Journal of Philosophy in Schools
University of Birmingham
School of Arts and Humanities
This paper reports on collaborative research undertaken with the African Australian Christian Impact Centre (CIC) in Perth, Western Australia. It is part of a larger university philosophy outreach program in which the researchers seek to create opportunities for those on the educational and social margins, and young people, to engage in ‘doing philosophy’, and to learn from them about their experiences. We were interested to evaluate whether the collaborative philosophical inquiry methods we use in our university teaching could be beneficial outside of a formal educational setting, for members of the culturally diverse, faith-based community of CIC. In this multi-method evaluative study, we examined the extent to which participation in a series of Community of Inquiry (CoI) sessions improved or did not improve participants’ self-assessment of: (1) their competence and confidence in communicating with others in different contexts; (2) their competence and confidence as a ‘thinker’; and (3) their social competence and confidence. Our findings on ‘communication’ are discussed in this paper. The facilitated philosophical discussions led to insights about ‘speaking out’ and ‘listening’, particularly with respect to participants’ experiences of cultural and generational differences. We suggest that participation in CoI in a faith-based community setting has the potential to significantly increase confidence in communication skills, and lead to greater intergenerational, intercultural, and intercommunity sensitivity.
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