community of inquiry
Curriculum and Social Inquiry
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AbstractIn 2008, the Curriculum Council of Western Australia launched a formal curriculum of philosophy and ethics education for upper secondary students. This thesis is a writing project that provides a new teaching text in support of this course. The thesis is composed of two components, a creative project and an essay. The creative project is a work of non-fiction entitled, Philosophy for Teenagers: Finding New Relevance in Old Concepts, and has been researched and designed employing the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) Philosophy and Ethics course model. Philosophy for Teenagers aims to provide an innovative introduction to concepts such as the philosophical community of inquiry, formal reasoning and critical thinking, epistemology, free-will and determinism, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, society and culture, and conceptions of death. The introductory concepts addressed in the textbook are explored in philosophy classrooms within Australia and abroad, making it suitable for any high school student of philosophy, regardless of their geography. The essay provides some historical background on secondary philosophy education in Western Australia and presents the insights and ideas of five philosophy educators who were involved in the conception, development and launch of the WACE Philosophy and Ethics course. The experiences, opinions and ideals of these people have, in turn, informed the development of the textbook, and their contributions have helped to shape the text. The essay also provides the rationale and research methodology upon which the textbook has been constructed. It includes a discussion of current and classic adolescent literature, the role of science fiction, primary and contemporary philosophy texts, humanities textbooks, and educational resources recommended for the WACE Philosophy and Ethics course. The essay also includes a report on the results of two focus group studies held with Year Eleven students. This action research was implemented for the purpose of collecting direct feedback from Philosophy and Ethics classes.