2014 Engaged Philosophical Inquiry With Children

Registration for 2014 is now closed.

What is engaged philosophical inquiry (EPI)?

Engaged philosophical inquiry is a way of facilitating a democratic and open-ended dialogue between children, youth and adults around bigger and smaller questions of life, knowledge, value, and meaning. Example questions of children are: Why does it take so long to make good friends, but so short to make enemies? What is pure happiness? Why am I human? Why was I born and what is my purpose in life? The dialogue allows children to explore nuances and layers of experience, and enhances the ability to communicate across differences.

Critical, creative, and collaborative thinking. Communication. Social Responsibility.

Why is EPI important?

This long established inquiry-based way of teaching may be used in all school subjects. It encourages students to read, listen, think critically, see things from multiple perspectives, and develop social responsibility. EPI stimulates critical, creative and collaborative thinking, communication skills and social-emotional competencies, and therefore aligns with the core competencies of the BC Ministry of Education’s new Curriculum and Assessment Framework.

What does this summer institute offer?

This seminar familiarizes participants with various theories and methods of facilitating engaged philosophical inquiry and how to apply those to different learning environments. We also discuss the philosophical and psychological theories behind those practices. Students are also given the opportunity to facilitate themselves. Through an individualized coaching every participant will find his/her own facilitation style that best fits his/her work-specific needs and unique abilities.

In summary, the course will provide:

  • experience participating in and facilitating EPI.
  • understanding of the contexts for using EPI.
  • familiarity with fundamental theories of philosophical inquiry.
Who can participate?

This 3-credit intensive program in EPI is essential for teachers (and teachers-to-be), and education students wishing to create a learning environment that supports democratic inquiry and collaborative thinking, as well as philosophy students who are keen to realize the deep and practical value of their discipline. Parents will learn to recognize the depth of their children’s questions and how to cultivate an engaged dialogue around values and meanings in their homes.

Learn about the International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children (IPCIC)

Dr. Barbara Weber

The University of British Columbia

Dr. Barbara Weber is an Associate Professor in Human Development, Learning and Culture in the Department of Educational Psychology & Counselling Psychology and Special Education. She is the co-director of the Vancouver Institute for Philosophy for Children together with Dr. Susan Gardner (Capilano University) and is presently coordinating the BC hub called the Engaged Philosophical Inquiry Consortium (EPIC) that meets bi-monthly at UBC and brings together scholars from local universities and colleges, school practitioners and graduate students.

Dr. Weber has a PhD in philosophy, psychology and education from the Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, Germany, and her Habilitation is in political philosophy. She was a full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Regensburg before she moved to Vancouver in 2012. Dr. Weber has been working in the field of philosophical inquiry for 12 years.

In 2004, Dr. Weber authored a complete curriculum and delivered a 168 hour certification program for elementary and high school teachers on EPI. This program was certified and nationally accredited by the German Ministry of Education. She has published over 40 articles with 26 on the subject of EPI, edited seven anthologies with four related to EPI, and she has authored four books with one dedicated to EPI entitled: Philosophizing with Children about Human Rights: Rationality and Empathy as Preconditions for a Democratic Dialogue Culture (Freiburg, Germany: Alber Publisher 2013).

Full Bio

Guest Speakers

Dr. Susan Gardner | Capilano University

Dr. Susan Gardner is a Philosophy Professor at Capilano University, the founder and co-director of The Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children, a co-director of the North American Association of the Community of Inquiry, a member of the editorial board of Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, and a member of PLATO’S steering committee on P4C scholarship.

Her critical thinking text Thinking Your Way to Freedom was published in 2009 by Temple University Press and a critical thinking app for kids, entitled Tinker Thinkers (based on that text), is due out in the summer of 2014. For a list of her extensive publications, see capilanou.ca/philosophy/Dr–Susan-Gardner.

Dr. Claudia Ruitenberg | The University of British Columbia

Claudia Ruitenberg is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Educational Studies. She is editor of the Philosophy of Education 2012 Yearbook (Philosophy of Education Society, 2012) and What Do Philosophers of Education Do? (And How Do They Do It?) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), and co-editor (with D. C. Phillips) of Education, Culture and Epistemological Diversity: Mapping a Disputed Terrain (Springer, 2012).

Her research interests include the ethics of hospitality in education, discursive performativity, agonistic political theory and political education, aesthetic education and theory, and epistemological diversity in educational research. She enjoys engaging people of all ages in philosophical conversations and encouraging them to ask critical questions, especially about the values that inform our practices and the concepts that guide how we talk about them.

Dr. Rob Wilson | University of Alberta

Rob Wilson is the Director of Philosophy for Children Alberta, and has been a professor of philosophy at the University of Alberta since 2000. He also coordinates the What Sorts Network, exploring issues that arise from the question: “What Sorts of People Should There Be?“.

He is also the principal investigator of the “Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada“, funded by Community-University Research Alliance program of SSHRC, working with sterilization survivors on eugenic history and its contemporary significance for human variation and disability. He joined Educational Policy Studies in July 2013, where he works primarily on engaged philosophical inquiry with children.

He is also the director of ‘Philosophy for Children’ at the University of Alberta and the founder of Eurekamp for children, which is based on the engaged philosophical inquiry pedagogy: p4c.ualberta.ca.

