TRY THIS TOMORROW: PHILOQUESTS Adventures in our minds
“Philoquests: Adventures in our minds“ is the creation of the Institute of Philosophy, Citizenship and Youth (L’Université de Montréal). This amazingly unique website has over 100 reflections for teenagers about creativity, solitude, help, worry, hope, change, and resilience. Created at the beginning of the pandemic, it was developed for teens to use at home while in lockdown. I can, however, envision lots of ways for them to be used in the classroom.
Here is an introduction to the website:
Here is one example of a reflection for the topic of change: Philosophical Picnic (you could replace “family” with “classmates”.)
A change for the better?
|Objective: To feed your philosophical reflections on change with your family’s help during lunch!
Duration: 30 to 75 minutes
- Sheets of paper and pen
- Coloured pencils and markers
- Your family
It’s time to eat! Gather your family around the table for an appetizing dialogue about change. Explore the following questions, finding inspiration in the thinking prompts as necessary. Together, think of reasons to explain your positions and try to build an answer by combining your ideas! But don’t worry if the urge to keep talking doesn’t subside… philosophical picnics are an insatiable quest!
- Question 1: Does everything change?
- Thinking prompts: The French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr famously wrote, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” But how can that be? Aren’t change and sameness in conflict? With your family, try to figure out whether you think that everything changes or not. Since change is such a big concept, it may be helpful to work in categories: living things, objects, ideas, etc. What brings about change in each of these categories? Alternatively, what causes them to stay the same? Wonder together if you think change is important. Are there several types of change or different reasons to change? When we talk about changing our socks, is it the same as talking about changing our minds? Have a look at the definition you came up with in your first Idea Stretching mission, and see how it compares to what you are discussing with your family. Does the concept’s meaning change (oh my!) depending on the context? Why or why not?
- Question 2: Is change hard?
- Thinking prompts: As humans, we seem to be faced with changes constantly—even when it’s not what we want! Whether it’s as simple as changing out of pyjamas on a cold day or as major as changing schools, the experience of changing can be tough. But why? To inspire your thinking, you can read the comic below. Together, brainstorm why you think people might resist or fear change. Are they uncomfortable or insecure perhaps? How might they react negatively to change? Then, consider the opposite viewpoint: Can change be easy, even peaceful? Share some examples from your own lives when change felt hard and when it felt easy, and try to determine some criteria to understand the different experiences. What changes are necessary to a good life… and might there be changes that no one should ever have to experience? How might humans deal with change better?
- Question 3: Can anyone change the world?
- Thinking prompts: Have you ever heard the word “changemaker?” It’s a term used to describe people who want to make the world better so they actively create change for the greater good. But can anybody really have that power? Can one person make a difference? As a family, exchange ideas about what it might mean to be a changemaker… and if you have what it takes. Should everyone do their part to improve the world? Hmm… maybe it depends on how each person defines improvement! Perhaps if everyone tried to change things, it would cause more mess than progress. Could there be a dark side to wanting to change the world? Together, think of some of the good and bad consequences. Finally, try to finish the sentence: If change didn’t exist, then _________.
I’m sure you can envision ways of using these questions to spark discussion. They would also make great quickwrite prompts!
You can check out Philoquests: Adventures in your mind here.