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The Blind Painter Philosophy for kids

By: Rycha Susanto

Hello!
What is philosophy?
Um, what?
Relax.
This won’t be another History lesson, Pals!

Read through, and you’ll find a fun family activity related to philosophy.
‘Philosophy’ and ‘fun’ do not get along, do they?
They do! You’ll see.

The word ‘philosophy’ comes from the Greek, meaning ‘love of wisdom’. In ancient times, philosophy was understood as the search for wisdom. Many of the concepts philosophers explore have been examined for thousands of years.
Although it is one of the oldest academic disciplines, traditionally philosophy has not been considered a subject for children. Yet, in many ways, young people are natural philosophers.
They ask philosophical questions and are curious about philosophical issues:
How do we know things?
What is beauty?
How are the mind and body connected?
Young people—you—do not need to learn philosophy; it is something you do!

Philosophy explores fundamental questions about the world and ourselves, and is therefore not restricted to any particular subject matter.
What characterizes a philosophical question is not what it is about, but at what level it is asked.
For example, someone might ask if green spaces will add the beauty of the city.
A philosopher will ask, “What is beauty?”
Philosophy demonstrates that some of the simplest questions we ask are also the most difficult to answer.

The reason it’s important for children to do philosophy in conversational style is
firstly, to get them to respond to problems they encounter.
Secondly, to reflect on those problems,
and to reason about them and then,
most importantly, to reevaluate.
Those are the four Rs of philosophy:
Respond,
Reflect,
Reason and
Reevaluate. 

Case study 1:
About fairness.
Your younger brother is getting more attention from your mother.
Then you Respond to it by making a judgement and to later giving responses to those with the same or opposing ideas.
When you Reflect, you might think your parent is being fair, Reason: because younger ones need that attention. On the other hand, you might think that is unfair, Reason: because fairness is to do with equal share and equal treatment.
Straightaway there is a conflict which leads to the philosophical question: What exactly fairness is?
As you share your ideas with others and others let you know how they reflect and reason to the situation, you Reevaluate your judgment.

Case study 2:
Philosophy in a donut.
There is this popular philosophical question about this ring-shaped snack.
Does the hole in the donut exist?
If it does not, is it a donut after all?
If it does, the hole is nothing. Is nothingness a something?
So?
By studying philosophy, we address the fundamental, the basic question and triggering something beyond the question itself.
This is the skill to self-discovery.
It teaches critical thinking, close reading, clear writing, and logical analysis. You will be able to spot on bad reasonings and avoid them in your writing or oral conversations.
It helps you enhance our ability to solve problems, your communication skills, your persuasive powers, and your writing skills.

What about the blind painter?
When we do philosophy, it’s very important that we learn to express ourselves with clarity, to say what we mean in a way that others can understand us. It’s also vital that we listen actively: we need to ask questions when we don’t understand, to rephrase and restate what others say, and to engage in dialogue with our fellow philosophers in order to advance mutual understanding.
The Blind Painter is an activity you can try with your classmates, friends or family to exercise your communication skills.
These are, first, the ability to communicate clearly and second, the ability to listen actively.

This is how to play it.
Two students and one judge.

The judge has prepared a drawing only Student A is allowed to see.
Student A must help Student B recreate the drawing shown by the judge.
Student A cannot see Student’s B drawing until the session ends, so she cannot correct Student’s B mistakes or misinterpretation.

Student B is the Blind Painter. The good news is, even the painter is blind, he is not deaf.
He must recreate the drawing by listening to the instructions given by Student A.
He can draw with his eyes open; he is only blind to the judge’s drawing.

This activity offers an opportunity for students to practice those two skills—communicating clearly and listening actively—in a way that’s fun, but which also gives them an authentic taste of what it’s like to communicate effectively—and ineffectively, too, for that matter.

What are we waiting for?
Who’s going to be the Blind Painter?

It’s always fun to be the first ‘it’!

References