical thinking and ethical debate among young people. Coming from an unschooling and alternative education background, it was always apparent to me that young children are not only capable of but thrive on challenging, philosophical discourse. Kids care passionately about the ethical issues that matter to them; they just need to be offered the encouragement and tools to engage on a practical level. That is where I see a need for P4C and humane education – teaching and learning in line with and to support our ethics.
Imagine if all schools were places for exploration and the realisation of revolutionary ideas. Imagine if kids were taught to critically examine everything they are told, to form their own opinions based on evidence and their own ethics, and to defend their positions with sound logical reasoning. Imagine if kids were empowered to think for themselves and to challenge authority, cultural norms, and their peers in thoughtful, reasoned, and respectful ways.
Imagine if all children were challenged to think and act intersectionally, to study how their privileges and challenges combine to affect how they interact with the world and the opportunities that they have. Imagine if all educators challenged themselves to do the same. Imagine if school were, as John Dewey envisioned, a microcosm of a democratic society, empowering children to take charge of their learning community and strengthen their growth mindsets by really examining the underpinnings of their setbacks and figuring out how to change that with which they are unsatisfied.
Imagine: These children go out into the world equipped with the tools and confidence to challenge the injustice of the status quo and actually change society. Imagine: Every child knows how much they/she/he matters. Imagine: These children never learn to hate. These children grow into confident adults who never are inclined to put others down in order to validate themselves. Imagine this, combined with and nourished by creative expression and the written word. In my classrooms, this vision is my baseline goal.