Thoughtings: philosophy through poetry

Provider: The Philosophy Foundation
£180.00 (no VAT on this item) Book included


Provider Rating (from 9 reviews)
Description Learn how to use thought-provoking poetry in your class to develop children's literacy and deepen their thinking skills.
Duration Staff meeting

The Philosophy Foundation's website

Categories Primary, Secondary, Teaching and Learning, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, Arts, English / Literacy, Languages, Assistant Headteacher, CPD Leader, Deputy Headteacher, Headteacher, Head of year / Pastoral leader, Learning Support, Advanced Skills Teacher, Excellent Teacher, Main-scale (core) teacher, Newly Qualified Teacher, Non-practising teacher, Post-threshold Teacher, Pupil mentor, Supply / Peripatetic teacher, Trainnee (pre-QTS) teacher, Teacher trainer, Head of Department / Faculty, Behaviour for Learning, Gifted and Talented, Inclusion, Subject Knowledge, In school, After-school meetings, Book, Collaborative Learning, Gifted and Talented, Meta-cognition and Self-regulation, Social and Emotional, Teacher Enquiry, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Use of Pupil Premium, PSHE, Skills taught directly linked to learning in schools, encouraging pupils to apply the skills they learn, There are approaches to support pupils working together, Tasks are designed carefully so that working together is effective and efficient, There are opportunities to make use of competition between groups to support pupils in working together more effectively within their group, Provides approaches that encourage lower achieving pupils to talk and articulate their thinking in collaborative tasks
Learning outcomes for participants/users and, where relevant, pupils or students

By the end of the staff meeting teachers will:

  • Be better equipped to make poetry accessible to classes
  • Have tools and a procedure for helping children tackle metaphor and interpretation

Learning outcomes for pupils include improved:

  • Speaking and listening skills
  • Improved understanding of metaphor and interpretation
  • Collaborative enquiry skills
Evidence underpinning this approach

Over the last five years research  (Including Ofsted, The Rose Review (2006), The Cambridge Primary Review (2009) and a report by the Confederation of British Business (2010).) into children and education has consistently highlighted the effects of communication difficulties on behaviour, learning and emotional relationships.  Reports indicate that this is due to emphasis being placed on teaching to test rather than deepening understanding.  Memorisation and recall have been valued over enquiry and creativity and children are leaving school without the skills necessary for them to be able to actively participate in society. 

Using Enquiry develops speaking and listening skills that will impact across the curriculum and also on confidence and communication skills.

TPF’s model of Philosophical Enquiry and Enquiry has been in development over the last 10 years in a number of schools in an inner London Borough and is now being used in schools across the UK and overseas. TPF has case studies and feedback from headteachers, teachers, parents and pupils on how effective the impact the PhiE model has been on the children it works with. Qualitative research from the IOE shows impact on speaking and listening, and confidence.

Using 'Thoughtings' to do enquiry links to development of speaking and listening and English Literature.

How users/participants can evaluate success

Success is evaluated through questionnaires and feedback forms. Pupil progress in enquiry can be measured via an evaluative form provided by The Philosophy Foundation.

Measureable outcomes for pupils include:

  • Improvements in S&L
  • Confidence
  • Concentration
  • Class collaboration
  • Behaviour towards each other

Children should have a deeper understanding of the concepts explored through the peotrty (identity, ethics, existence, language among others) 

Measureable outcomes for teachers include:

  • Confidence in being able to run Thoughtings in the classroom
  • Being able to apply procedures / techniques to other texts and subjects
  • Confidence in developing understanding of poetry and tackling metaphor and interpretation - which can be applied to other subjects as well
Follow-up activities and support

Website with free resources

Copy of Thoughtings: Puzzles, problems and paradoxes for thinking with.


Staff Meeting an hour to an hour and a half

  • Experience an philosophical enquiry (PhiE) through poetry
  • Explore ways that the teachers get the children to approach and understand metaphor in a poem
  • Show and explain how the 'concept box' can help aid understanding and interpretation
  • How to present a poem so that children can unpack it for themselves


This course does not have any pre-booked dates available. Please contact the provider directly to arrange this training.