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Civic Knowledge Project program featured in the Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune featured the Civic Knowledge Project’s “Winning Words” program, a project that brings philosophy students into local Chicago public schools to engage students in critical thinking. The Civic Knowledge Project (CKP) is the office for community engagement within the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Established in July of 2003, The Civic Knowledge Project aims to build programs and institutional affiliations that enhance the circulation of knowledge on the South Side of Chicago across lines of race, ethnicity, class, and religion.

From the Tribune:

While discussing classic texts and critical thinking are second nature at U. of C., where Socrates and Plato reign supreme, Winning Words is bringing the same process of lively give-and-take and critical thinking to Chicago Public Schools students at 15 South Side elementary and middle schools. The U. of C. tutors serve as philosophy coaches, adapting the ideas of classic and contemporary philosophers and authors like Socrates, William Shakespeare and educator John Dewey to provoke spirited debate among nearly 120 students enrolled in Winning Words.

Last February fourth graders led by a philosophy student presented at the annual American Philosophical Association conference. Earlier this year, Bart Schultz, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Civic Knowledge Project, received the Faculty Initiative Award for 2012 from the Office of Civic Engagement’s Neighborhood Schools Program. The award is in recognition of his work in building community connections through such programs as the Winning Words as well as the Poverty, Promise, and Possibility initiative.

To read the Tribune article, click here. Learn more about the Civic Knowledge Project by visiting their website, and read a Chicago Maroon article here.

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2 Responses

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  1. My thanks to Tom Mullaney for his fine story on the Civic Knowledge Project’s Winning Words program. Winning Words does indeed represent a very special educational program. It offers young people the chance to do some live philosophizing in a way that is both Socratic and in the spirit of the South Side Odyssey Project courses that the CKP co-sponsors with the Illinois Humanities Council (see ). But I should add that these programs emphasize collaborative inquiry, the Socratic or elenctic search for truth, rather than some form of competitive debate. Thus, our Winning Words presentations at the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division Meetings last Feb. were not part of a “competition.” The Winning Words teams were featured along with a number of other precollegiate philosophy students, some very talented young people from the Oak Park and River Forest High School. Working together, these young philosophers demonstrated how philosophy involves that wonder and love of wisdom that should be the core concerns of an “educating community.” Bart Schultz, University of Chicago.

  2. THIS IS PHENOMENAL!! When I first began the Odyssey Project (South side class of 2005-2006), I became irate, because I found myself understanding that an education in the Socratic method should have been taught at the middle school level. I believed that so many of life’s unnecessary burdens could have been alleviated, if people would have been taught how to think. GREAT JOB, BART and the Civic Knowledge Project!!

    Gloria N. Robinson

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