The Philosophy Foundation: Provocations

Philosophy for secondary school

By: David Birch


$16.95

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Size: 196 x 146mm

Pages : 328

ISBN: 9781785833687

Format: Paperback

Published: September 2018


David Birch’s Provocations: Philosophy for secondary school will help teachers to present ideas and stimulate discussions which both accommodate and engage adolescent appetites.

Foreword by A. C. Grayling.

Are human beings flawed? Is murder an act of insanity or just plain thoughtlessness? Do we need a soul?

From the fall of Icarus to the rise of Caesar, this practical resource draws upon history, philosophy and literature to provoke students to think, question and wonder. Divided into chapters on the world, self, society and others, the book is designed to give secondary school teachers the means to listen rather than teach – and to allow the ideas and thoughts of students to form the centre of the lesson.

It shares a set of mature and challenging philosophy sessions predicated on the pedagogical methods of The Philosophy Foundation, and which explore, among other things: Wagner and desire, Shakespeare and madness, Joan of Arc and gender, Faust and temptation, and Nostradamus and time. The
sessions dare students to think philosophically, to generate and test ideas, and to gain deeper insights – and raise questions on slavery, consumerism, utopia, the nature of evil, the limits of freedom, belief in God, and a whole lot more.

The book sets out a clear introductory outline on its use both in and out of the classroom, and contains helpful tips and advice to guide teachers to span the curriculum – covering areas applicable to history, geography, religious studies, science, art, English and citizenship. There is also an extensive bibliography for those who wish to explore the topics in greater depth.

Designed for all teachers, whether they are Philosophy for Children (P4C) trained or just experimenting with philosophy, of learners aged 11–18.

There is also a hardback edition available, ISBN 9781845908881.


Picture for author David Birch

David Birch

David Birch works for The Philosophy Foundation, an award-winning charity that brings philosophy to schools and the wider community. He is also a teacher of philosophy and religious studies at both Newham Sixth Form College and Kensington Park School.

He has also been featured in Philosophy Now.

Read David's article featured in The Guardian, September 2014.


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