VAPS Newsletter

17 July 2019
Issue Three
Events Calendar
Primary Philosothon
Regional & Rural Schools
Philosothon Grants
Australasian Philosothon
Teacher Professional Learning
Schools Workshops
Philosophy in Schools Readings
Victorian Association of Philosophy in Schools
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Events Calendar


Thursday 18th July

Middle Years Philosothon (Immigration Museum)

Friday 26th July

Ethics Trail PD - Melbourne Zoo


Sunday 4th August

Community of Inquiry Level 1 Training (day 1)

Tuesday 13th August

Secondary Philosothon (Wesley College)

Sunday 18th August

Community of Inquiry Level 1 Training (day 2)


Sunday 1st September

Community of Inquiry Level 1 Training (day 3)

Thursday 12th September

Middle Years Philosothon (Scienceworks) 

Sunday 15th September

VCE Unit 4 Forum


1st - 3rd October

Australasian Philosothon - Radford College, Canberra

Friday 18th October

Ethics Trail PD - Melbourne Zoo


21st November

Middle Years Philosothon (Melbourne Museum)



VAPS has for philosothons upcoming in the second half of the year.


Middle Years Philosothon (years 5-8) at Scienceworks Museum (12th Sep)

Middle Years Philosothon (year 5-8) at Melbourne Museum (21st Nov)

Secondary Philosothon (years 8-11) at Wesley College (StK) (13th Aug)


All Primary & Middle years Philosothons are 10 students per school.

The Secondary Philosothon comprises teams of 8 students per school: 

2x year 8, 2x year 9, 2x year 10, 2x year 11.

(Fewer students per school can be arranged by negotiation).


For more details or to register interest in attending, please contact the Philosothon Coordinator here.


Facilitators are needed for all philosothons.

This is a chance to visit the exhibits for free and gain some valuable professional development experience conducting philosophical communities of inquiry with students.  You will love it!


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


Introduction to the Community of Inquiry Training will begin for Semester 2 on the 4th of August.

Registration forms can be found here.

More details can be found here.


Bookings are also being taken for the Semester 2 training starting on 4th August. 


For more information, please contact our Education Officer here.







Primary Philosothon

Primary Philosothons at NGV Recap

On 14th June, VAPS partnered with the National Gallery of Victoria to deliver our Primary Years Philosothon, now in its 7th year.  120 students in years 3 to 6 from 12 different schools came together to collaborate philosophically.


Students from different schools were grouped together and walked around to three chosen artworks. At each site, a group of ten students and a facilitator participated in a philosophical community of inquiry about the big ideas that students were struck by in the artwork.


After the three communities of inquiry, students returned to their school groups for a debrief and to collect all the ideas each student had been discussing in their various philosothon groups.


Please see our philosothons page for other upcoming philosothons, including how to register students or to participate as a facilitator.

Moonee Ponds West PS - Our First Philosothon

Students in years 3 & 4 from Moonee Ponds West Primary School participated in their very first philosothon experience. These ten students were generous enough to provide us with feedback.


Hi, I’m Samuel. Hi, I’m Charlie.

We looked at some sculptures of people that were black all over. They were coloured black and then covered in black rope. It looked creepy. We talked about sustainability and how the creator re-used ropes to create the art instead of throwing them away. We also talked about their genders and we talked about how the sculptures made us feel. It made us feel creeped out! There were two people, the one relaxing was male, and the one standing in action was female. We thought about why this might be.


Hi, I’m Clem, and I’m Michael. 

We saw an artwork of the Olympic Games when people were being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. We discussed who gets to make the rights that people have. The Olympic Games was one of the only racially neutral things in history, because people all over the world could compete. But unfortunately, sometimes the athletes were discriminated against based on the colour of their skin, and that’s what the artwork we saw was based on. Nowadays, the system is updated and everyone gets a fair go. We went on to discuss who gets to make these rules and laws, and thought about if the government should make the rules that we all have to follow.


Hi, I’m Ellie and I’m Meiya.

