Monkton’s philosophers’ success in Philosothon competition

04 Apr 2018

Philosothon is a competition which seeks to increase students’ understanding of a range of philosophical issues.  It is based on the ‘community of inquiry’ model, which encourages students to think together to increase their understanding of a particular issue.   Each student is given a piece of stimulus material and a list of possible questions to consider.  With the help of the facilitator, students then begin a discussion based on the questions arising from the stimulus material.  Conversation must flow and tangents are permitted.  The aim is not to ‘get through’ the list of possible questions, but to use them as a springboard for spontaneous discussion, and ultimately for the advancement of philosophical inquiry.

Following on from our successful Inter-House Philosothon competition in January, which was won by Farm House for the second consecutive year, a Monkton team was selected from the two highest scoring students from each year group.  On Tuesday 23rd January, the team, accompanied by Mrs Chillcott and Mr Carter, competed in the Philosothon UK competition at King’s College, Taunton.

Students competed in four communities of inquiry, scoring points for themselves and their school.  The first two communities were grouped according to age, whilst the last two were mixed-age communities.  Monkton students competed admirably, often holding their own with students significantly older than them, discussing topics as varied as the legalisation of drugs, whether animals can feel pain, and how the Arab lore of the camel’s nose can be of use in the euthanasia debate!

The competition was judged by a number of academics from universities nationwide, including the University of Oxford.  At his summing up of the event, Mark Smith, the event organiser, praised the high standards of all those taking part and noted that the future of Philosophy looks promising.  Our Monkton team did incredibly well, coming away in second place – and missing out on first place by only 7 marks.  The minibus ride home was full of continued philosophical debate, much to the delight of Mrs Chillcott and Mr Carter.  Well done to all involved in this significant achievement for Monkton.

Mrs Rhian Chillcott

Head of Theology, Philosophy & Ethics