How Can the Philosopher's Backpack enrich Critical Global Thinking? (2018)

Global Learning Programme Innovation Fund Research Series Paper 6
Published by the GLP in collaboration with the Development Education Research Centre, UCL Institute of Education (London)

Philosopher’s Backpack™

Philosopher’s Backpack™ is an innovative tool for enriching critical global thinking. It draws on the methodology of both P4C and Global Learning. The central idea is that the ‘backpack’ is a metaphor for the notion that philosophy can be facilitated anywhere in the world, inside or outside, with no limitation on social or academic background of pupils.  It also uses the metaphor of a ‘backpacker’ or traveller who explores and examines the world, like the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates might have done.  Inside the backpack is a set of ‘kit' which are used as metaphors for metacognition to enrich critical global thinking.

Example contents include: a compass, headtorch, rope, magnifying glass, sunglasses, universal ball, concept map and whistle.

Experience of using the Philosopher’s Backpack™ in the classroom has shown that it is a highly accessible and practical tool for helping pupils to articulate their thinking, especially in terms of metacognition.

The Philosopher’s Backpack™ has been developed over the past few years in my own school. am currently working on an action research project funded by the Innovation Fund, in conjunction with the Institute of Education(IOE) to develop it further.

"I am not Athenian or Greek, I am a citizen of the world."  (Socrates 469-399 BC)

Philosopher’s Backpack™

This is a handout I used to share with participants on my training courses, giving an idea of my initial thoughts on the Philosopher's Backpack Project.