‘What if’ has grown from a partnership between Contour Housing Group and Limeside Primary School in Oldham. ‘What if’ is pioneering the use of philosophy enquiry tools – for use with communities in target neighbourhoods, for use in staff and team development and as a structure to deliver a range of local regeneration initiatives.
Philosophical enquiry is a refreshing and novel way of exploring ideas, encouraging dialogue, exchanging/questioning points of view and building relationships. It uses philosophical questioning techniques to enable people to look at issues relevant to themselves, work, lives and communities from slightly different perspective. How often do we ask an open question or one which there isn’t a definitive answer for? If you really think, most of our questions are closed, yes or no answers, are these educational questions or a means to an end?
Do we really encourage dialogue through using open questions? For instance, can you step in the same river twice? Can you walk up the same street twice? Can you engage with the same community today as you did yesterday?
The relevance of philosophy has never been greater; society is driven by timescales, targets, doing more for less, adding value and improved productivity. Communities are subject to tension, exclusion and breakdown. Philosophy could be answer, it helps us reflect, search, reason, connect and interact. It is an ideal tool for the challenges faced in the workplace, classroom and on the street.
Contour Housing Group and Limeside Primary School are demonstrating how a philosophical approach can be used to improved education, connect people and communities and improve team and work performance. By returning to an ancient form of enquiry we can think and question, we can find our own answers and discover the truth.