Article metrics

  • citations in SCindeks: 0
  • citations in CrossRef:[1]
  • citations in Google Scholar:[=>]
  • visits in previous 30 days:22
  • full-text downloads in 30 days:12
article: 2 from 7  
Back back to result list
Psihološka istraživanja
2014, vol. 17, iss. 2, pp. 191-206
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
published on: 15/07/2016
doi: 10.5937/PsIstra1402191P
'Philosophy for children' as creating the zone of proximal development
aUniversity of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Psychology



In this paper, we analyze the conception, objectives and methodology of the 'Philosophy for Children', a programme aimed at fostering critical thinking in children aged five to eighteen. The analysis is based on the key concepts and principles of Vygotsky's developmental theory. We believe that discussing the manner in which these concepts and principles are embodied in one successful and influential thinking skills programme could enhance the concept of the zone of proximal development, as well as our understanding of the processes through which cognitive competencies are co-constructed. The practical relevance of the analysis refers to a controversial issue of whether higher-order cognitive skills can be fostered at a young age. The analysis reveals that Lipman has creatively applied Vygotsky's idea of the formative role of spontaneous and scientific concepts interaction, thus focusing on the metacognitive development. Consequently, the methodological procedures are language-based, using the narrative, dialogical and rational forms of discourse as mediation tools for developing the skills of logical reasoning and critical thinking. Philosophical novels, as an innovative educational genre, exemplify Lipman's contribution to enriching the concept of direct cultural interaction, which has generally been less studied within the socio-cultural approach. The analysis of gradual transformation of group discussion, from monological and mostly anegdotical, through genuine dialogical exchanges, to mastering the procedures and skills of critical dialogue, is one of the most plausible accounts of Vygotsky's genetic law. The specific role of the teacher, who indirectly guides the discussion through the use of Socratic questioning, expands the concept of finely tuned support and the strategies for creating the zone of proximal development in educational context.



Branković-Sutton, R., Gošović, R., Gošović, V. (2007) Filozofija s decom. Beograd: Kreativni centar
Daniel, M., Auriac, E. (2011) Philosophy, Critical Thinking and Philosophy for Children. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(5): 415-435
de Marzio, D.M. (2011) What Happens in Philosophical Texts: Matthew Lipman's Theory and Practice of the Philosophical Text as Model. Childhood & Philosophy, 7(13); 29-46
del Rio, P., Alvarez, A. (1995) Tossing, praying, and reasoning: The changing architectures of mind and agency. in: Wertsch J.V., del Rio P., Alvarez A. [ed.] Sociocultural studies of mind, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 215-246
Fisher, R. (2013) Teaching thinking: Philosophical enquiry in the classroom. London: Bloomsbury
Glaser, R. (1984) Education and thinking: The role of knowledge. American Psychologist, 39(2): 93
Gregory, M. (2011) Philosophy for Children and its Critics: A Mendham Dialogue. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(2): 199-219
Ivić, I. (1994) Lev S. Vygotsky. Prospects, 24(3-4): 761-785
King, P.M., Strohm, K.K. (1994) Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Kovač-Cerović, T. (1988) Kako znati bolje - razvoj metakognicije u svakodnevnom odnosu majke i deteta. Beograd: Institut za psihologiju
Lipman, M. (1973) Philosophy for children. Preuzeto sa
Lipman, M. (2009) Philosophy for children: Some assumptions and implications. in: Marsal E., Dobashi T., Weber B. [ed.] Children Philosophize Worldwide: Theoretical and Practical Concepts, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 23-46
Lipman, M., Sharp, A.M., Oscanyan, F.S. (1977/1980) Philosophy in the Classroom. Philadelphia: Temple University Press
Lipman, M., Thinking, I.for C. (1991) Rediscovering the Vygotsky Trail. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines, 7(2): 14-16
Lyle, S. (2000) Narrative understanding: Developing a theoretical context for understanding how children make meaning in classroom settings. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32(1): 45-63
McPeck, J.E. (1981) Critical thinking and education. New York: St. Martin's Press
Millett, S., Tapper, A. (2012) Benefits of Collaborative Philosophical Inquiry in Schools. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(5): 546-567
Moll, L.C. (1990) Introduction. in: Mol L.C. [ed.] Vygotsky and education: Instructional implications and applications of sociohistorical psycshology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Murris, K. (2000) Can Children Do Philosophy?. Journal of the Philosophy of Education, 34(2): 261-279
Paul, R. (1993) Critical thinking: What every person needs to survive in a rapidly changing world. Santa Rosa, CA: Foundation Critical Thinking
Pešić, J. (2007) Logički i epistemološki pristup kritičkom mišljenju. Psihologija, vol. 40, br. 2, str. 173-190
Pešić, J. (2008) Kritičko mišljenje - od logike do emancipatorne racionalnosti. Beograd: Institut za psihologiju
Pešić, J. (2011) Sličnosti i razlike u konceptualizovanju kritičkog mišljenja. Psihološka istraživanja, vol. 14, br. 1, str. 5-23
Pešić, J.M. (2005) Sociocultural approach to textbook. Psihologija, vol. 38, br. 4, str. 369-381
Plut, D. (2003) Udžbenik kao kulturno-potporni sistem. Beograd: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva
Pritchard, M. (2014) Philosophy for Children. in: Zalta E.N. [ed.] The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
Smolka, A.L., de Goes, M.C., Pino, A. (1995) The constitution of the subject: A persistent question. in: Wertsch J.V., del Rio P., Alvarez A. [ed.] Sociocultural studies of mind, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 165-184
Vansieleghem, N., Kennedy, D. (2011) What is Philosophy for Children, What is Philosophy with Children-After Matthew Lipman?. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(2): 171-182
Vigotski, L. (1983) Mišljenje i govor. Beograd: Nolit
Vigotski, L.S. (1996) Problemi razvoja psihe. Beograd: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva
Wertsch, J.V. (1991) Voices of mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press