I don't know for sure, but I imagine that Socrates, the Ancient Greek philosopher, never carried a backpack. After all, he never wrote anything down. I like to think of the probing questions that he posed, as the tools that he carried to help his students
examine their thinking.
My Philosopher's Backpack is an innovative visual prompt for critical and creative questioning. It is a metaphor for the notion that practical philosophy can be facilitated anywhere in the world, inside or outside the classroom,
with no limitation on social or academic background. Just like Socrates, a teacher can use thoughtful questions to help students explore their philosophical thinking, learning about each other and the world around them. Over time, the students begin
to use these questions independently, hopefully becoming more questioning of what they see and hear, both in philosophical inquiries and their life inside and outside school.
Inside the Philosopher's Backpack, are six pieces of kit that each
serve as metaphors for different questions. My action research project showed how the questions were more easily remembered when linked to metaphors. This was particularly helpful for practitioners who were new to Philosophy for Children.
Which concepts are illuminated by the stimulus?
Magnifying glass: Can we think in more detail about the concept?
Glasses: What are the alternative ideas and opinions?
Rope: Do you agree or disagree?
Global ball: Would everyone
Compass: Is the direction of our question moving us forward in our thinking?