Philosophy for Adolescents (Nippold & Marr, 2022)
Purpose: In this clinical focus article, we discuss the nature of critical thinking, its importance for adolescents, and its interaction with later language development. We also introduce a language arts program, Philosophy for Adolescents. The program aims to support critical thinking, narrative and expository discourse, and the use of complex syntax and literate vocabulary.
Method: In designing Philosophy for Adolescents, we examined research from education, psychology, philosophy, and speech-language pathology in the areas of critical thinking and narrative discourse. The resulting program encourages students to think independently, listen to others, offer reasons and evidence to support their views, and express themselves with accuracy, clarity, and efficiency. Implementation is illustrated with a case study of a 12-year-old girl.
Results: Although critical thinking improves during adolescence, many students struggle in this area, particularly in the ability to offer reasons and evidence to support their views. This suggests that these adolescents could benefit from instruction in critical thinking. Research also indicates that competence in critical thinking is associated with narrative and expository discourse, and with the use of complex syntax and literate words such as metacognitive verbs. Instruction using Philosophy for Adolescents may be carried out in small groups or individually by a speech-language pathologist working collaboratively with a teacher, teaching assistant, or other professional. Designed for flexible application, the program may be used with adolescents who have language disorders and those who have typical language development.
Conclusion: Research is necessary to evaluate the program with students from diverse backgrounds, having differing levels of language competence and academic achievement.
Supplemental Material S1. Philosophy for Adolescents: An overview.
Nippold, M. A., & Marr, E. (2022). Philosophy for Adolescents: Using fables to support critical thinking and advanced language skills. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2022_LSHSS-21-00142