VAPS Newsletter

12 October 2018
Term 4 2018
Events Calendar
Philosothon Grants
VAPS Conference - Scienceworks In-Action Day
VAPS Conference
Secondary Philosothon
Teacher Training
Schools Workshops
Philosophy in Schools Readings
Victorian Association of Philosophy in Schools

Events Calendar


Sunday 28th October 

Ethical Capabilities Workshop


Thursday 15th November

Middle Years Philosothon (Melbourne Museum)

Sunday 18th November

Advanced Practice Workshop (Day 1)

Monday 19th November

Advanced Practice Workshop (Day 2)

Tuesday 20th November

Advanced Practice Workshop (Day 3)


Philosothon Grants


Australian Philosothons have recently received a boost in funding after being awarded the Templestone Grant. Students, teachers, and schools can access this funding to attend philosothons by applying directly to FAPSA here.



VAPS has also received funding from the Department of Education to support regional and remote schools to access philosophy events. 

Funding is available to attend all VAPS events, including Philosothons, the VAPS conference, Level 1 training, and the advanced practice workshop in November. 

All regional and rural teachers can apply for grants for the upcoming Advanced Practice workshop, Ethical Capabilities Workshop, and Middle Years Philosothon. We will lose the grant money  we don't use at the end of this year, so all options for funding will be considered. 

For more information, contact the treasurer here.

We return any unused grant money at the end of the year, so all options for funding will be considered.


VAPS Conference - Scienceworks In-Action Day

VAPS Conference: Cultivating Curiosity: Philosophy and STEM


The first day of the 2018 VAPS conference kicked off with an in-action Day at Scienceworks Museum in Spotswood on Thursday 13th September.

We had 30 eager students ready to engage in a science-focussed philosophical community of inquiry. We had two groups of 15 students, each group paired with an expert facilitator. One with Dr. Tim Sprod, and one with Prof. Rob Wilson.


The students engaged in two communities on inquiry. The first of which used a stimulus chosen by each of our facilitators.

Rob chose an exhibit which allows students to be in a room and create sounds which then affected the lighting of the room. The purpose of which was to see how sound and light could affect your mood, e.g. what happened when scary sounds came on and all the lights turned dark red?

Tim chose to work with a display about artificial intelligence and also CSIRAC, the fourth computer ever created, which is a recent acquisition for Scienceworks  You can see a recording of Tim's group below.

The second stimulus was the same for both groups. Everyone went to see a planetarium show about Earth's place in the universe. Both groups then split off and conducted separate communities of inquiry about this stimulus.


Dr. Tim Sprod Facilitating a session at Scienceworks

Recordings of both of Tim's sessions are available on the VAPS website and also on youtube.








VAPS Conference

VAPS Conference: Cultivating Curiosity: Philosophy and STEM


The Biennial VAPS conference ran from 13-15th of September

The theme for this year focussed on the role of philosophy in STEM areas.


The community of inquiry stream included many spectacular talks from experienced and innovative educators. 

These included the VAPS launch of the Ethical Capability resources (which will be online soon). These resources contain workshops, tool kits, trails, and frameworks for the teaching and assessment of the Ethical Capability. We had presenters from Melbourne Zoo, who now have an ethical trail up and running. We have also ethics trails at the State Library, Melbourne Museum, Barrinja Cultural Centre, Monash Gallery of Art, and the Jewish Holocaust Museum.


VAPS celebrated the achievements of three primary schools with Lighthouse Awards. Brunswick East PS, Serpell PS, and Brighton PS. These awards are in recognition of the partnership between these schools and VAPS in developing programs of philosophical inquiry at their schools. All of these schools are beginning to, or have already, embedded philosophy across their entire school. They also have a number of teachers and executive staff who have completed Level 1 VAPS training, and some staff who have completed Level 2 VAPS training. VAPS supports the philosophical work these schools and doing throughout their journey, and looks forward to more contributions from them in the future.


VAPS Committee member Dr. Harry Galatis also introduced participants to Patrick Griffin’s developmental approach to learning and assessment, favoured at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education and which has informed VAPS CoI and other training programs.


