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Sofia Nikolidaki (Athen/Greece)#

The Role of Epiphany Moments when Doing Philosophy with Children#

Epiphany is a rare experience of sudden and striking realisation which is often related to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can also apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. Epiphany is often generated by a complex combination of experience, memory, knowledge, predisposition and context. It is much connected with the creative process and often takes place after a period of incubation. An example of epiphany in education might involve the process by which a student (or a teacher) arrives at some form of new insight or clarifying thought. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the possible emergence of epiphany moments when doing philosophy with children within a community of inquiry context. The essence, the characteristics and the impact of epiphany moments on the ones involved in a philosophical inquiry will be further investigated theoretically and practically based on teachers’ and students’ accounts. Presuppositions and dispositions that enable epiphany moments such as being passionate and in love with a stimulus, working hard to uncover the stimulus hidden aspects, dialoguing and allowing periods of idleness for ideas to settle down are also going to be analysed within a philosophical community of inquiry. Finally, it will be argued that epiphany moments no matter how rare and unpredictably occur if they are recognised and freely expressed, they allow a fulfilling feeling which is surprising because one cannot predict when one's labour will bear fruit and it can be seen as a reward for a long period of effort.