Michel Sasseville – Canada

Linked with Matthew Lipman – USA, with ChildrenThinking.co.uk; with The IAPC program; with Cours à distance: la philosophie pour les enfants, with Toward a Philosophy of Thinking, and with the International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children ICPIC.

Michel Sasseville, a professor with the philosophy faculty at Laval University, has received the 2005 Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Design award from the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE) for his course, “L’observation en philosophie pour les enfants.” The online multimedia course has been available to philosophy students since January 2005. The course’s pedagogical approach is based on observing children engaged in philosophical research activities. Students have access to audiovisual material allowing them see and observe the Grades 1, 3 and 6 children, who were filmed in real classroom situations. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to help create a virtual philosophical inquiry and research community …;

(He is) Ph.D. in Philosophy, Professor at Laval U. (Quebec), Michel Sasseville is responsible for the training programm in philosophy with children, according to Matthew Lipman´s approach. Also guest Professor at Montclair U. (New jersey), he intervenes regularly in the french part of Switzerland, in Czecky and in diverse parts of the world, training professionals in the practice of philosophy with children (on odef.ch).

Professeur à l’Université Laval depuis 1995. Chargé de cours, Université Laval (1982-1995). Président du Conseil international de recherches philosophiques avec les enfants (1997-1999). Professeur invité, Université Iberoamericana, Mexico (1995-1997), Montclair State University, New Jersey (1997-1999), Université du Sud de la Bohème, Ceskè Budejovice, République Tchèque (2003-2004), Institut de formation pédagogique de Genève, Suisse (2003-2004). Collaborateur principal au centre La Traversée, St-Lambert, pour un projet de prévention de la violence et philosophie pour les enfants (depuis 1998). Responsable du développement des programmes de formation en philosophie pour les enfants offerts par la Faculté de philosophie (depuis 1996). Doctorat en philosophie, Université Laval et Montclair State University (1993). Maîtrise en philosophie, Université Laval (1985). B.A. philosophie, Université Laval (1980). (à Uni Laval).

Le rencontrer aussi sur fr.wikipedia.


Michel Sasseville – Canada

He says: … 3- We have seen a profound reform in Education in Québec since 20 years and now, at primary school, we talk about competencies and transversal competencies among them we find critical judgment. More than that, the ministry of Education of Québec goes up to say that the classroom should be transformed into a community of learners. In this context, P4C is more than welcome because doing philosophy with children means inviting them to become critical thinkers (not only that but also that) within a community of inquiry. This is exactly what people in primary schools are looking for. And here we are with more than 40 years of experience showing how this could be done and the impacts of doing this on the performance of the child in other disciplines. No surprise that people are more and more interested by philosophy for children … (full interview text – link disabeled since).

Find him and his publications on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search.

He contributed on Analytic Teaching, Vol. 27, No. 1; and on World Philosophy Day 2008.

Professor Michel Sasseville, then President of ICPIC, presented the following account of “The State of International Cooperation in Philosophy for Children” at a UNESCO meeting in March 1998: The activity of doing philosophy with children is not a new one. In the Middle Age, adolescents were already invited to study logic. Though there is almost a difference of nature between what was done at this time and what we mean today by doing philosophy with children, it remains true that people living in this time were convinced that the study of logic could be very helpful if we want to think in a more proper way. For a variety of reasons, this assumption disappeared with the Renaissance and we had to wait until this century, more precisely in 1969, to see philosophy being used again as a tool to help children to become more critical, creative and caring persons … (full text, 22 September 2004).