Monica Bini, Head of Capabilities at VCAA, presented on the the teaching and assessing of the capabilities. The four capabilities, listed below, have explicit teaching requirements and schools are now required to assess students against these capabilities. All four capabilities have components that can be developed through philosophical inquiry. Monica presented strategies and examples for how these could be addressed through both philosophy and STEM.

Critical & Creative Thinking

Ethical Capability

Personal and Social Capability

Intercultural Capability


Secondary Philosothon

The Secondary Philosothon was held on Thursday the 30th of August at the Ballarat Grammar City Site


All schools and students participated admirably and it was great to see some new schools in attendance as well as some regular schools who have been coming for years.


The school results of the secondary philosothon are as follows:

1st: Ballarat Grammar School

2nd: Kind David School

3rd: MacRobertson High School


The individual students recognitions from the night included:

Judges and Facilitators Recognition:

Lucas - Ballarat Grammar

Diya - MacRobertson High Schol

Peer Recognition:

Max - Scotch College


Congratulations to all who participated, and we look forward to seeing you all next year!
















Students participated in four rounds of philosophical communities of inquiry and awarded points in the following categories:


Critical Thinking: including understanding, arguing, evaluating, challenging,  providing counterexamples, identifying assumptions 

Creative Thinking: including contributing original ideas, making links, providing examples, constructing analogies, providing thought experiments

Collaborative Thinking: including engaging appropriately, encouraging peers, showing intellectual humility, building on others' ideas, showing intellectual courage.


The four stimulus items for this year were:

Round 1: Ethics > Environmental Ethics

Round 2: Metaphysics > Personhood and the Brain

Round 3: Aesthetics > Bringing Arts to Life

Round 4: Epistemology > Epistemic Injustice in Education


You can access the stimuli through google drive here.


Teacher Training

Introductory Certificate (level 1) 

Semester 2 Level 1 is postponed. The next training will be Term 1, 2019.


Advanced Practice Certificate (level 2)

Over three days, from 18-20 November, VAPS will be running an Advanced Practice Certificate. 

This course is designed to support educators who wish to implement the Philosophy programs in schools by extending their skills as facilitators of Philosophical Communities of Inquiry. 

Successful participants will be given the opportunity to consolidate their skills in the facilitation of the philosophical community of inquiry with schools students, including 'tools for navigating the inquiry pathway and the development of classroom materials. It will also assist you to plan for, integrate, and assess for the new Ethical Capability in classroom learning.

Perquisites for the course are that participants have competed Level 1 Philosophy in Schools training or have an honours degree in Philosophy, AND a minimum of six months regular practical experience teaching philosophy.

To prepare for this training, participants will be expected to complete a number of readings prior to commencement and submit a reflective journal.


Presenter Details

Dr. Harry Galatis

coordinates the Master of Teaching (Primary) program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He lectures in Philosophy of Education and hold a PhD in Moral Philosophy from the University of Melbourne.


Jill Howells:

is an educator with a long history in Philosophy for Children. She has been recently appointed Acting Principal at Coburg North Primary School. Before that she was Assistant Principal at Brunswick East Primary School (BEPS). She completed her Level 1 training in 2003 and introduced Philosophy for Children to the school. She completed her Level 2 training in 2006. Philosophy for Children is now threaded through the learning the takes place at BEPS and underpins the school's values. All students participate in regular Philosophy for Children sessions. Jill has mentored, coached, and led professional learning sessions for teachers in Philosophy for Children.


Dr. Janette Poulton

has been active in promoting philosophy in schools for over two decades. She is employed as the Academic Coordinator of the School of Education and Arts at MIT and lectures to primary school pre-service teachers. She is the Education and Innovations Officer for VAPS and as such is responsible for curriculum development, events, and training of presenters.


Emmanuel Skoutas

is an experienced Philosophy teacher and is currently an Assistant Principal at Camberwell High School. He has a special interest in the ethical pedagogy of facilitating dialogical philosophy inquiry in the classroom. He regularly runs Philosophy in the Classroom teacher professional development with teachers across Melbourne.


Bonnie Zuidland

is a lead teacher in her school in the Dandenong Rangers where she teaches philosophy from grades 7-12. She is currently chair of VAPS. She has completed Level 1 & 2 Philosophy in schools training and has completed an apprenticeship as practitioner with VAPS and FAPSA.




Please see our website and calendar for full details about venues, times, and registrations for all events.

