Victorian Primary Philosothon - 9th June 2017

The Primary school Philosothon is a VAPS initiative at the NGV, designed to provoke philosophical inquiry in public places.

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

Date: Fri 9 Jun, 10am–2pm

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


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.

Schools will be 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.

Further details to be revealed here soon...

Cost:  $30 per student

FACILITATORS: 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.

More information about Philosothons is available at

 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 evidence of three kinds of thinking

Critical Thinking

·          a disposition to focus on good reasoning and intellectual honesty

·         the ability to analyse and assess an argument

Caring Thinking

·         a willingness to listen with an open mind to the ideas of others

·         the ability to criticize ideas impersonally and to accept the impersonal criticism of one's own ideas

·         a willingness to take the intellectual risk of offering ideas for evaluation and criticism by one's peers

Creative Thinking

·         an interest in exploring ideas

·         a capacity to identify and tackle conceptual problems

·         a capacity to produce new concepts


   Participating Schools for 2017

  • MLC Junior School
  • Northcote Primary School
  • Serpell Primary School
  • St Kilda Park Primary School
  • Lloyd Street Primary School
  • King David School
  • Brighton Primary School
  • Newport Lakes Primary School
  • Yarra Road Primary School
  • Eltham College
  • Mentone Grammar

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. 

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.