The Wellington School Philosophy Team returned to King’s College, Taunton, last night in a bid to retain its trophy as winners of the Inter-School Philosothon competition. The team of 11 young philosophers from years 9-11 dazzled and impressed a range of judges with their insightful contributions to discussions but alas ultimately had to surrender the much-loved trophy to Bristol Grammar School on the evening.
The Philosothon is a philosophy competition judged by leading Professors and lecturers in philosophy. The idea is new to the UK and was born in Australia in 2007.
The fourth ever Inter-School Philosothon was held at King’s College, Taunton with a large number of participating schools from around the region.
The team, which spanned Year 9 to Year 13, consisted of Reyhan Taraq, Will Davis, Hamish Hunter, Marianne Baly, Dak Natakala, Lizzy Fanshawe, Edmund Tallack, Freddie Renyard, Sophie Bennett, Isabel Elliott and Amy Green.
The team were given a number of philosophical stimuli – this year these included a Dostoevsky passage and a lesser-known issue raised by the Charlie Hebdo attack – which they had to discuss whilst being judged by teams of eminent philosophers. The Wellington team, though separated throughout, performed at a very high level in each of their groups and scored highly for their ability to articulate conceptual difficulties as well as include and carefully build on the ideas of others within their groups.
Philosothons encourage students to investigate complex philosophical and ethical questions within a small group known as a ‘community of enquiry’. In this setting, students do not see other group members as rivals but take their place as a fellow philosopher attempting to offer solutions to some of the world’s most controversial and problematic ethical and philosophical questions. In the process of preparing and participating in Philosothons, students have the opportunity to develop higher order thinking and communication skills.
“The joy of Philosothons is that they do not aim to identify and reward the loudest or the most confident, but rather to bring out of students their original ideas, help them to formulate complex ideas and questions and play their part in moving towards answers through courteous and inclusive questioning and discussion,” commented Katja Sass, Wellington School’s Head of RS and team coach.
PHOTO: Wellington School’s Philosothon team. From left, back row: Lizzie Fanshawe, Izzy Elliott, Will Davis, Edmund Tallach, Freddie Renyard, Reyhan Taraq, Dak Natakala.
Front row: Rachael Davies – RS teacher, Sophie Bennett, Amy Green, Marianne Baly, Hamish Hunter and Katja Sass, Wellington School’s Head of RS and team coach.