Want Your Kid To Get Smarter? Teach Them Philosophy

Children may benefit from conceptual conversations.

According to a study published early last year, young children who took a weekly philosophy class — and discussed concepts such as truth, justice and knowledge — showed improvement in math and reading skills after a year, with children from disadvantaged backgrounds improving most of all.

The study was conducted by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), a nonprofit that aims to “close the gap between family income and educational attainment.” EEF implemented a weekly discussion program at 48 schools in England, with more than 3,000 children between 8 and 9 years old participating.

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Children who were involved in the program saw their math and reading scores go up by the equivalent of two months of teaching, and disadvantaged children had the equivalent of four months extra teaching for reading, three months for math and two months for writing.

The effects of the philosophy class lasted for two years, and according to Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, the children “had been given new ways of thinking and expressing themselves…they had been thinking with more logic and more connected ideas.”

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