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Philosophical answers

Our panel of experts has now been enlarged to include, alongside leading university academics, a number of experienced secondary level teachers of philosophy from across the country. This means that your questions can be answered by teachers who are well practised in the problems of teaching philosophy at this level and have developed useful solutions which they can share with you. Sending in your question is straightforward. Just click on the 'Ask a question' tab at the top and follow the simple instructions provided. We will get your answer to you as quickly as possible. 

Who should use this site?

This site is intended to help those teaching philosophy in schools. It is addressed to those teaching the A and AS levels in philosophy and philosophy-related parts of GCSE, A and AS level Religious Studies. (Although we are primarily here to help teachers, we may accept questions from pupils if they are sensible and relevant to secondary school philosophy as taught in the UK.)

How the site works

Questions from teachers will be passed to a panel of university level teachers of philosophy who are competent to answer them and willing to do so fairly promptly. The panel is chosen by the British Philosophical Association.

Before asking a question, go to the banked questions link and see whether what you want to know is already addressed. Please do not ask a second question until the first has been answered. If you would like to obtain further clarification regarding the answer you have been given, please submit this request in the form of a new question.

Make sure your question is clear and specific and if you have more than one question, send them in different postings.

You may wish to ask for help in:

  • interpreting passages from set texts associated with a syllabus
  • planning a lesson on a topic associated with examinations and submitted course work
  • finding reference material with which to deepen their understanding of a subject (e.g. a branch of the theory of knowledge or of the philosophy of mind)

Panel members are not available for second opinions on examination board assessments of student work. Nor will they try to second-guess the intentions of examiners or syllabus writers. If you need the opinion of an examiner, you should visit the web site of the examination board concerned.

Remember to visit our resource bank. (Scroll down for teaching resources.)

Hints

The more specific a question is, the better.

In the case of lesson plans, it is best to say how you might approach a topic and invite comment. Do not ask a panellist to compose a lesson-plan for you.

How long does it take?

The panel is staffed by volunteers, and although every effort is made to answer promptly, answers may take several days to appear.

Suggestions

Email any suggestions to answers@bpa.ac.uk. Replies to suggestions will not normally be made, but we appreciate them!