Modeling the minds of children to think philosophically: Content
analysis of stories for children
Speaking time: Friday, 22 September 2006, 14h00-15h30
Mehri Parirokh, Ph.D. , Assistant Prof., Department of
Library and Information Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad,
Iran, Contact M.
Rahmatollah Fattahi, Ph.D., Associate Prof., Department of
Library and Information Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad,
Iran, Contact R.
Zohreh Parirokh, writer and illustrator of children's
stories in Iran, Contact
Zahra Majdi, librarian at the Central Library, Ferdowsi
University of Mashhad, Iran, Contact M. Zahra
Philosophy, according to Lipman, the originator of philosophy for
children, is considered as a discipline which can be integrated into
the educational life of children and make them knowledgeable.
Philosophy encourages logical thinking and provides higher order of
thinking and self-directed thinking. This can be a true investment
for any society. However, there are a lot of debates about whether
philosophy can be taught to children. Children's stories are tools
for learning PT, i.e., to learn how to generate concepts, how to
judge, how to base judgments on reasons, how to think and to be
knowledgeable. By combining emotion with curiosity, creativity and
deep understanding, stories can be powerful tools for teaching PT.
Through different approaches, stories help children to analyze the
problems from different perspectives and enhance self-criticism.
This will result in the modification of their behavior, believes and
values and the development of their understanding of life.
This research focuses on the content of children's stories as a
tool for developing PT in children. In the first part of the paper,
the thinking model which promotes PT in children is discussed. The
elements in children's stories which enhance the so-called thinking
model will be described in the second part. Examples are based on a
content analysis carried out on children's stories published in Iran
during the period of 1991-2003 for children between 7-12 years old.
There are a lot of debates about whether children should learn
PT. Those who believe it is not necessary (e.g., Piaget 1933),
specify certain age (after the age of 11 or 12 years) for learning
how to think philosophically. Those who realize that it is necessary
for children (e.g., Matthews 1980; Fisher 1998, Lipman 1991) believe
that children are capable of PT even from preschool age. However, as
Astington (1993) and Gopnik, et al. (1999) state, there is a growing
body of psychological research suggesting that Piaget's account
seriously underestimates children's cognitive abilities. Following
this belief, this paper attempts to find out theoretically and
empirically how children can be taught to think philosophically
through children's stories. It is not intended to discuss in detail
the methods and approaches to teaching of PT to children; rather,
the focus is on children’s stories as tools for teaching such kind
of thinking. The theoretical part of discussion answers to questions
such as what kind of thinking is PT, which elements can help and
represent thinking philosophically. The empirical part of the
discussion identifies philosophical elements in the children's
stories published during 1991-2004 in Iran. The conclusion and
trends for future research are the last part of discussion.
What is PT and how can we philosophize
Let’s define what do we mean by PT and then analyze its elements.
According to Oxford Companion to Philosophy (OCP), philosophy is
critical thinking. To be convinced that this definition is
acceptable, we should define critical thinking. Lipman (1991, 118)
calls critical thinking “intellectual judgment”, “Excellent
judgment”, and “cognitive accountability”. By judgment he means good
judgment or wise judgment, the judgment which takes everything
relevant into account. Since, judgment is based on criteria,
critical thinking depends on criteria or rules and principles which
make judgments possible. There is, therefore, close relationship
between judgment, criteria and critical thinking.
The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy considers philosophy
as "the most fundamental and general concepts and principles
involved in thought, action and reality". It can therefore be
inferred that critical thinking is the approach used in PT for
assessing principles and understanding concepts. On the other hand,
in this dictionary, philosophy is considered as "rational enquiry,
or enquiry guided by the canons of rationality". Fisher (2006)
defines PT or philosophical intelligence as the capacity to ask and
seek answers to existential questions.
Critical thinking, on the other hand is enquiry about truth, what
to do, what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe.
Questioning and enquiry are at core of thinking critically. Lipman
(1991) states that when a child ask “why” he/she is trying to
philosophize. It can be concluded that PT is based on critical
enquiry. Or, critical thinking is a tool for PT. By teaching
critical thinking children can learn how to think philosophically.
Critical thinking is a kind of thinking that deals with reasoning
and assessing according to one’s reason. In justifying teaching of
critical thinking, Siegel (1988 quoted in Bailin 1994, 1206) states
that critical thinking is crucial for fostering independence in
judgment required for self sufficiency in adulthood. It can be
inferred that critical thinking is the basis for evaluation,
judgment, inference, and making decisions.
