Emerging ethical minds: Shifting our perceptions of childhood / Émergence de l'esprit éthique : changer nos perceptions de l’enfance
This course aims to nurture collaborative inquiry into our unquestioned assumptions about childhood and the child’s capacity to think independently about moral issues. How can we move toward an understanding of children that enables them to honour their potential as emerging citizens and ethical decision-makers? Through rich dialogues, tailored multimedia supports and group reflections, participants will get to explore key concepts and educative practices that can enhance their interactions with children as teachers, parents, mentors and allies. What does it mean to create strong child-adult relationships and give voice to children around ethical issues that matter to them?
The course draws inspiration from innovative theories and practices in philosophy aimed at social justice and inclusion—notably the Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Philocreation approaches—encouraging participants to engage in dynamic creative experimentations designed to help them think outside the box.
The course will examine such questions as: What is childhood? How do our conceptions of children affect the educative experiences we create for them? Can children learn to reason ethically through dialogue and collaborative thinking? How can we build meaningful relationships between adults and children in various learning contexts? Should children have more autonomy at school and beyond? What does it mean to extend citizenship to children?
Throughout the course, participants will learn to…
- become aware of the assumptions they may have about childhood
- reimagine the dynamic of the child-adult relationship
- recognize and nurture a child’s capacity for philosophical thinking, notably ethical sensitivity
- foster and model a posture of “epistemic flexibility” drawing on children’s own meaning-making
The course does not include any formal assignments, though participants will be invited to write short reflections on course content.
Dr. Natalie M. Fletcher (Affiliate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal; Founding Director, Brila Youth Projects; Research Coordinator, Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth)
This 15-hour course consists of six interactive online sessions throughout the winter and spring of 2023:
Session 1: Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)
Session 2: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)
Session 3: Tuesday, February 28, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)
Session 4: Tuesday, March 21, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)
Session 5: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)
Session 6: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 – 6-8:45 p.m. (with break)