Let's get quizzical! Brila's workshops are short, sweet and loaded with brain candy. Each session zeroes in on a philosophical theme, investigating it from every angle for maximum mental gymnastics. Participants boost and bend their mental landscape with thought experiments, group dialogue and creative projects, illuminating the unexpected through their ideas and creations. We easily adapt to classrooms, after-school programs and community events so there's always a fresh way to bulk up that grey matter!
Our workshops help young people practice being reasonable and imaginative together, while developing the sensibility necessary to decide what is worth discussing, expressing and pursuing. We use the Philosophy for Children model to cultivate thoughtfulness:
Brila's workshops can take the form of special seminars or regular clubs. Our clubs are inspiration boosters for budding creative thinkers! Each week, participants get together for a jam-packed hour of intriguing ideas, mystifying questions and engaging dialogue—the perfect combo for inquisitive minds that are always asking "why-why-why?"!
The sessions start with participants delving deep into discussion, playing leapfrog with each other's thoughts until they reach a brilliant stance. They then get a creative project to express their newly hatched ideas, and at the end of the term, they show off their amazing evolution from novice inquirers to philosophy buffs in one of our zines.
Our clubs can meet during class, lunch breaks or after school to think it out together.
... showing genuine consideration for others and concern for their treatment—
attentive, empathetic, big-hearted
... deeply absorbed in thought and
characterized by careful reasoning—
reflective, mindful, discerning
some philosophical questions from past participants...
1. the stimulus
A community of philosophical inquiry session starts with a stimulus that provokes wonder, like a story, art work, video or game, full of conceptual and contestable dimensions about life's possible meanings.
2. the question
The community then responds to the stimulus by generating a list of intriguing philosophical questions based on what puzzled, bothered or enthralled them, and chooses one to explore during their dialogue.
3. the dialogue
Next comes the heart of the inquiry: the community discusses their question together, trying to define key concepts, form reasonable positions, illustrate them with examples and imagine their implications.
4. the assessment
After the dialogue, the community reflects on their collaborative thinking to determine what they achieved and how they can improve—a practice called metacognition, or thinking about thought processes.
5. the project
Finally, the community comes up with an activity to test their position in the real world to see whether it really reflects how they experience life or whether it needs to be fine-tuned. And so the inquiry cycle continues!
The Philosophy for Children method is called "Community of Philosophical Inquiry" since it describes a group of individuals joined together by a fascinating question that they find worthy of examination through collaborative philosophical dialogue:
These lists of creative missions are made to order to facilitate the creation of a zine remotely, no matter where you are located! Assignments usually include a mix of writing, illustration, photography and new media options, with each participant picking a project that tickles their fancy. Contact us to see how we can design a zine issue that builds on topics and competencies relevant to your class or organization!
These stand-alone workshops explore particular philosophical concepts in depth through multimedia slideshows, thought experiments, group discussions and creative exercises. Seminars usually last at least two hours, but can also extend to half-day and full-day sessions, like pedagogical days. Contact us to see our selection of existing seminar themes or to discuss creating one tailored exactly to your needs!
These regular workshops foster the development of collaborative thinking through philosophical chats and creative projects that culminate in captivating content for one of our zines. Clubs usually meet weekly or biweekly for a period of six to 12 weeks. Contact us to see our assortment of lesson plans so we can customize a club that suits your group to a tee!
Are you an educator seeking to inspire and challenge young minds? There are many ways you can integrate Brila projects into your classroom or other learning environments! Our workshops are uniquely designed to complement existing curriculum goals from preschool through college levels, while providing young people with valuable opportunities to develop their thinking and creative skills.
We coordinate directly with teachers, youth coaches and community leaders to ensure our programming reflects their learning objectives, drawing on our extensive bank of activities and projects. Our workshops can be stretched and molded to fit snugly wherever creative thinking jolts are needed, whether during class time, pedagogical days or extracurricular activities.
What are the moral issues that truly concern children and teens as they grow up? How will these issues affect the world they inherit as adults? From the environment to technology, globalization trends to cultural clashes, young people face serious, perplexing challenges that require both strong reasoning skills and genuine empathy. Brila workshops impart an ethical spirit and commitment in youth by connecting them to issues that matter in their lives.
Specific to Quebec, Brila's workshops cultivate the key competencies of ethics and dialogue required in the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program at both the elementary and secondary school levels. The comparative chart below reflects how Brila's use of the Philosophy for Children method directly addresses the ERC's learning goals:
Click to see the rest of the table...
Big thanks to our advisory board members for contributing these very helpful resources! Click the tool titles to download the PDFs:
Some key background resources on doing philosophical inquiry
Stimulus materials and exercises to inspire philosophical dialogue
Useful charts to help track and assess dialogue progress
PO Box 47535
RPO Plateau Mont-Royal
Montreal QC H2H 2S8
Brila is a registered charity (#82689 1251 RR0001) and non-for-profit organization under the Canada Revenue Agency. Our organization is nonpartisan and will not advocate any particular religious, political or moral views. The views expressed in Brila's digital magazines are strictly those of our participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organization and our staff. Our online digests are sent through our mailing list only a half dozen times per year—we vow not to clog your inbox. All the photos on this website are of our participants—no stock images here! The contents of this site should not be reproduced, captured or otherwise used without our expressed permission.