Classroom Discussions in Education, edited by P Karen Murphy (2018), Routledge, New York and London

Journal of Philosophy in Schools 10 (1) (2023)
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We hear a lot about bubbles and echo chambers these days. People talk only to others who have similar ideas to themselves. Supporters of political parties, believers in conspiracy theories (such as QAnon), members of many other groups continually talk to fellow believers, and seldom seriously consider what outsiders say. However, we need to acknowledge that we ourselves also exist within bubbles. While perhaps not in the same league as the examples above, philosophy for/with children (P4/wC) advocates and researchers can also fall into the trap of listening only to others within our field. In many ways, this is understandable. Over more than 50 years, the P4/wC literature has ballooned, and it is unlikely that any one person has had the time to be able to read it all, let alone chasing down other literature. Yet we are not the only people who are interested in classroom discussions. For example, when I was doing my PhD, I read a fascinating and informative book by JT Dillon—Using Discussion in Classrooms—which I have never seen referenced in the P4/wC literature. The book under review here is another example. Published in the Ed Psych Insights series by Routledge, it is edited by P Karen Murphy, the Harry and Marion Royer Eberly Faculty Fellow and Professor of Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Of the eight other contributors to this book, seven are doctoral students, and one a post-doc, at either The Pennsylvania State University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is quite a tight little bubble: the Quality Talk bubble. Quality Talk (QT) is the name of the approach to classroom discussions devised by Murphy and her collaborators.



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Tim Sprod
University of Tasmania (PhD)

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