In critical thinking, when we ask why, we are asking for reason
for a behavior or idea. This kind of thinking, therefore, deals with
reason, judgment and facts. In other words, in critical thinking as
well as in PT, reasoning is the core element.
Why children should think philosophically
In everyday life we are confronted with a lot of basic questions
about life, love, death and so on. The ability to find answers to
our questions can be a stimulus for more questions and answers.
Questions emerge from PT ability. Answers are innovative thoughts,
knowledge, findings and experiences. These answers enrich our
knowledge base. Rich knowledge base is an encouragement for asking
deep questions. It is commonly accepted that knowledgeable people
ask more questions. Rich knowledge base also supports personal and
professional success of individuals.
According to Philip Smith (quoted in Khosrou Nejad 2005), PT is
characterized by coherence, deep understanding and intellectual
flexibility. By coherence he points to the process of thinking by
which philosopher look at a problem from different perspective. In
other words, they are multidimensional thinkers. Deep understanding
process deals with epistemological understanding of a phenomenon.
This process employs analytical thinking by which a particular
entity is turned into parts. Analytical thinking help discover the
relationship between different parts as well as the relationship
between this entity and related entities. This approach provides
deep understanding or deep learning. Intellectual flexibility is a
concept which involves correction, change, completion and agreement.
In other words, philosophers do not rely on abstract ideas in their
judgment, but through inductive reasoning and facts they can draw
conclusions and reject or accept hypotheses. Intellectual
flexibility is crucial characteristics for children who, according
to Piaget are self-centered. Psychologists call this characteristic
centrism. Centrism is defined as: "A young child's tendency to focus
only on his or her own perspective of a specific object and a
failure to understand that others may see things differently."
(Psychology…2004). It does not let children to develop
intellectually. Intellectual flexibility helps them to look at a
problem from different perspective and assess it by criteria. The
consequence might be moving away from centrism to decentrism. That
is, correcting mental schema, being subjective and intellectually
PT equips children with these characteristics. Such kinds of
thinking develop habits of intelligent behavior (Fisher 2006).
McGuines (quoted in Fisher 2006), who uses thinking skills instead
of PT, relates this approach in thinking to academic achievement in
children. The results of several research projects (for example by
Dyfed 1994; Tickey and Topping 2004 and Fisher 2005a quoted in
Fisher 2006) also show the same impact of PT on children's
In this ever-changing and complex world, individuals need to
understand problems, find solution and make decisions independently.
In general, they should know how to survive. Academic achievement is
not enough for survival. Philosophical thinking helps better problem
deterrence and problem avoidance (Lipman 1991). It can be concluded
that PT brings about independence, happiness, ambitious and
prosperity. Children, therefore, deserve to be taught how to think
philosophically and benefit from its positive outcomes.
Different kinds of thinking which represent PT
In order to differentiate between different kinds of thinking
which enhance the above mentioned characteristics (that is
coherence, deep understanding and intellectual flexibility in
thinking), different approaches in thinking should be selected.
These approaches show how individuals process information in their
mind. Based on the limitation of this study, in this paper we
classify these approaches within three concepts translated into
reasoning, judgment and concept formation by Lipman (2003). He
considers these concepts crucial for teaching students how to think
Although these concepts are not independent and have some
relationships with each other, they are discussed separately in this
section. Since this study also takes the attributes of these
concepts into consideration and considers them as elements in
children's stories which can stimulate thinking and help develop PT
in children, they are also mentioned within each concept. Attributes
related to each concept are the approaches used by writers in
Concept is mental representation of a class. Everything which
constitutes the universe belongs to a class. Understanding of a
concept helps understand epistemologically an entity and its
relationship to a class and other entities. This knowledge is the
basis for determination. The relationship between concept and
determination is mentioned in the definition provided in the
Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology (1999, 170) “Concept may be
understood as a principle of classification. Something that can
guide us in determining whether an entity belongs in a given class
or does not.” Concept formation is crucial to our understanding of
everything around us. Concepts provide knowledge and criteria which
help us explain and understand other concepts, predict, make
decisions and solve problems. In early stages of life, a child has
not a clear understanding of concepts. He/she has a holistic
understanding of concepts (Ross 2000). In other words, the
understanding process dose not take into consideration particular
parts of an entity, rather it focuses on overall similarities
between that concept and earlier knowledge. Gradually, by increasing
experiences, his/her knowledge about entities and their features
increase. For increasing this knowledge base, concept learning must
be taught to the children. This, which is called concept formation
in this paper, provides criteria for understanding, comparing,
evaluating and decision making. It provides a well ground for
thinking critically, because in critical thinking process,
validation of criteria, acknowledging or evaluating is the main
concern. Concept formation, results in cognitive development, i.e.,
deep understanding of phenomena and deep learning and formulation of
criteria. Criteria can be facts, principles, values (as basis of
comparison) and countless other sorts of things. The Concept
formation ability helps students be independent in thinking
The following attributes are acknowledged for concept formation:
- Links between concepts: This refers to the cause and
effect of events, thinking and behaviors.
