Philosophy Ireland is a consortium of academics, schoolteachers and community stakeholders concerned with the introduction of Philosophy into Irish schools and society. Founded in August 2015, our primary ambition is to raise awareness about the educational significance of Philosophy, both as a history of ideas and as a method of inquiry.
Bringing together teachers of philosophy across primary, secondary and third-level education, we open also to teachers of philosophy in non-standard settings (i.e. to teachers of philosophy in prisons, youth centres and the wider community). In developing this link between education and society, our objective is to build a network of practitioners to support and mentor each other in the teaching and promotion of philosophy in Ireland. For interested learners and educators we aim to provide a range of resources and pedagogical materials.
Philosophy as a distinct discipline has never officially been part of the Irish curriculum. Nevertheless, there is a significant history of the subject being taught in Ireland both at primary and secondary school level. On an optional and modular basis, for example, Philosophy has been introduced through the Educate Together (primary) and the Transition Year (secondary) curriculum. With the express intention of discovering and disseminating best practice, we aim to recognise this work and to build on the fantastic initiatives already spearheaded by teachers of philosophy in Ireland.
We are open to all philosophical styles and schools, considering ourselves neither analytic nor continental in orientation. In this respect we are intellectually distinct from the Irish Philosophical Club and the Irish Philosophical Society. Philosophy Ireland is not affiliated with any particular Irish Higher Education Institution. In spirit and in practice we aim to be cross-institutional, cross-community and organisationally democratic.
Philosophy in Schools
With the introduction of Philosophy as an official short course on the newly reformed Junior Cycle, one of the central objectives and priorities of Philosophy Ireland is to provide training and support for new teachers of philosophy in the Irish secondary school. At present there is a real need for this targeted support – for the continuous professional development of teachers tasked with the delivery and development of the new philosophy curriculum from September 2017.
In achieving this particular objective we are working closely with a number of DES bodies, among them the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Junior Cycle for Teachers and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.