Des projets de recherche-action pour faire le point
sur des pratiques pédagogiques efficaces en regard à
l'identification des problèmes liés à l'apprentissage,
à la persévérance et l'assiduité des
élèves ( les forces ou vertus, valeurs fondamentales
contribuant à la résilience) avec des outils diagnostique
à la recherche et évaluation de solutions de la stratégie
d'intervention pour la réussite d'élèves en
( dans le cadre du projet Agir Autrement du MEQ 202).
Des cliniques de développement des habiletés et forces
d'esprit en vue de prévenir le décrochage et des situations
d'élèves à risque basées sur la nouvelle
psychologie positive des vertus ( mon ouvrage SOS Bien-être
et le cahier d'exercices) feront partie des projets spéciaux
pour dépister le profil des élèves et évaluer
le progrès dans les apprentissages.
Résultats de recherches sur les compétences
transversales et le développement des valeurs fondamentales
(traduction française en pr�paration)
Results of the Study Implementing cross
curricular thinking skills competencies and Habits of mind through
philosophy for children : What the Assessment Found and What
the Results Mean ( From Infusing positive character strengths and
cross curricular competencies : A research study ,
( Ghanotakis, CFB, 2002 ).
The most straightforward way to present the results
of the present study as summarised on the tables and figures, herewith
provided (Appendix A), is to discuss each of the research questions
by reference to the test data analysed with respect to both the
primary and junior levels of the pedagogical intervention.
Question 1 : What has been the impact of the study on higher order
cross-curricular competency thinking skills?
Junior Level: Gains in Higher Order Thinking Skills
Table 1A reveals that the implementation of philosophy
for children enriched classroom activities produced in the experimental
group a significant 56% improvement in higher order thinking skills
(critical and cognitive) as compared with 17 % improvement for the
control group as measured on the 23 domains of the New Jersey Test
of Reasoning Skills.
These results represent gains equivalent to more
than three times (or 300%) of improvement for students having received
the philosophy for children program.
Alternatively, by consulting Table 1B we find that
students participating in the philosophy enriched language arts
program have achieved a highly significant improvement of an average
of 18.35 as compared with an average improvement of 8.55 in higher
order thinking skills. The Figures 1 and 2 graphically represent
Primary Level: Gains in Higher Order Thinking
Table 2B shows that students participating in the Philosophy for Children
activities achieved a significantly higher improvement of an average
gain of 9.00 as compared with 5.00 for the control group on the Canadian
Cognitive Abilities Test (The NJTRS cannot be used below the grade
four level). Figures 4 and 5 graphically display these improvements
with reference to other subjects measured. The abbreviation TCK stands
for Thinking / Cognitive Skills.
Let us note that the philosophy for children implementation at the
early primary grades provides a foundation for the development of
skills at the junior level by focusing mostly on listening and concept
development through dialogical inquiry skills.
Question 2: At what statistically significant levels have the improvements
in higher order cross-curricular competency thinking skills been
Junior Level: Significant Gains in Higher Order
Table 1 B and 3A reveal that the gains in reasoning
or higher order cross curricular competency thinking skills on the
NJTRS measures were registered at the highly significant level of
.0020, that is, that there are two chances in one thousand that
the gains occurred by accident
These results seem all the more significant in the
light of the fact that the pre-test difference between the experimental
and control groups is not statistically significant (0.1315) Whereas
both the pre-test and the post-pre-test difference is highly significant.
Table 3A presents all the pre-post and post-pre
�tests differences in average scores on the Mann-Whitney U-Wilcoxon
Rank Sum W. Test.
Primary Level: Significant Gains in Higher Order
Table 4A reveals that the difference in the post-test
scores between the experimental and control groups is significant
at the level of .0452 whereas the pre-test difference between the
two groups is not statistically significant at 0.1961. The difference
between the post-pre test scores does not seem to be significant
These comparative results in the significance levels
of the difference at the pre and post tests, in terms of achievement,
point clearly to the fact that the philosophy for children intervention
has had a significant impact (especially at the junior level) in
improving higher order thinking skills.
