Thinking, Speaking and Acting Philosophically

Welcome to Winning Words: Thinking, Speaking, and Acting Philosophically

With Winning Words, young people on Chicago’s South Side are introduced to the joys and wonders of philosophy and provided with greater educational opportunities for practicing considered self-expression, reasonable and cooperative conversation, collaborative inquiry, and thoughtful self-examination. They practice the arts of philosophical dialogue and the famous Socratic method, along with public speaking and reading, dramatic performance, and other verbal arts drawn from the humanities. And they do this in ways that are engaging and inspiring—fostering the sense of wonder that is at the root of true wisdom, intellectual growth, and ethical reflection. With Socrates, we believe in the examined life. With the famous American philosopher John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago, we believe in learning by doing, breaking down the barriers between school and society, and building a more deliberative and reflective democratic community.

With Winning Words, younger students in local public schools are connected to some of the most successful college students in the world: those at the University of Chicago. Working under the guidance of The Civic Knowledge Project, the University of Chicago students are trained to bring the Winning Words program to these younger students at their own schools. And those younger students are also given many opportunities to visit the Hyde Park campus of the University of Chicago to engage in exciting educational activities—class discussions, theatrical performances, and other programs that can inspire these young people with a vision of just how rewarding and relevant college life can be. Please help us spread the word about Winning Words! We welcome your participation!

If you are interested in bringing the Winning Words program to one of our South Side schools, please contact the Director of the Civic Knowledge Project, Bart Schultz, at 773/834-3929 ext. 1, or Teachers or other professionals who work with us on site are eligible for stipends and other benefits.

If you are a University of Chicago student interested in working in the Winning Words program, please contact the Student Coordinator, Shayan Karbassi (


Winning Words students participating in the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Pre-Collegiate Philosophy.