Doing Philosophy to Change the World
Basing herself on the model offered by action research, Marie-Claude Pelchat, a philosophy teacher at Cégep Beauce-Appalaches, encourages her students to change the world. This exhortation takes on its full meaning in the context of current environmental challenges: “I prefer to be a part of the solution rather than the problem,” she says. She presented students in the complementary course “Ethical Issues and Climate Change” with the task of solving an environmental problem found in their own settings. While students appreciated this activity, it was hard to carry out for lack of time. Pelchat accordingly adapted a problem-based-learning assignment sheet requiring students to work in teams to answer a philosophical question, which she had designed for a course called “Philosophy and Rationality”. The original took a comprehensive approach that students had appreciated; the version developed for the “Ethical Issues and Climate Change” followed suit. For this teacher, the problem-based approach represents a concrete and innovative solution to giving students an active role in their philosophical learning.
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