Question 3. What has been the impact of the philosophy program on
overall academic achievement? Has any transfer occurred?
Junior Level: Evidence of Skill Transfer in 100%
of the objectives
Tables 1A and 1B (and Figures 1,2 3) reveal impressive
gains registered by the experimental philosophy group as compared
to the control group in 100% of the educational objectives measured
by the CTBS battery of tests.
Figure 3 shows the impact of the program on the
improvement of the basic skills of reading (16.34 vs. 8.95 or 50%
of increase) and mathematical computation (56%).
Significant gains also occur across other academic
skills measures such Vocabulary, Reading , Spelling, Usage, Mathematical
Here is a summary of the percents of increase
on basic curriculum skills of the experimental group as they
may be extracted from Table 1A:
- Vocabulary increases:
- Reading increases 50%
- Spelling increases 25%
- Capitalisation increases
- Punctuation increases
- Usage increases 73%
- Visual Materials increases
- Reference materials increases
- Mathematical Concepts
- Mathematical Problem Solving
- increases 40%
- Mathematical Computation increases 56%
The results are particularly encouraging in revealing
that the participants in the philosophy program have not only improved
in a single educational objective such as thinking skills.
They they have registered gains in all the educational
objectives thereby lending credence to the philosophy for children
program's power in activating transfer and integration in learning
experiences at a generalised scale.
Primary level evidence of skills transfer
Table 2B shows gains also in 100% of the learning
objectives with evidence of transfer and generalisability being
suggested. The gains in basic skill achievement are consistent with
the gains in thinking skills as shown in Figure 5.
It is noteworthy that this evidence of transfer
is in continuity with previous results from experimental research
conducted by Educational Testing Service in the US where highly
significant gains (.0001) were registered in reading (83%) and mathematics
(61%) by students having followed the Philosophy for Children Program
developed by Matthew Lipman. The ETS study was conducted by Dr.
Virginia Shipman (see Lipman, Philosophy in the Classroom (1980),
Other research studies with five thousand students
aged 10-12 years old have reported 80% improvement in reasoning.9
More recently in Quebec a number of short studies
reported in 1989-90 show improvements in self esteem, creativity
and autonomy (Anita Caron) linguistic and thinking performance in
establishing logical relations (Louise Courtemanche), induction
and syllogistic deduction (M. Schleifer) having been reported by
Laurendeau (1996: 133-159).
An attempt to apply the concept of the community
of inquiry in mathematics has been undertaken by Louise Lafortune,
Marie France as members of a research team from CIRADE at the University
of Quebec in Montreal (Lafortune, Daniel et als, 1996).
Findings from qualitative sources of assessment
During the monitoring of the project and curriculum
development, for use in kindergarten through sixth grade, over 300
strategies and activities have been evaluated. In this regard, the
implementation of the philosophy program has been qualitatively
measured at three stages.
Stage 1. At the beginning of the research project
One month into the implementation of the project
an external consultant and co-ordinator of learning activities from
another large School Board in Ontario interviewed teachers implementing
the philosophy program about changes in attitudes experienced as
It was found that teachers were now focusing more
on concepts and ideas as opposed to facts. Teaching the program
also significantly improved their questioning along the higher order
thinking strategies by drawing out students.
Stage 2: Observations midway the project implementation
An internal curriculum consultant from the ORCSSB
who had previously worked with the teachers undertook an assessment
midway through the project. The focus of this consultant's observations
was changes in teachers' thinking and attitudes towards teaching
as result of having been exposed to the program.
The internal consultant reported that all the teachers
had gained dexterity and versatility in reasoning skills and that
in this area the program produced the desired results. The teachers
exhibited enthusiasm and enjoyed thinking with the students.
Stage 3 Observations at completion of the project implementation
A third level of qualitative assessment of the program
was undertaken at the end of the research study, based on an examination
of student's work and portfolios.
