By Joanna Haynes, Karin Murris
Murris, K. (1992) Teaching Philosophy with Picture Books. London, Infonet Publications.
Murris, K. & J. Haynes (2000) Storywise: Thinking Through Stories; Issue1. Newport,
Murris, K. & J. Haynes (2002) Storywise: Thinking Through Stories; Issue2. Newport,
Murris, K. (2009) Thinking Moves. Booklet published on www.p4c.com
Murris, K. & J. Haynes (2010) Storywise: Thinking Through Stories; International edition (E-book).
Storywise is a fascinating resource that harnesses the power of familiar stories to open up a space for children’s thinking and enquiry. This publication consists of comprehensive guidance for teachers on facilitation of philosophical enquiry; a range of worked examples of stories; and a web of intriguing ideas that can inform teachers’ preparation for their dialogues with children.
Age Range: 3 and upwards.
Authors: Karin Murris (University of Cape Town) is a Dutch practical philosopher who has worked with children of all age groups for two decades. She is also an expert in children’s literature and her work has often been featured in the international media.
Joanna Haynes (University of Plymouth) is an experienced teacher and teacher-educator with interests in language, oracy, literacy and participatory approaches to teaching. Joanna has been involving school children in philosophical enquiry and leading in-service courses for teachers for the last 16 years.
Review of Storywise, by Dr Sara Liptai
If you buy this book, you will find a stand-alone guide that will give you a complete introduction, with countless examples and helpful hints, into using picture books with young children to generate philosophical discussions. If you are in any way concerned with the education of young children, but the idea of them doing philosophy sounds like a tall tale, I would urge you to buy the book. It will convince you.
But, in fact, you are buying rather more than the one book advertised. This is because within SW at least three books coexist.
One section is a guide to using picture books with young children in the context of the teaching of English, with many connections to other curriculum subject areas. Another section is a guide to creating an environment for, and with, young children for the purpose of profound philosophical discussions about the big issues, like the body and the mind, love and loss, life and death. Yet another section is a detailed guide to developing young children's thinking, listening and speaking skills through discussion and a large range of games and exercises.
The common thread between all aspects of the book is philosophical enquiry, which is facilitated group discussion in the supportive but intellectually challenging environment of the community of enquiry.
The book's cohesive force comes from the authors' evident commitment to, and delight in, the process and outcomes of such enquiries. Their obviously extensive experience not only gives the book an exceptional richness, it also enables them to show you many different ways of going about the same thing without being prescriptive.
You are introduced to the fascinating world of children's philosophising about questions of interest to them. You are given a great deal of guidance to prepare you for the unpredictable outcomes of philosophical enquiry with children, and then you are invited to throw away the crutches of the guidance, and start enjoying and building on the outcomes of the children's discussions.
If you are a teacher or a parent, keen to aid your children's intellectual and social development, you will find that you cannot wait to try out the ideas and activities on whatever children you can get your hands on.