- Objective realism: This refers to providing a picture
of real life. Children are able to understand whatever seems
familiar to them. In other words, they internalize the events in
stories and discover relationships between concepts and their
experiences in real life.
- Formulating criteria. Understanding the reason for some
consequences help children formulate criteria and/or understand
and accept criteria or rules and principles.
Reasoning is encouraged by questions (Fisher 2006). Most of the
times when we ask questions, we are looking for a reason for doing
or believing something. According to Sternberg (2000, 70),
“reasoning involves drawing conclusions from evidence.” Evidence
based on observations, experience or experiments provides
information for driving consequences and making decisions. Reasoning
can be deductive or inductive and deals with the processing of
information. Deductive reasoning relies on general premises upon
which we make conclusions about specific events. For example, fox in
most stories is a clever but selfish character. Therefore, a general
inference would be that all foxes are selfish animals. On the other
hand, in inductive reasoning, specific features can be the basis of
holistic reasoning. In the previous example, it can be concluded
that the fox is not a pleasant character to children.
Attributes of this kind of deductive reasoning in children's
stories are acknowledged as:
Rules and regulations which provide obligations for some beliefs
and behavior, and
Judgments which are based on criteria.
In inductive reasoning, conclusions are based on facts and
observations. In this approach, it is not possible to reach a
certain logical conclusion, only more or less probable conclusion
The attributes of this kind of thinking are acknowledged as
Outcomes of behavior
The relationships between concepts, such as the relationship
between ideas and behavior and
Analyzing the concepts in a story
Judgment is making decisions and opinions upon facts and
evidence. According to Merriam Webster judgment is “the process of
forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing”. It
is, therefore, the act of judging or assessing a person, a situation
or an event and to draw conclusions. Lipman (1990) discusses about
the importance of judgment skill in children. By judgment he refers
to good judgment. He believes that good judgment relies on
“proficient reasoning skills, concept formation and translation
skills” (p. 124). Similar to concept-formation and reasoning, the
judgment process is also based on criteria. As discussed about two
previous concepts, critical thinking is also an essential component
of judgment. Attributes of this kind of thinking in children's
stories are identified as:
Difference and similarities between ideas, behavior,
above mentioned concepts and related attributes are demonstrated in
the following table which is called Thinking
Rules and regulations
Differences and similarities between
Links between concepts
Outcome of thinking and
The relationship between
Analyzing the concepts
Table (1): Thinking table: A model for acknowledging PT elements
in children’s stories
As mentioned earlier, there is a close relationship between
judgment, reasoning and concept formation. They are all based on
criteria and evidence and employ critical thinking skills. They help
shape cognition and mental schema in children. Mental schemas are
based on criteria. The more thinking approach dealing with concept
formation, the more criteria are created and is added to the mental
model of children. The more the number of criteria or cognition
development, the better environment is provided for reasoning and
making judgments. They can be called families of thinking
philosophically. Lipman (1991, 18) believes that the knowledge which
is based on means of evidence and reason is scientific knowledge. It
can be inferred that the product of concept formation, reasoning and
judgment is scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is coherent
The role of children's stories in modeling children’s mind and
Children with limited knowledge about the universe and real life
could not think philosophically. This kind of thinking should be
taught if we expect an intelligent and happy generation. Most
children are eager to read stories. Lipman (2003) acknowledges
several features for children's stories that make them interesting
to read. He believes that stories "may provide a fictional,
imaginative setting, an energetic dialogue, lively characters, a
sprightly style, animation, humor, or all of these." Stories with
such features are powerful tools for educating the concepts.
