YOUNG SOCRATES PROGRAM (YSP)
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YSP: The Young Socratic Program (YSP) introduces critical thinking to Arizona elementary and high school students through philosophical debate. This system is called the Socratic Method.
The Socratic Method named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates focuses on asking the right questions rather—than guiding students to preconceived notions or bias conclusions. For instance, possessing beliefs through faulty logic fosters real-life consequences in our thinking and how we relate to the world:
Fallacies in Every Day Language: "Lisa creates drama at the office. Lisa is a woman. Therefore, all women are drama."
"The majority of criminals in the city are poor. Most poor people receive state assistance. Most of the state assistance goes to criminals."
Both syllogisms are false. However, media perpetuates false claims like this every day. The first example can lead to misogynistic behavior—while the other can foster discriminatory claims towards economically marginalized groups.
Philosophy Makes Better Students: A UK study in 2015 demonstrated that 9 to 10-year-old students achieved significantly higher test scores than their peers who did not take philosophy courses. The study involved 3000 students in 48 primary schools in England. The reading skills of the students improved by three months. Student math skills improved by four months.
Peer-Reviewed Research: Professor Matthew Lipman from New Jersey, founded the Philosophy for Children (P4C)program in 1970. In the Montclair District of New Jersey, students who participated in the program twice per week for nine weeks disclosed significant increases in reading and logic. California Test of Mental Maturity (CTMM) reported differences in reading scores from the students that were 2.5 years advanced! The CTMM is still used today for assessments of Mensa Society applicants.
Philosophy and The Younger Generation: Political propaganda, religious fundamentalism, and social bigotries are prevalent because society does not know how to think. Our students deserve more than being told what to think. As educators, parents, and caretakers, teaching our youth HOW to think is imperative for their social development.
Think—it's not illegal yet!