Work in Progress - Hungarian Teachers Learn New Skills

Arpad Barta is chairman of governors at an independent prep school in Budapest called Alma Mater. He’s also a member of the Budapest School of Philosophy (SoP), and he leads its initiative on education. Arpad is making philosophy available to schools and teachers in Hungary: he feels there’s a great need for it in his country.

A 10-week evening course in Philosophy for Teachers was written, and presented to the headmistress, two deputy heads and four other teachers from Alma Mater. The SoP has been accredited to run teacher-training by the Ministry of Education and Culture. And the course is already having positive effects at Alma Mater – the children practise stillness before and after lessons, for example, just like St James.

Arpad has visited many schools in Hungary to tell them about the initiative, and he’ll be running a second course soon. Paul Moss, Principal of the St James Junior Schools in London, has advised on the course development and he will be visiting Budapest.

The teachers graduating from the course will need material they can take back to their classrooms and share with their colleagues. Setting up St James schools in Hungary is not an option. So the ERT has funded the translation into Hungarian of the tried and tested children’s ‘Thinking Through Philosophy’ course. It’s simple to replicate among teachers and schools, the teachers and children enjoy it and are enlivened by it. Plus it combines well with the SoP’s course for teachers.

Grants from the ERT have funded the widespread introduction of Thinking Through Philosophy in South African and West Indian schools, to great effect. Now it will be making a difference in central Europe.