Victorian Primary Philosothon - 9th June 2017

The Primary school Philosothon is a collaboration between VAPS and the NGV, designed to provoke philosophical inquiry in public places.

Schools are invited to bring 10 students from years 4, 5 and 6 to the NGV to participate in three, thirty minute ‘Communities of Enquiry’ sessions.

These will be held in front of a variety of works of art including one narrative artwork, one portrait and one abstraction.

Location:  The National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Date: Fri 9 Jun, 10am–2pm


The NGV and the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools (VAPS) invites expression of interest from Primary School Teachers for the 2017 Victorian Primary School Philosothon.  

Bookings essential Ph: 03 8620 2340 (12–5pm weekdays) or Email:

Cost:  $30 per student

                      SCHOOL BOOKINGS CLOSED


 IF you wish to offer your services as a facilitator at this event please download the form


(or request one from Janette) and submit to to register your interest.



Please complete and submit the expression of interest form:


You must carry valid WWCC or VIT registration



 Rationale of the Philosothon

The aim of the 2017 Victorian Primary School Philosothon at the NGV is to promote philosophical inquiry and rigour by bringing students from Years 4-6 together around a common visual stimulus and facilitating their discussion to move beyond “mere conversation” and towards critical inquiry.  The model used for the event is known as the Community of Inquiry, where students develop an awareness of underlying concepts and a critical understanding of different positions and arguments that arise as they engage with others around philosophically rich stimulus material. 

No formal philosophical expertise or grounding is expected of students, and groups should be jargon free zones.

During each of the session, the facilitators and observers will be looking for examples of four kinds of Capability referred to in the Victorian Curriculum. As a guide, see kinds of examples below (you do not need to cover all these options):


  • a closed question used appropriately (eg seeking clarification )
  • an open question (eg a contestable concept or claim  identified)


  • generation of a new idea
  • generation of a new connection between ideas
  • provision of a relevant example or counterexample
  • construction of a relevant analogy or metaphor.


  • an explicit connection made between reasons and a conclusion
  • a reason or argument evaluated
  • an error in reasoning identified (eg a contradiction or inconsistency)

Social awareness and Management

  • a suggestion re a way that respectful relationships can be achieved
  • a constructive response to other’s criticisms
  • assesses their own, or their team’s, performance as a member of a COI

This is an enormously exciting venture and a wonderful opportunity to promote the joys and benefits of philosophical inquiry within the school.  Please feel free to contact us and to sort out any things that are not clear at this stage. 

More information about Philosothons is available at

If you have any queries please contact:

Rosemary Etherton, Educator, National Gallery of Victoria

Phone:  03 86202344; Email:


Janette Poulton, Education Officer

Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools

Phone: 0425707968; Email:


We look forward to meeting with you and joining in what promises to be a tremendous experience for everyone involved.