Comment on Winning Words story in Tribune

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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Recent press for Winning Words!!

The CKP’s Winning Words philosophy program has been very fortunate in receiving some excellent recent press coverage, with major stories about the program appearing in both the Chicago Maroon and the Chicago Tribune. For a nice overview, please visit the Humanities Division website, at And please take this opportunity to check out this and other stories appearing on the Squires Foundation website, at

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Winning Words: Thinking, Speaking, and Acting Philosophically

The Winning Words program is a unique after-school class in philosophy, reasoning, and the verbal arts of dialogue and rhetoric.  We work with local middle and elementary school students, teaching them about philosophy, the influence it has had on human life, and the virtues and skills that attend its practice. These include debate, writing, and Socratic dialogue. Such modes of thought and communication will foster the sense of wonder that is at the root of serious introspection, intellectual growth, and ethical reflection.  Class begins with a portrait of Socrates attained through readings of Platonic dialogues. From reading and discussing these sources, students learn the ancient rudiments of the examined or philosophical life. Our curriculum keeps ever in the students’ minds, though, the ideas put forth by the famous American philosopher and founding figure at the University of Chicago, John Dewey— That learning is best done by way of doing and that schoolhouse and society are both best served when they are not isolated from one another.

In  Winning Words classes, younger students in local public schools are given the opportunity to learn from  successful, enthusiastic, and civic-minded students at the University of Chicago. The younger students make occasional trips to campus to hold class, and, about once per quarter, to present their thoughts in the public forum.

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

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

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Thoughts from Gareth Matthews

As you proceed, please keep in mind this thought from Gareth Matthews, _The Philosophy of Childhood_: “Philosophers, in devoting their lives to the study of the profoundly naive questions of philosophy, can help nonphilosophical parents and teachers to recognize and appreciate some of the naively profound questions of childhood …. What a professional philosopher can do is to collect examples of philosophical thinking in young children, and then, by linking those childish thoughts to our philosophical tradition, help parents and teachers to recognize philosophy in their children, respect it when it appears, and even participate in it and encourage it on occasion.” Please do try to cultivate and collect (and record, in a journal you keep) such examples of philosophical thinking.”

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Squires Foundation!

Please check out the wonderful resources available through the Squires Foundation, at

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