8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not Just an Excellent Resource Book for the Classroom!,
This review is from: The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom (Paperback)
I purchased 'the if machine' several months ago, and just a few days before an important interview. I had scanned through the book, something I usually do, to get a sense of the layout and how the book is organised - and immediately found it accessible, inviting, and very well organised. The Table of Sessions points you to specific themes, the page number, the age recommendation within the primary school (although I can assure you, as a secondary school teacher, these exercises easily adapt to 11-18 year olds) and a star rating, suggesting the difficulty level. The book has a brief, but useful Glossary and list of Useful Websites. Moreover, you are given a link to a website which offers other free, and very useful accompanying materials on philosophy, relating to each chapter. Having orientated my way around I started reading the chapter 'The If MAchine", which leads into the "Phi Model' and then Teaching Srategies, and was extremely impressed with the clarity of the writing setting out some of the key approaches to teaching the method and the common sense, no-nonsense approach being offered. I found reading this section a wonderful affirmation of all of the good things I do in the classroom, but there they all were, in one cogent unbroken-throughline of logic. On the way to my interview I used the Table of Sessions to steer me towards exercises on problem-solving, having learned that my interviewer was a mathematician. Cutting to the chase, I used the exercise 'The Shadow of the Pyramid' (Pp 117 - 128) in my interview. I got the job! I later learned from a new colleague that one of the deciding factors had been my use of this exercise - I guess it was a combination of the skilful way the philosophy is intertwined in the story/narrative in this chapter (and I have to say throughout this amazingly thoughtful and creative book) and the way I delivered the story ...
I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone looking to assist children in developing the 4th 'R' = Reason. MORE PLEASE ... AND SOONER RATHER LATER!