We got to see three different kinds of paintings and we are going to tell you about what we discussed. We were at our last painting. We sat in a circle around the painting when a lady told us she was the artist. We had a big conversation about the painting. We all thought it could have something to do with feelings and emotions. When we were finished, the artist Rosaline told us she was inspired by a flower. We thought about how the artist would be feeling as she was inspired by the flower.


Hi, I’m Emily. Hi, I’m Olivia.

One of our paintings was a portrait of a man looking down a hill. Our discussion was about friendship, and how we might know what the man in the painting was thinking. First, we talked about the qualities of being  a friend. We decided the qualities of a friend are: loyalty, laughter, kindness, trust, honest, and generosity. We also talked about the difference between knowing someone, and being a friend with someone. We decided you can be friends with someone you just met, if you take the time to get to know them. Our third painting was a colourful painting. We discussed that the painting was showing different emotions. We also discussed that anger can sometimes be good, and sometimes be bad. And that it was hard to decide if an emotion was ever good or bad. We also discussed whether someone could feel different emotions at the same time, for example, happy and sad at the same time.


Hi, I’m Aleda and I’m Alannah.

At the NGV we saw a wonderful abstract artwork. We had a big philosophical discussion about what it meant and what it symbolised. The painting was very colourful. Some lines were straight and some were curved and looked like ripped paper. We discussed how the straight lines made us feel orderly and sensible. The curved lines made us feel free, creative, and imaginative. We concluded that sometimes you need to be orderly and sometimes you need to be free. That’s what we thought of when we looked at the painting.


We would like to thank the organisers of the philosothon. Thank you to the staff at the Victorian Association of Philosophy in Schools. And thank you to the staff at the National Gallery of Victoria.

We hope we get to go back soon!


Regional & Rural Schools

VAPS Philosophical Practice Officer

VAPS has implemented a new position to assist regional and rural schools with incorporating philosophical inquiry into their schools.


The Philosophical Practice Officer is available to visit schools seeking to build philosophical inquiry into their school's practice.


VAPS has secured grant money to assist regional and rural schools thanks to the Department of Education. Regional and Rural schools will receive at 75% discount of all costs (which will be taken from the grant money).





For more information, contact the treasurer here.

Philosophical Practice Officer's Offerings

                                                           (75% discount for Regional or Rural Schools)

TYPE                                                                                                                     COST (dis)

School Visit Base Fee (0-2 hours from Melb)                                       $100 ($25)

School Visit Base Fee (2+ hours from Melb)                                        $250 ($63)


School Day in Class (demonstrations; mentoring; planning)     $500 ($125)

After School PL (1 Hour)                                                                             $400 ($100)

Whole Day PL                                                                                                $1200 ($300)


*Combinations of sessions available

*These sessions can be made available to non-regional or rural school for the full fee upon request.


For more information, contact the treasurer here.


VCE Network

As champions of our VCE network, Bonnie & Tristan have worked continually on keeping this network running at a high standard. Given that they have both retired from running this network, we would invite other VCE teachers to take a more central role. Some of our initial thinking is to instigate roving VCE network meetings, with various VCE Philosophy teachers putting their hand up to host at their school once or more throughout the year.

If you are interested in stepping into a more prominent role within our VCE Philosophy network, please get in touch with our Education Officer here.


VCE Network Meetings will be organised through our Google Group. Please request to join here.

VCE Forums

Sunday September 15 at University of Melbourne

VCE Unit 4 Forum

Room, 230 Melbourne Graduate School of Education 234 Queensberry St, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia




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


The 2019 exam specifications are available here.


2019 will bring with it a new study design. Get your head around it 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.



Philosothon Grants


VAPS has 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, and Level 1 training.


All regional and rural teachers and schools can apply for grants for upcoming philosothons this year or any of the trainings this year

For more information, contact the treasurer here.


Australasian Philosothon

Australasian Philosothon 2019

This year Radford College in Canberra is hosting the 8th FAPSA Australasian Philosothon between the 1st & 3rd of October. There are 20 schools participating in the event, each qualifying team having been successful in their local Philosothon. 


