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How does one do a p4c session? Here’s a brief explanation!

Everyone sits in a circle

First of all, we all sit in a circle. In Japanese schools, we push the desks to the side and make a circle with chairs only. By making a circle, one can talk while looking at each other’s reactions. In addition, the circle represents how everyone can equally participate in the dialogue.

Everyone chooses a question

The important thing is that the children create questions and the teacher does not unilaterally decide it for them. Students write questions that they think about in daily life on the blackboard and each person votes to decide the question that they will talk about. They also encouraged to request that questions not chosen this time be discussed at the next time.

Dialogue with using community ball made by the class

Once the question is decided, the dialogue starts. The person who has the community ball will start talking. In some cases, we will promote dialogue using the “Magic word” to clearly explain the rules of discussion and the “philosopher’s tool box” to explore to a deeper topic. Of course, the teacher cannot talk when he or she does not have the community ball.

Final reflections

At the end of the dialogue, everyone reflects on the topic of the day. The teacher asks the students some questions such as “Were you able to participate today’s dialogue?” “Was this discussion interesting?” or “Do you think the dialogue was deep?” Everyone expresses their thoughts with their thumbs, by either thumbs up, thumbs to the side, or thumbs down. Of course, by thumbs up, the student says “Very much,” and by a sideways thumbs the student says “so-so,” and by thumbs down, the students say “not so much”. If they have time, the students can later use a p4c journal to write about their thoughts about that day’s discussions.