He writes: Introduction – In this paper I would like to show how the transformation of traditional classrooms into classrooms of communities of inquiry can bring about not only better thinking on the part of students but also a growth in emotional maturity. The classroom community of inquiry fosters the growth of three kinds of thinking: critical, creative and caring. Although equally important, caring thinking is crucial in making possible the democratic dialogue essential to communal inquiry. It focuses on the building of solidarity and the preservation of values and relationships. It enables the child to deal with the relationship of self to other, learning how one can put one’s ego in perspective in light of the other’s views, interests and concerns. Caring thinking attends to the feelings of students as well as their thinking. It aims at preserving, cherishing and celebrating that which they value and fostering the courage to let go of that which no longer serves the growth of the self  in relation to the other.. It consists in the sharpening of numerous skills of translation involved in the understanding of different world views and the making of new meanings. It relies on communication, translation, empathy, compassion, understanding and dialogue. When it is embedded in communal dialogical inquiry, it constitutes an education of the emotions, a necessary constituent of global intelligence. Caring thinking aims to foster relational consciousness, dialogue, understanding and inquiry while at the same time helping children to tend to the reasonableness of their emotions in given contexts. What is Caring Thinking? … (full long text – link disabeled since).

ALLOCUTION ORIGINALE EN VERSION ANGLAISE: The present paper is a transcription of a conference given as part of the Philosophy for Children Un curriculo per impare a pensare, Convegno Internazionale di studio, Padova. The first part of the present paper includes a theoretical presentation of the general context in which the prevention program was elaborated and a second part which describes the clinical research that was carried out during the 2002-2003 school year. Results of this research and a discussion are also presented … // … Taking action to prevent violence requires finding ways to be forearmed, and thus able to protect oneself, while not harming others. We began our program in primary schools because they are the first social institution where children interact outside of their families. From the point of view of preventing violence of which a child could be the victim, witness or author, school has a symbolic meaning as an institution that conveys social rules. Thus we believe that it is the location most conducive to establishing a mechanism for citizenship education. We chose Philosophy for Children because children are budding philosophers. In childhood, we open up to the world with the wonder of discovery. Even when discoveries contradict each other and children do not know what to do, they never stop asking questions about why and how the world works, and this is why philosophy seemed to us to be the natural continuation of children’s questions … (on la traversee).

Invited as experts by Unesco to present what is done in the field of Philosophy for children, we have been asked to propose a certain number of recommendations concerning an eventual Unesco project on Philosophy for Children. At least, that was the title of the agenda. What UNESCO wanted was a kind of picture of what different people coming from different backgrounds have to say concerning the teaching of philosophy, the doing of philosophy with children, the relationship between philosophy and children, the different models that exist concerning this large topic. I think it was really interesting even though in some cases, I felt for example that we were far away from the idea of the community of inquiry as a pedagogical methodology to introduce philosophy to children. But, the point of this meeting was not to buy P4C or to sell it, but to expose to UNESCO what is done in this new field of education and philosophy. And, for this reason, a certain number of people around the table were totally unknown by those who are using the Community of Inquiry to introduce philosophy to children. And, these people, from what I understood, didn’t know too much about this idea too. At the end, we as a group (we were around 15 people) finally proposed five recommendations to the director of the section of Philosophy and Ethics that could combine the different perspectives presented during the two days of the meeting. These five recommendations are: … (full text, Paris, March 1998 – link disabeled since).

Quelques textes en francais:

En 1999, à la suite d’une rencontre internationale d’experts qu’elle a organisée sur le sujet, l’UNESCO a produit un rapport recommandant l’introduction généralisée de la pratique de la philosophie dès la pré-maternelle (Philosophie pour les enfants).


2 Interviews with Matthew Lipman: 1) What is P4C really, and 2) The Other aspect of P4C;

Site officiel M. Lipman;

Federation of AustralAsian Philosophy in Schools Associations FAPSA /back issues; (and their homepage);

Site de Gilles Geneviève;

Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children / The World of Philosophy for Children;

Club 44 – Centre de culture, d’information et de rencontre, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Suisse): page d’accueil;

Michel Tozzi

Site de l’Université de Laval et de Michel Sasseville (proposant une formation en ligne);

Site des ateliers AGSAS et Jacques Lévine;

childhood & philosophy, Journal of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children ICPIC, edited by the Center of Philosophical Studies in Childhood of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;

Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique INRP;

Livre Google: Philosophie De L’Education, By Lucien Morin, Louis Brunet, 2000, 635 pages.

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