Bringing Philosophy into the K-12 Curriculum April 1, 2024 – Posted in: Uncategorized

Former seminar leader and Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen has led the launch of the Philosopher-in-Residence program at the Academy of Palumbo, a magnet high school in south Philadelphia. The program is an initiative of the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) and is implemented by Penn’s Project for Philosophy for the Young (P4Y).

PLATO arranges for graduate students to teach high school students about ethical and philosophical theories. Penn’s P4Y originally began collaborating with Palumbo as part of an Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course through Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Collaborating with the Philosopher-in-Residence program created a more robust and immersive learning experience for educators and students.

Detlesfen leadership in P4Y highlights her continued commitment to enhancing education in Philadelphia which is exemplified by her engagements with TIP. She led the 2019 seminar Critical Thinking in Elementary School English Language Arts in which fellows co-authored a curriculum on comprehensive critical thinking based on ReadyGEN Classroom Library texts, which are used widely in the School District of Philadelphia. Detlefsen’s seminar was experimental in that it asked participants to collaborate on a single focused project.

Most recently, Detlefsen led a 2021 seminar titled Democracy and Expertise in Science, History and Literature where she taught fellows about the intersection of democracy and expertise in history and science, and how they enrich our philosophical understanding of truth and objectivity.

According to Detlefsen, “One of the most exciting aspects of P4Y is the role that graduate students play in producing ideas for innovative programming and in putting these ideas into play.” Penn’s P4Y gives students opportunities to engage in the philosophical discourse that they would otherwise not learn about in school.