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Kids Taught Philosophy Become “smarter” in Math and English

By Victor Trammell

Schools both private and public all over the globe have the obligation to meet or beat performance standards in the academic areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM skills).

As the future global economy grows more and more dependent on STEM skill proficiency, the need to educate children better in these areas is getting increasingly more important. According to a study conducted in England, which surveyed nine and 10 year-olds, teaching philosophy is a good way to groom children toward better STEM skill proficiency.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EFF) undertook this study and over 3,000 school children across England were surveyed. Weekly focus groups were organized, which talked about truth, justice, friendship, and knowledge. The children were given the opportunity to collaborate each other’s ideas and reflect on what they learned.

“They had been given new ways of thinking and expressing themselves,”said Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF in an exclusive interview with Quartz News. “They had been thinking with more logic and more connected ideas,” Collins continued.

Collins also expressed his hopes that school district superintendents across England would push for more funding for philosophy studies implementation in district budgets. “[Philosophy programs] push you toward teaching up, not down, to disadvantaged children,” Collins also told Quartz News. “It’s not a reductionist, narrow curriculum, but an expansionist broad curriculum,” he continued.

The EFF found out that currently 63% of British 15-year-olds with decent grades get favorable results on philosophy-based exams. However,  only 37% of the more academically disadvantaged youths currently receive favorable results. The EFF feels that utilizing evidence-based research and randomized controlled trials will lead to schools adopting more efficient testing policies to deal with the academic disparities.

This study model is a great act for U.S. school districts to adopt, which continue to produce less adept test scores for students in the STEM skill studies. This is is especially the case with students who live in underprivileged communities that rely on public education in urban school districts.

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