Normally, children enjoy stories which involve them by their
interesting events, processes, characters and approaches. The more
stories being capable of involving children, there will be better
stimulus for them to think. The initial efforts of Lipman, who
believes that the educational system should take into consideration
the teaching of logic to children through critical thinking, was the
creation of his first children’s novel, Harry Stottlemeier’s
Discovery (1974). He considers stories as suitable tools for
teaching PT to children.
Several elements increase the effect of philosophical stories.
Stories, which are closely related to children's experience, can
be powerful stimulus for thinking.
Group discussion sessions arranged after reading stories are
good exercise for thinking. These discussions help children have
control over stories (Sharp 2004) and they can, therefore, have
better influence on thinking skills of the reader. The reason is
that, discussion sessions provide good opportunity for children to
ask questions, to answer questions and to think.
Questioning is at the core of philosophical thinkers. Questions,
which are guided by teachers, librarian or parents, offer cognitive
challenge. Moreover, in some stories, without relying on community
enquiry, the plot, theme or events of the story itself provide
cognitive challenge. For example, "Mida and Misa", "the one who went
and the one who stayed" are stories which based on challenge between
active and passive personality. Skepticism, which represents active
personality, encourages thinking.
There is no point in reading a story if the reader has not been
confronted with the challenge of thinking about events, and their
consequences, cause and effects. In order to make stories
interesting, Lipman (1991) insists that stories must be about
children "discovering logic".
As mentioned earlier, community of enquiry which is question and
answer sessions and based on narrative approaches can also provide
an environment to stimulate children's thinking. In these narrative
meetings, children learn to form concepts, formulate criteria and
increase their ability for judgment. By moving away from centrism to
decentrism, they could change their mental model and modify their
knowledge and acquire knowledge. One of the other results of
narrative approach in reading stories and subsequent discussions is
to gain understanding along with coherence and consistency (Lipman
2003). The importance of discussion and narrative approach in
individual development has been discussed by many researchers (e.g.,
Hickmann 1998; Cooper 2000, Lipman 2003; ..).
It can be concluded from this discussion that reading suitable
children's stories followed by discussions which use narrative
approach are useful tools for children to develop PT abilities.
Based on this theoretical discussion, an exploratory study on
children's stories was undertaken. Next section is the result of
1) To what extent children's stories which published in Iran
employ elements which can enhance PT?
2) Which kind of PT is the dominant focus of children's stories
3) What subjects are the focuses of children's stories which
employ elements which can enhance PT?
4) Through which approaches children's stories employ elements
which can enhance PT?
5) What stories are more effective in teaching PT?
Research design and analysis
This exploratory research, which is based on cognitive
psychologist view, has used content analysis method. The aim of the
research is to investigate the elements in children's stories which
are capable of enhancing PT. The focus of the study is on stories
published in Iran. It is expected that the results of this study
help children's writers, researchers, librarians, parents and
teachers to become familiar with such elements and use them in
research, teaching, or discussing about the content of stories.
Population of the study
Based on the aim of the study, a research population was selected
with the following features:
Children's stories written by Iranian writers
Children's stories published in Iran, during 1991-2004
Children's stories assessed by the Children's Book Council of
Iran as suitable stories for school age students (i.e., 7-11 years
Based on above mentioned features, 133 stories were selected as
the population for this research.
Validation of data gathering instrument
“Thinking table” (TT) is an instrument for collecting data and is
a model for discovering PT elements in children's stories. The
theoretical framework of this model and the study is based on
philosophical concepts mentioned by Lipman (2003). Based on the
related literature and focus group approach, the attributes of these
concepts were identified and upon which 3 checklists were developed.
In focus group approach, several meetings were arranged for the
research team consisting: two scholars in library and information
science, who have taught children literature for several years and
have conducted several research in this discipline, one writer and
illustrator of children's stories, who is knowledgeable about the
literature on PT and literature on children and for children, and an
experienced librarian who is interested in children literature,
knows very well these documents, has control over population of this
study and has participated in conducting another research in this
discipline (Parirokh, Mehri, Madji and Zahra. Children stories; a
tool to help children to confront difficulties: A bibliotherapic
investigation on children's stories. In publication process).
