Greenbank High is one of the few schools nationwide to have a resident philosopher. Royal Institute of Philosophy tutor, Glenn Skelhorn, works with staff from a wide range of subject areas, running philosophy sessions that tie in with topics being studied by the pupils. One of the primary aims of this is to provide an embedded framework for critical, creative and collaborative thinking, where deep thinking and fruitful discussion can enrich the learning experience of Greenbank pupils. A recent article in the Southport Visiter reported on Glenn’s role at our school - http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-news/philosopher-gives-greenbank-pupils-teachers-9274578
For an outline of the nature of Philosophy and its value for Greenbank pupils, Glenn explains:
“Philosophy is often described as being concerned with the 'big' questions. Philosophers are less interested in questions such as 'is it raining outside?' or 'what did you have for your dinner last night?' and more interested in questions like 'how should I make decisions?', 'can God's existence be proven?', 'where is my mind?', 'how do I know if something is true?', and 'how can I become free?' Philosophical questions tend to provoke deep thinking and lots of discussion. We might think of philosophy as an umbrella subject as there are branches for almost all other areas - philosophy of maths, science, literature, art, film, history, religion etc. This is because there are lots of juicy philosophical questions everywhere we look (so long as we know how to look for them of course).
In tackling such questions, one of the chief goals of doing philosophy is to become a better thinker. The idea is that better thinkers are likely to have well thought-through beliefs, values and behaviours. There is also a sense in which, if you are not a good thinker, you are more easily manipulated or mislead about what to believe. So becoming a better thinker is a way of taking control of your own life - driving yourself rather than being driven by the ideas of others.
As important as all of this is of course, philosophy is lots of FUN too! Humans tend to like thinking about puzzling questions and especially discussing and debating arguments with others. The Philosophy activities at Greenbank give plenty of opportunity to enjoy philosophizing and it is typically the case that discussion spills out of the classroom and on to the corridors.”