We work to advance philosophy education in several ways. First, we directly engage students through classes and club activities at area schools. Second, we work with teachers on curriculum development, focusing on ways to integrate philosophical themes. Finally, we look to collaborate with non-for-profit educational initiatives focused on academic enrichment.
Pre-College Philosophy in the Schools
High School Ethics Bowl: The first Philadelphia Regional Ethics Bowl was hosted at Penn in February 2020, and the second was held virtually in January 2021. The Ethics Bowl is an extra-curricular activity where students discuss and debate ethical cases studies with teams from other schools. We have worked with 5 Philadelphia High Schools to help them prepare for their participation. This effort was assisted by a wide variety of Penn students, faculty and volunteers. We look forward to adding more schools in 2022 and beyond.
Middle School Philosophy Class: We run informal philosophy classes weekly with students at the Benjamin B. Comegys School, a neighborhood school in West Philadelphia. We have worked with several grade levels from 4th to 8th. In the past we have enlisted Penn undergraduate students via an ABCS (Academically Based Community Service) course to organize class activities for 5th graders.
Middle School Philosophy Club: We have conducted philosophy club activities at the Penn Alexander School in West Philadelphia, including a philosophically themed movie club.
High School Philosophy Course: We have taught several 8-week mini-courses on the Philosophy and Ethics of Science at the Science Leadership Academy, a magnet school in Center City Philadelphia.
High School Philosophy Clubs: We have assisted in running a weekly philosophy club at the George Washington Carver School for Engineering and Science, a magnet school in North Philadelphia. In past years we have also run a club for first generation college-bound students via a partnership with Philadelphia Futures. This included integration with an ABCS course on the Philosophy of Education, culminating in a conference featuring student presentations at Penn.
Teachers Institute of Philadelphia Seminars: Professor Detlefsen conducts seminars in conjunction with the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP). The seminars focus on collaborative efforts to enrich K-12 curricula with philosophical and critical thinking content.
Educational Enrichment Partnership
Mighty Writers Collaboration: We work with Mighty Writers, a not-for-profit that offers free workshops and activities for K-12 students in and around Philadelphia with the goal of supporting the development of writing skills. We create programs that combine their mission of improving writing skills with our P4Y goal of giving students an opportunity to think philosophically.