Philosophical enquiry as a pedagogical tool to implement the CAPS curriculum: Final-year pre-service teachers’ perceptions
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In this paper, we argue that philosophical enquiry, as practised using community of enquiry pedagogy, is an appropriate implementation strategy for Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) if the principles that underlie the curriculum are to be taken seriously. Matthew Lipman’s Philosophy for Children Programme and its community of enquiry pedagogy were intended as a classroom means to enhance children’s critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking and prepare them for democratic citizenship. A previous study suggested that pre-service teachers benefitted from exposure to this pedagogy. The aim of this study was to explore the extent to which pre-service teachers, after a brief experiential introduction to community of enquiry pedagogy, perceived its relevance to the CAPS curriculum. The research was positioned within an interpretivist qualitative paradigm with an emphasis on shared construction of meanings. In 2013 the final-year student group consisted of seventy-four students, of whom 30 volunteered to participate in focus group discussions at the end of the year. Themes were identified within the data and are reported within the following broad categories: perceived relevance to the general requirements of the CAPS curriculum, perceived relevance to specific curriculum areas, and constraints on implementation. Discussion focuses on the insights of participants, potential challenges, some limitations of the research and our plans to address them.