Is Matthew Lipman’s Communities of Philosophical Inquiry a Better Pedagogical Modal for Teaching Virtue Ethics?

Religion Philosophy COPI Matthew Lipman Learner Led Teaching


  • Alexander Clarke
    Writer, Teacher and Researcher, Coffee & Alex, London, England
December 3, 2021


This article seeks to propose an alternative pedagogical modal for teaching Aristotle's Virtue Ethics than the one used at the discussed institution. Communities of Philosophical Inquiry (COPI), a pedagogical modal developed by Matthew Lipman, contains elements often associated with learner-led teaching. The COPI lesson is thought to build on a value of community as defined by Lipman, which should aid learners with expressing their opinions and strengthen inclusivity. By increasing learners' autonomy, a discussion between learner to learner is thought to be more likely to take place, and when discussion takes place learning is thought to be more likely to occur. De Bono's Hats are used to scaffold the question-making task included in the COPI lesson. To measure if learning took place or not, it is suggested that a colleague observes the lesson as it is conducted and fills in a tally chart, based on The Classroom Practices Record. The tally chart categorizes critical thinking with De Bono's Hats, calculating the variety and frequency of questions used. This creates a means to compare the COPI lesson with the institution's lesson plan to see which is more likely to facilitate learning. Gibbs' Reflective Modal is employed for evaluation and analysis, providing a means of improving upon the findings.