Teachers' comments revealed that students showed thoughtfulness
that extended beyond the classroom setting, whether in the hallway
or playground. Junior level students had achieved a level of inferential
skill rarely displayed by senior level students.
Videotaped interviews conducted during the last
day of class showed that 100% of the students expressed enjoyment
with both the novel reading and the follow up exercises.
Students, reported that, overall, the program reduced
impulsive behaviour and stimulated self-awareness, to think through
things. A student in grade 5 said that he liked the program because
it « made him smart! ».
Another interesting reaction from students was the
positive impact the philosophy program had on interpersonal relations
and in generating constructive conversations with peers and parents
All the students confirmed that the program increased
their self-esteem, insight, and problem solving skills and better
communication with others.
H Summary recommendations and questions for future challenges
Based on data findings, this researcher proposed
the following recommendations to educators particularly concerned
about « at-risk » student population, who
are lowest in higher order thinking skills, good judgement, academic
achievement and self-esteem.
- First, that cognitive
based activities through the philosophy for children program be
cultivated early, comprehensively and sequentially through the
system using the model developed at the experimental school site
proven to help strengthening cross-curricular competencies and
reducing declining self-esteem since the intellect and the emotions
are inextricably intertwined (Borba, 2001).
- Second, since infusing thinking skills
through the philosophy for children is teacher sensitive the teacher
being expected to facilitate the building of community of inquiries
in the classroom, this researcher recommended the extending of
professional development across the school board with exemplary
demonstration classrooms being set up for observation of the program
- The cultivation of
communities of inquiry is most suitable for enhancing reflective
intelligence or the good use of the mind by artful deployment
of faculties of thinking and for developing social/ moral intelligence
by learning empathy, respect, reciprocity, Cupertino through dialogue
about interaction with others.
- Third, it is recommended that skill based activities
for forty minute sessions two times a week (or thirty minutes
sessions three times a week) involving novel reading, discussion
and follow up exercises and co-operative games such as The Game
of Wisdom can be effective in developing critical stances, thinking
flexibly, learning from one another's perspectives and encouraging
ways students produce knowledge rather than reproduce it ( Costa
& Kallick, 2000).
Such philosophy enhanced activities do not take away from class
time but provide the foundational competencies for all learning
especially as they are curriculum based and subject level correlated.
- Fourth, since the principals of the schools
an important leadership role in the effectuation of educational
change it is recommended that principals be provided an opportunity
to apply the philosophy approach within their own school settings
by ensuring minimally at the beginning that at least one teacher
per school be designated for the training session, who would then
be assigned to the teaching of the program for an extended time
This approach has produced a positive impact on
the attitude of teachers and appropriate climate for carrying through
the implementation across the school system (Ghanotakis,
Certainly there remain gaps to be filled in our
understanding of the long-term effects of the application of philosophy
not only in the area of cognitive modifiability but also with respect
to all types of intelligence predictive of success in later life.
We refer here to the analytical, creative and practical types of
intellegences (Sternberg, 1996) and the multiple forms of intelligence:
verbal, logical/mathematical, kinaesthetic, musical, spatial, naturalistic,
interpersonal or interpersonal ( Gardner , 1999) and to habits that
help student to continue to grow in these domains.
Lastly, in the face of today youth's moral crisis
(Borba, 2001) 11 and increases in the at-risk student population
researchers may be well advised to explore whether the cultivation
of communities of inquiry should not be undertaken with a view to
« creating communities of virtue » (Ryan
& Bohlin, 1998) as an effective and realistic way to enhance
students' success in and out of school.
It would be important, in this regard, to follow
subjects in a longitudinal study to assess if the gained habits
of mind, dispositions of good thinking and doing good, are maintained
for leading a meaningful life with others. For as Horace Mann, once
observed, « Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it
each day, and at last we cannot break it ». 12
Pour plus d'information, veuillez nous contacter
au (514) 745-6996 / (514) 890-114 ou M. Ghanotakis au firstname.lastname@example.org.