Previous P4C ICE Theme – IDENTITY

Tufnell Primary school is delighted to be the lead school for the Autumn first half-term P4C ICE theme – and we have chosen IDENTITY as our core concept.  Over the next six weeks we are going to:

  • Start with an open enquiry using these stimuli:
      • EYFS and lower KS1

    • Upper KS1 and KS2

  • Go into a second linked enquiry based on a concept or question arising from the first one
  • Choose a research topic linked to the questions in the first or second enquiries, and get the students to suggest possible further stimuli from these, which we will use over the rest of the half term.

We are going to create wall displays in all classrooms with quotes, drawings, questions, WWW/EBI ideas etc from the sessions.  We are also going to ask the students to agree a few thoughts from each session that they can take home and talk to their families about – and we will start each P4C session with some quick feedback from those conversations.

At the end of the theme we are going to put a combined display up in the school foyer and suggest that students talk their parents or carers through the parts that they were involved with.

We will update this post after each of our sessions.  We would LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS and, even better, SEE WHAT YOUR STUDENTS COME UP WITH from some of the same stimuli that we are using.  PLEASE JOIN OUR P4C PARTY!


Community Contribution

Sian Hosmer from Haselworth Primary, Gosport UK suggests Wonder by RJ Palacio as a book stimulus that would lend itself really well to the theme of Identity:

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”  August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.


This article has 8 comments

  1. Hi there Tufnell Primary! We love the way you are approaching Identity. We’re going to try out your Like a Girl Stimulus in our P4C session next week and we’ll post the questions and comments we come up with.

    Julia Jiang, Hongqiao International Junior School

  2. This is a great theme. Last week, by chance, we ended up with an enquiry related to Identity based on this stimulus: New Friends . I was expecting to get a question about changes but our Year 4 students chose: Is it good to be the same as your friends? – which led into all sorts of ideas about identity.

    Jason, P4C lead, Ashton-under-Lyme

  3. I’m really interested in the theme of identity, especially for young children. One class of children at our school are currently looking at the picture book ‘Wonder’ by RJ Palacio. Although the initial focus has been that of respect, I think this would also lend itself really well to the concept if identity. I’d like to try the other suggested concepts such as ‘Like a girl ‘. Thanks.

  4. Thank you for initiating this project, Tufnell Primary – it looks like a great start for you and for everyone who will tap into it.
    I think your plan is excellent.
    I particularly like your intention to find a research topic linked to the questions in the enquiries.
    I have long thought it right to make a distinction between research questions (seeking information) and reflection questions (seeking insight) – which pretty much corresponds to the technical distinction between empirical questions and philosophical questions.
    But it is wrong to suppose that reflection / philosophical questions can be answered without respect to research, and, for that matter, that research questions should be proposed and pursued without respect to philosophical reflection.
    I shall be very interested to see what research questions your students do come up with, and whether they push into challenging areas such as the psychology, or even physiology, of gender, or the politics (and abuse) of minority cultures within a modern society.

    • I absolutely agree with you, Roger, on the research/reflection question issue.  This was evidenced in an inquiry I did with children, using an elephant art stimulus.  Before the children could really get to grips with the philosophical aspects, they needed to know some things.  If they wanted to discuss whether animals have innate capabilities for artistic expression, they would need to know what level of training (assuming there is a degree of training) the elephants received.  If they wanted to inquire into the ethical issue of animals taken from their natural environment, they would want to know how the elephants ended up at the compound.  If they wanted to know whether the paintings they produced could actually be called art, they would need to research other examples, what people say about what ‘art’ is and to evaluate the elephant art with reference to other works of art, for example.  
      This is, I think, an often overlooked aspect of P4C, as we try to mull over substantive questions and concepts ‘within the circle’ without paying heed to what we need to know/find out in order to further our thinking. ‘Community of inquiry’ came from the science world and the scientific method scientists follow – observe, question, hypothesise, test, analyse, draw conclusions – could as easily be applied to our P4C.
      I find that once children are enthused by a particular concept or question, they’re equally inspired to try and find out all they know about it.  That’s why I tend to send them away after an inquiry to ‘find stuff out’ or to ask other people what they think.  To, basically, do some background research.
      I have to dash now to get into class but a fascinating aspect of P4C, here!

  5. I’ve done a couple of whole-school P4C/identity days in schools and in both, we engaged parents/wider families in it on the run-up by asking them to dig out pictures of themselves when they were young and of their children as they were growing up.  The children then, as one of the activities, looked at how they themselves had changed and also whether they shared any features with their parents.  A central stimulus for the day was the Orange TV advertising campaign, ‘I am everyone’ (  Children also reflected not just on whether they shared any physical characteristics with their parents but also whether they had shared values, which may have been passed down through the generations, all things which help contribute towards making us, us.  

    The two stimuli we’ve chosen for this half term will certainly do the trick but this concept has the potential for even more than the two sessions we’re doing, so all these additional stimuli could make it a very interesting half term!  

  6. I have always enjoyed the ‘Like a girl’ stimulus as it always creates a strong emotional response during an inquiry and then to begin to investigate it through the conceptual lens of ‘Identity’ should provide some further dialogue. A Year 7 class are currently going to start a unit in the lower secondary Global Perpectives so I may also try it with them as the focus is to look at the relationships of tradition, culture and identity.

    I have also in the past used this as a stimulus to follow up the inquiry:

  7. I worked this theme with Oscar Brenifier’s book, Who am I? (in portuguese, Quem sou eu?), with 7 / 10 years old kids. Also I used wonder ponder resources “I, person” as a thinking provocation for the groups. With younger children I have a game I made up with “things” that can help us tell an E.T. (i use this example) who we are: our family, our name, our weight, the colour of our hair, the things we like to eat…

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