ARCHIVE6-12 May 2007: Creatio Ex Legendo [PDF]
The Creatio Ex Legendo European Festival of Philosophical Culture constitutes a part of the LEGO-LOGOS Project of Philosophical Education, a social, non-commercial undertaking. The Festival is to be organised periodically, in different European capitals - also in London. At the present moment, over thirty international institutions from twenty countries, as well as a great number of Warsaw schools, have expressed their interest in participation in the Project and the Festival. The Organisers estimate that approximately 120.000 pupils will participate in the Festival, several hunderds of whom from Europe.
The project adapts the natural play environment of a child (here, play with blocks) to teach philosophy and the use of philosophical thought sensu stricto. As a starting point, classical philosophical texts are read and later transformed by the participants into constructions made with blocks. A detailed analysis of the constructions and their comparison with the texts leads the students to a deeper understanding of the texts discussed thorough an independent and creative visualisation of their philosophical and artistic interpretation. Amongst the authors read during the classes are works of ancient philosophers – Plato, Aristotle, Cicerone, Marcus Aurelius – and later texts, by Leonardo Da Vinci and Descartes.
The main objective of the Festival and the Project itself is to help cultivate the culture of philosophy and antiquity in Poland and in Europe and reinforcing education processes in Polish schools, through developing the skills of reading with understanding and thinking both creatively and artistically. Our priority is also to act against illiteracy and violence in schools and to provide equal opportunities for children and adolescents originating from the so-called disadvantaged environments and small towns and villages.
An important objective of the Festival is also to allow for children and young people of different nationalities and cultures to meet and to find inspiration to act together through studying classical philosophy. Most importantly, however, this is the opportunity to create a new, vivid philosophy, which would constitute a vital reinforcement in young peoples' lives.
March 16 -19, Warsaw, European Educational Experience for Ukraine
Previous Polish and German cooperation in the field of European education has enabled numerous student exchanges, development of interesting methodical materials and better recognition of both nations. Polish educational system gained opportunity to use German practice. Those experiences may be now transferred into Ukrainian ground. Ukrainian teachers are willing to cooperate and are ready for the introduction of changes. They have growing experience in providing European education, however they need support, they also search for new working methods. It is necessary to provide them with pedagogical materials and methodology of European related courses.
During the conference teachers from Germany Poland and Ukraine will present their experiences, achievements and needs in the field of European education. With help from professionals they will develop blueprints of training, lesson plans and quizzes. Summit aims to refute stereotypes, establish communication between schools from Germany Ukraine and Poland, and to develop concepts based on common experiences of three countries.
PROFESSOR TERRY MCLAUGHLIN, R.I.P.
The world of Philosophy of Education lost an esteemed and well-known colleague with the untimely death of Professor Terence McLaughlin at the age of 57 years on 31st March, 2006. For 25 years Terence - known to all as Terry - was a Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, and since the early eighties he was a lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, in the Department of Education of Cambridge University. In 2003 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of London Institute of Education. He was also a member of the editorial team of the Journal of Philosophy of Education, serving as Assistant Editor since 1998.
Terry's scholarly interests were concerned mainly with liberal learning. In a special way he sought to illuminate how religious influences in upbringing and education might enhance rather than restrict liberal learning. He published many incisive papers on various aspects of this theme, particularly on Catholic education. In these writings, he argued thoughtfully and convincingly that religion in education should be viewed not only as a personal enrichment of the learner, but also as a genuine form of liberal education that nurtured in the learner an enduring concern and compassion for fellow humans.
One of Terry's best-known works was the collection of essays he edited with Joseph O'Keefe and Bernadette O'Keeffe, The Contemporary Catholic School: Context, Identity and Diversity (1996). On the strength of his own contribution to this "The Distinctiveness of Catholic Education", and other writings in similar vein, he received invitations to address conferences on Catholic education in all parts of the world. It was his hope that the professorship in London would give him scope and opportunity to write a major philosophical work on Catholic Education. This would have opened up many new debates with colleagues not only in the Anglophone world, but also with colleagues of diverse philosophical orientations in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a tragedy that this hope was dashed before it could get properly off the ground.
Terry contributed hugely to associations like the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, of which he was the previous Chairman, and the International Network of Philosophers of Education, of which he was Convenor at the time of his death. His tireless work for these associations went well beyond formal things like attending meetings and organising conferences. Equally important, he was frequently the life and soul of such conferences, ever with a warm welcome for new members, and ever eager to get a night's singing under way when darkness fell on a day's argumentation. Very many long-term scholarly friendships that began at such conferences owe much to Terry's unobtrusive efforts in bringing together both like minds and unlike minds.
Terry's keen philosophical insights, his boundless energy, his gentle wit and unfailing good humour were an admirable combination of qualities. It was a privilege to know him as a philosopher and as a friend. Still, the best was yet to come. And yet, the best was not to be.