The model was developed and completed through four phases. In the
first phase, the result of the initial meeting was the creation of
the first version of TT and the related checklists. In the second
phase, 50 stories were read by all members of the team. They must
acknowledge the concepts and compare them against the concepts of
the initial TT and complete the checklists. The results and
suggestions of this pilot study were discussed in another meeting
and helped construct the second version of TT. In the third phase,
based on the 2nd version of TT, all members of the research team
read and analyzed all stories and again completed the related
checklists. In the last phase, one of the scholars analyzed and
compared the suggestions and critical views of other co-researchers
about the philosophical elements in stories. The results discussed
in a meeting ended up with the last version of TT.
Each checklist is related to one concept and consists of the name
of the story and the related attributes of each philosophical
elements, and points which were assigned to the stories. In other
words, if a story had any attributes of a concept, number one was
assigned to that story in the related checklist. These numbers
reveal the availability of a concept and the related attributes in
the stories read. Numeric values are not assigned to the numbers.
These checklists were produced in Excel and were the sources for
Analysis of the collected data
In this part, some information about the population of the study
or the selected books is provided first. Then, the collected data
from the content analysis of children's stories will be discussed.
The organization of the discussion is based on research questions.
In this study, as mentioned earlier, only those stories were
analyzed that have been selected by the Children's Book Council of
Iran as suitable stories for children of 7 to 11 years old. In
general 133 stories were analyzed.
1) To what extent children's stories published in Iran employ
elements which can enhance PT?
According to the information provided in table (2), each story
may be categorized under one, two or three concepts. In other words,
a similar concept overlaps in more than one story.
Children’s stories which employ elements which
are capable of enhancing PT in children (N=136)
Table (2): children’s stories which employ elements which are
capable of enhancing PT in children (N=136)
Although for teaching PT, Sharp (2004) prefers to rely on books
which are written for this purpose, our assumption was that stories
that their purpose is not to enhance PT can to some extent involve
elements which are useful for PT. The information in table (2) shows
that stories are suitable tools for teaching PT even if teaching
philosophy is not their major purpose. As mentioned by Sharp (ibid),
we must prepare teachers who know the art and craft of PT. They can,
then, discover the related elements in stories and arrange community
of enquiry and play the role of facilitator for discussion and
argument among children. Based on table (2), the analysis of
collected data reveals that most children's stories which were
published in Iran have the capabilities to teach children how to
2) Which kind of PT is the dominant focus of children's stories
Based on information provided in tables (2) and (3), concept
formation, reasoning and judgment are elements used in development
of children's stories. In Table (3), the extents to which the
elements and the related attributes are used in children's stories
Frequency of children's stories which employ PT
elements and related attributes (N=136)
No. of stories
No. of stories
No. of stories
Rules and regulations
Outcome and thinking behavior
Differences and similarities between
Links between concepts
The relationship between thinking and
Analyzing the concepts
According to the information provided in Table (3), "links
between concepts" and "formulating criteria" are taken more into
consideration. Criteria are the basis for thinking philosophically.
It is therefore, a critical element for education PT to children.
The "relationship between concepts", not only helps understanding of
concepts, but can also help modeling the mind and formulating
concepts. For example, in the story, "who is the most powerful man",
based on the relationship between thinking and power, the story
shows that intellectual power is more important than physical power.
For formulating criteria, understanding concepts is the first step.
According to Piaget, Descartes, when teaching a complicated item is
based on previous experience, children can understand it better. In
other words, when children can discover the relationship between
their experiences and the unknown world, teaching has a better
effect. This is perhaps the main reason that 23 of stories base
their theme on events of everyday life or realism. Twenty-six of
them focus on the cognitive development of children. In these
stories, children become familiar with different jobs or changes in
the nature (e.g., the story about a brave firefighter, understanding
the desert and life in desert, or water cycle in the nature) or,
become aware of the meaning and value of war, love or honesty. This
approach is also effective for concept formation.
Within reasoning, it seems that the outcome of events or
behaviors is taken more into consideration. Facilitators of thinking
philosophically can base a lot of questions on cause and effects of
events and behavior or questioning the thinking models of the
character/s of stories. In analyzing the consequences of events and
also, through the second attribute, i.e., "analyzing the concepts",
which received the highest scores; critical thinking is the core
activity. Based on the previous discussion, critical thinking is
crucial for thinking philosophically. The "relationship between
thinking and behavior" and "classification" of entities which also
provide well ground for thinking are not very much taken into
consideration in children's stories.
