The Lyceum Project
The Lyceum Project is an original programme, introduced in 2012 and led by Dr Panayiota Vassilopoulou, disseminating and further developing departmental research in philosophical pedagogy with the aim to positively impact on children’s wellbeing. Our distinctive methodology promotes self-reflection, creativity, rationality, and cultural engagement in the classroom.
The research was disseminated and further developed with special focus on its practical applications through (a) the training of undergraduate philosophers in the tenets of the underpinning research and the delivery of workshops and lessons to young people; (b) the presentation of the methodology at practitioner-conferences; (c) freely accessible electronic resources.
In order to measure the impact on improving the subjective wellbeing of pupils taking part in lessons and workshops informed by our methodology, we used the Wellbeing Measure Tool. We conducted this survey on 110 participating Liverpool College pupils in Years 7 and 9 before and after our three-week course. The results demonstrate that the project significantly increased self-esteem and ‘life-satisfaction’.
Impact on objective wellbeing indicators was captured by changes in educational policy and practice in schools and cultural institutions. In September 2012, Liverpool College established the Philosophy and PSHE lessons as an annual programme. Principal H. Broekman commented, “The Philosophy students who teach at our school […] have improved the school and enthused our pupils”. D. McLaughlin, Liverpool School Improvement Team, stated: “This philosophical approach made me reflect on my planned work […] will use it to get practitioners to reflect as they work with children”.
As a result of the formal inclusion of the Philosophy and Art workshops in the Liverpool Biennial’s official programme of events (2012), a number of new partners, including The Bluecoat, National Museums Liverpool, FACT and METAL, came forward to be involved with the developing methodology. The partnerships led to the inclusion of the Lyceum Project’s methodology in the educational programmes of the above institutions, thereby changing their practice in this regard.