Anyone experienced individual wishing to judge can apply can contact Matthew Wills here and also click here to apply for travel funding. 


The Head judge this year is Professor Stephan Millett and we have several other prominent figures participating including Dr Jen Glaser and Professor Rob Wilson. 


Congratulations to our two Victorians schools who will be participating in the Australasian Philosothon after their quality contributions at the 2018 VAPS Secondary Philosothon: Ballarat Grammar School & MacRobertson High School.



Ballarat Grammar School VIC
Cavandish Rd High School QLD
Churchie QLD
Georgiana Molloy Anglican School  WA
Lindisfarne  NSW
MacRobertson High School VIC
Meriden NSW
Methodist Ladies College WA
Nth Sydney Girls High School NSW
Prince Alfred College SA
Scotch College WA
Seymour College SA
St Andrew Cathedral School NSW
St Marks ACS WA
St Patrick's College NSW
St Peters Girls School SA
The Hutchins School TAS

Teacher Professional Learning

Teacher Professional Development with Zoos Victoria Ethics and Conservation: Exploring the ethics trails at the Melbourne Zoo

If you’re a Levels 3- 10 teacher this professional development day is for you. You’ll be able to preview the Melbourne Zoo Ethics Trails and case studies and get the chance to develop your competency for teaching ethical issues in an engaging and non-formal education setting.


The professional development will be delivered by experts in the field of philosophy and ethics education from VAPS (Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools) in partnership with the Melbourne Zoo Learning Experience Team.


The content of the day will be based on the new Ethics Trail and self-guided program, Ethics and Conservation, which has been specifically developed for the Melbourne Zoo.


Primary and Secondary teachers can attend this free professional development day at Melbourne Zoo to support their teaching and learning practice in the Victorian Curriculum area of Ethical Capability.



Time: 9.30am – 3.30pm

Location: Melbourne Zoo

Cost: FREE for Zoos Victoria members ($70 to join as a teacher member) 


For bookings call 1300 966 784


  • Friday 3rd May (Term 2)
  • Friday 26th July (Term 3)
  • Friday 18th October (Term 4)


Download the teacher and student notes for years 3/4, 5/6. 7/8, 9/10, and VCE.

You can find additional resources and support at Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools.


More details available at the Zoo website.

*Free with a Zoos Teacher Membership.

Critical & Creative Thinking Webinar

Monica Bini from VCAA will be hosting a webinar on 22 August focussed on the Critical & Creative Thinking Capability.


The VCAA is hosting a professional learning session for teachers that will provide an overview of what is involved in the teaching and assessment of the metacognition strand of Critical and Creative Thinking.  The webinar will include:

  • An overview of thinking processes, learning strategies and problem-solving  
  • Tips on how to explicitly teach metacognition
  • Discussion of assessment of metacognition.

Registration can be found here:

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.

Philosophy in Schools Readings

Roger Sutcliffe | No philosophy - No Humanity | TEDxWarwick


Roger’s specialist areas are Philosophical / Dialogical Teaching, Inquiry-led Learning, Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning, Values Education and Philosophy for Global Citizenship. His talk centres around the ideas of expressing good ideas well and encouraging Communities of Inquiry to engage citizens. Roger was one of the founder members of SAPERE, the leading UK charity for promoting Philosophy for Children (P4C), and was Chair from 1996 until 2003. In the same year he was elected President of ICPIC, the international equivalent of SAPERE. Roger’s specialist areas are Philosophical / Dialogical Teaching, Inquiry-led Learning, Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning, Values Education and Philosophy for Global Citizenship. He is about to publish Thinking Moves A – Z, a comprehensive scheme for the teaching of thinking.






Chair: Dr Harry Galatis (Email)

Deputy-Chair: Jill Howells (Email)

Secretary: Marilyn Wiber (Email)

Treasurer: Ben Kilby (Email)



Education and Innovations Officer: Dr Janette Poulton (Email)

Membership Officer: Ben Kilby (Email)

Philosophical Practice Officer: Ben Kilby (Email)

VAPS Newsletter