Please contact our Education Officer for an inquiries.

Schools Workshops

Ethical Capability School Workshops

WORKSHOP 1 - Introduction to the Ethical Capability Curriculum (1 Hour)


This 1 hour workshop is an introduction to the Ethical Capability curriculum via a hands-on interactive exploration of an ethical concept using tools from the toolkits through the pedagogical approach of Community of Inquiry.


WORKSHOP 2 - Implementation of the Ethical Capability Curriculum (6.5 Hours)

This 1 day workshop supports teachers to plan their Ethical Capability curriculum by taking them through the three stages of planning. At each stage participants are taken through an exploration, using tools from the toolkit and modelling the practice of Community of Inquiry, of an ethical issue. Participants explore and experience how to use the toolkit to explore conceptual understanding and ethical decision making. At each stage teachers are provided with time to reflect on the implementation of the curriculum in their own classroom.


WORKSHOP 3 - Implementation of the Ethical Capability Toolkit (6.5 Hours)

This one day workshop supports teachers in developing their toolkit for their own classroom.


WORKSHOP 4 - Practicing Ethical Capability in Context (6.5 Hours)

Is a one-day training program that familiarises participants with the EC curriculum and gives them the experience of thinking together and learning within a Community of Inquiry in a public place.


WORKSHOP 5 - A developmental Approach to Assessment and Reporting of the Ethical Capability (12 Hours)

This workshop introduces practitioners to using a developmental approach to learning and assessment. Focussing on the learning intentions and achievement standards outlined in the Ethical Capability, participants

will learn to gather appropriate data and create rubrics useful for their teaching context.


This training meets AITSL standards for PD requirements for Pre-service, Graduate and Proficient teachers in relation to professional development supporting the implementation of the Ethical Capability in the Victorian Curriculum Levels F-10.


Please see our website and calendar for full details about venues, times, and registrations for all events.

Please contact our Education Officer for an inquiries.


VCE Events


VCE Network Meetings

Saturday 13th October

Chief Examiner's Report


The Chief Examiner's Report from 2017 is now available. Please find it here.


The new edition of the Unit 3 and 4 Text book is in the process of being published and will be available for 2019


2019 will bring with it a new study design. Get your head around it early here. Also have a look at the new 2019 prescribed texts here


Please see our website and calendar for full details about venues, times, and registrations for all events.

Please join the VAPS VCE google group here.

VCE Network Leaders can be emailed below:






Bookings are still being taken for:

Middle Years Philosothon at Melbourne Museum on the 15th of November for students from years 5 - 8.

This philosothon will use the new Nelson Madela exhibition at the museum. 


For more details please contact the Philosothon Coordinator here 

Facilitators are needed for all philosothons.

This is a chance to visit the exhibit for free and gain some valuable professional development experience.  You will love it!


If you are interested, please fill out this short form or contact the education officer here.


Our upcoming Introductory Certificate (level 1) has been postponed for semester 2. The next training will be early 2019.

Registration forms can be found here.


Our Advanced Practice Certificate (level 2) for Philosophy in Schools will take place between 18 - 20 Nov. 


For more information, please contact our Education Officer here.


Philosophy in Schools Readings

Tim Sprod - Double Trouble: Numerous Puzzles


This article discusses ways to use one of Phillip Cam's philosophical puzzles titled 'Double Trouble'. It contains an analysis of the story, including the philosophical background to the main ideas and discussion ideas for using the story. It provides readers with an introduction to some of the central concepts and how to used them when facilitating a philosopcial community of inquiry. 


You can read the full article here.








Chair: Bonnie Zuidland (Email) 

Deputy-Chair: Dr Harry Galatis (Email)

Secretary: Lucas McGauran (Email)

Treasurer: Ben Kilby (Email)



Education and Innovations Officer: Dr Janette Poulton (Email)

Webmaster: Julian Lowndes (Email)

Social Media and Publications Officer: Tristan Hill (Email)

Membership Officer: Ben Kilby (Email)


VAPS Newsletter
Level One Rego Sem 2- 2018 registration form (1).docx
Advanced Practice Worrkshop 2018 (2).pdf
Advanced Practice Worrkshop 2018 (2).pdf
Advanced Practice Worrkshop 2018 (2).pdf