Children’s experiences of online philosophical dialogues

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Researchers are increasingly interested in the impact of philosophical dialogues with children. Studies have shown that this approach helps realise dialogic ideals in learning environments and that Philosophy with Children significantly impacts children's cognitive and social skills. However, other aspects of this approach have attracted less attention - for example, given the focus on children's thinking, voices and perspectives in Philosophy with Children, surprisingly few studies have examined how children experience philosophical dialogues. The aim of this study was to help fill this research gap by describing how children perceived a week of online philosophical dialogues. We conducted 58 dialogues in emergency teaching during the COVID-19 lockdown in Denmark and asked the children questions about their experiences of the dialogues - for instance, about their overall impressions, their perceptions of meaning and the facilitators, and their sense of community. We found that the children generally enjoyed the dialogues and understood their rationale even though the rationale had not been explicitly discussed with them. We also found that the children's opinions were diverse and complex, that some of their descriptions were surprising and that their experiences, in general, matched influential descriptions of dialogic teaching ideals. Our findings confirm that it is important to examine children's perspectives; therefore, we emphasise the need for further attention to the experiences of children participating in philosophical dialogues.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildhood & Philosophy
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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