A research project through Dundee University (Prof. Topping and Dr Trickey) looked at a large educational project where philosophical enquiry was introduced to approximately 30 schools with normal class sizes of c.30. Teachers received the equivalent of 2 days training and access to some small level of support. The shorter evaluation in the link below, shows that having one hour of P4C per week leads to:
1. Sustainable gains in cognitive ability
2. Developments in critical reasoning skills and dialogue in the classroom
3. Emotional and Social Developments
A brief evaluation of the Scottish research
The original research project began in 2001 and by 2003 (having had 1 hour of philosophical enquiry per week for two years), the blue line shows the cognitive gains. Most importantly, from 2003 to 2005 after the children had transferred to three different secondary schools NO LOSS WAS EVIDENT ON RE-TESTING. The gains were SUSTAINABLE. (Later, we worked to introduce the work to secondary schools in the area.)
A research project at Sam Houston University in Texas, USA, also using Paul Cleghorn's 'Thinking Through Philosophy' material had similar positive results.
The research team are hoping to return to the experimental group and test for sustainability - as the Scottish researchers did in their study.