UBC Vancouver

July 8 & July 21-31, 2014

Neville Scarfe Building | Room 201 | Map
4:30–7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 8

Henry Angus Building | Room 354 | Map
10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Monday, July 21–Friday, July 25
Monday, July 28–Thursday, July 31

Registration & Fees

There are several pathways for participation in this program. The fees for the program will depend on your registration type.

Non-Credit Registration & Fees

Full payment is required with your online registration in order to reserve your space. We accept payment by credit card or debit card.

Refund Policy for Non-Credit Applications: If you would like to withdraw from a course, please submit written notice by June 3 to be eligible for a refund (less a $60 administration fee). No refund will be made for cancellations received later than this date, unless a course is cancelled by UBC Faculty of Education.

FAQs: Review the FAQs for Non-Credit Course Registration.

UBC Student Registration

To register in the course for credit, students must be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education (Vancouver campus); please see "Admission to UBC" below. Once admitted, students may register in either of the options listed below.

Current UBC students can register for Graduate or Undergraduate credit courses through the Student Service Centre, using their Campus Wide Login.

  • Graduate Course (3.0 credits)
    EPSE 565P 96A | Special Course in Subject Matter Field: Engaged Philosophical Inquiry
    Register through the Student Service Centre (SSC). Registration opens March 3.
    Graduate student fees apply; see details below.
  • Undergraduate Course (3.0 credits)
    EDUC 490B 96A | Special Studies in Education: Engaged Philosophical Inquiry
    Register through the Student Service Centre (SSC). See Summer Session registration dates.
    Undergraduate student fees apply; see details below.

For current UBC tuition, visit UBC Tuition Fees for the Education per credit tuition fees.

UBC Students

For current tuition information please refer to the UBC Calendar.

Visiting Graduate Students

Visiting graduate students who wish to take credit courses must register for those courses and will be assessed tuition fees at the prevailing graduate per credit rate, plus authorized student fees.

Tuition fees are subject to review by The University of British Columbia. The Western Deans Agreement does not apply to this course.

Tuition Fee Certificates

Current UBC students may use Tuition Fee Certificates toward tuition or non-credit fees. The certificates do not cover the cost of course materials, texts, or other fees. Contact Professional Development & Community Engagement for more information: 604.822.2013 | pdce.educ@ubc.ca

Student Assessed Fees

Certain additional fees apply to students who take courses on campus.

In the case of the U-Pass and AMS Extended Health and Dental Plan, students who meet certain requirements may opt out of paying the fees during the first two weeks of the term.

To see whether you qualify for the U-Pass fee exemption, read the U-Pass FAQ information.

If you think you qualify for an exemption, using your CWL ID and password logon to the student service centre and click on the Financial Summary tab to navigate to the U-Pass fee exemption page.

Students registered in on-campus courses in the Summer Session are not assessed Health/Dental Plan fees.

You can also find out whether the AMS Extended Health and Dental Plan fee applies to you by visiting the Student Service Centre. If you already have medical/dental coverage (other than BC MSP), you may be able to apply for an exemption if you meet certain requirements and follow the necessary procedures.

Admission to UBC

To register in the course for credit, students must be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education (Vancouver campus).

Admission to UBC

Undergraduate Students

All non-UBC students wishing to register in the courses must be first be admitted to the UBC Faculty of Education. Information on admission/readmission is available on the Teacher Education Office website.

Visiting Graduate Students

To be eligible for admission as a visiting student to UBC, students must be currently registered in a graduate program with good standing at the home university.

For assistance with the online admission procedures, contact the Graduate Secretary: Alex Allen.

Admission Categories

  • Unclassified Students
    If you wish to enroll in studies not intended to lead to a particular degree or diploma (such as a single course, a summer institute, or a 15-credit certificate program), you can apply as an Unclassified Student. Students with degrees who wish to register in education courses are admitted to the Faculty of Education as Unclassified, 5th year students, and typically already have a recognized degree.
  • Diploma Students
    If you wish to complete a 30-credit UBC-conferred post-degree diploma, apply for admission in this category, and be sure to indicate the specific Diploma program you are applying to.
  • UBC-Okanagan Students (Cross-Campus Registration)
    • All UBC-O students must contact pro-d.educ@ubc.ca or 604.822.3999 for assistance in registering for UBC-Vancouver Faculty of Education courses.
    • Cross campus registration is intended for UBC Okanagan undergraduate students interested in taking some courses at the Vancouver campus. To be considered for registration at the Vancouver campus, Okanagan undergraduate students must meet certain criteria. Further information is provided on the Okanagan Campus Students website.
    • UBC Vancouver Faculty of Education students who are interested in taking courses at the Okanagan campus should contact the program advisor for approval: Bette Shippam, Teacher Education Office.



  • EPIC | Engaged Philosophical Inquiry Consortium
  • IPCIC | The International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children
  • PEACE | Philosophical Enquiry Advancing Cosmopolitan Engagement
  • The Guardian | “A guide to philosophical enquiry in the primary classroom”

The Power of Question

From accommodation to sightseeing, everything you need is on campus. See for yourself!