Judgment is another element useful for thinking philosophically.
However, it seems that this concept has not extensively been
employed in their stories. Judgment is possible through using
criteria which children are well aware of. The analysis shows that
only 2 stories used this approach. Demonstration of differences and
similarities, too, is another approach which can help decide.
Eighteen stories incorporated this approach. For example, in the
story of the friendship between mouse and frog shows that although
they have some similar interests, they are different creatures with
Although concept formation and reasoning are critical elements in
PT, children should now be familiar with judgment skills. Judgment
is the last member of the family of thinking which benefit from the
results of the two other members.
3) What subjects are the focuses of children's stories employing
elements which can enhance PT?
This question is formulated to acknowledge through which
approaches philosophical elements and their attributes can be
employed. The result shows that most of them, (50 stories) use the
real life scenes for developing their stories. Since, children can
confronted better with real life and its problems and issues through
an interesting and enjoyable tool, they can internalize the concepts
and understand them better. Identification in such stories helps
shift between centrism and decentrism. The result will be cognitive
development and concept formation. Twenty-six of them used
imaginative events. The innovative approaches in imaginative events,
theme or characters help children enjoy reading stories and
understand the related concepts. In "the gift of eleven colors",
eleven color pencils can create colors in the absence of the 11 one
which is not believable for the child who has not such an
experience. Using the mind for creating something innovative was
used in 9 stories, analogy in 3 and imitation is 4 stories.
Curiosity, analogy and imagination are very useful approaches that
children at the age of 7 to 12 like very much. If the stories use
the approaches that are suitable and can match with children's
interests, they can be more effective. In this regard, it seems that
the approaches used in children's stories studied in this research
are not based on various interests of children.
4) What stories are more powerful in teaching PT?
In order to answer this question, the scores given to
philosophical elements that each story has incorporated in the
development of the events must be added up. The higher the number of
the elements, the more powerful is the related stories. The reason
of designing this question is that to investigate the number of
stories which are more capable in stimulating thinking. According to
Table (4), the increase in the number of elements is equal to the
decrease in the number of stories.
Frequency of stories which have one, two or
three philosophical elements
Table (4): Frequency of stories which have one, two or three
Since the stories studied in this research were not written
initially as philosophical stories, they are not expected to employ
several philosophical elements in creating the stories. This fact is
perhaps the main difference between philosophical stories and other
stories. In order to teach PT, as mentioned earlier, teachers or
facilitators should arrange community of enquiry. They should know
how to encourage asking questions and providing answering. The
writers should be encouraged to produce philosophical stories.
Based on the quantitative analysis of collected data, in terms of
using philosophical elements, four stories received the highest
scores. Number five, which is the representative of the existence of
five philosophical elements in one story, is assigned to each of
them. Among the stories analyzed, it seems that 18 stories are more
powerful in terms of encouraging curiosity and philosophical
questioning. That means that epistemological questions which need
higher level of thinking can emerge from those stories. These
stories might not have several philosophical elements, but are based
on complicated concepts. Understanding those concepts needs teaching
analytical and critical thinking. It must be mentioned that there is
overlap between these stories and those quantitatively identified as
If we expect the new generation to be logical and intelligent
citizens, an environment should be provided for them that they could
discover criteria for distinguishing between valid and invalid
reasoning, between supported theories of knowledge and between
accepted and unacceptable forms of moral judgment. By the skills of
questioning and answering, children can realize that they must be
critical towards what they are told, and what they hear, observe and
read. They also learn to be objective and to let others be critical
about their own beliefs and behaviors. Moreover, they can learn to
think comprehensively, to be flexible and to understand deeply.
These characteristics help children to model their mind to think
philosophically. And, according to the aim of PT, these
characteristics help children develop their free will and
These can be taught through children’s stories which are
enjoyable and amusing tools. Children’s stories which are based on
realism, imagination, creativity and stimulus thinking are suitable
tools for preparing logical and intelligent citizens. Since the aim
of the writers were not to write the stories which encourage PT in
children, we did not expect to find stories of which, as stated by
Sharp (2004), each page contains a variety of philosophical
concepts. However, if facilitators encourage questioning and
answering the questions in community of enquiries sessions, other
stories could also be effective tools for teaching PT. Children’s
writers should also take for granted their readers’ need to think
philosophically and try to focus on philosophical elements in
This research provides a well ground for other similar content
analysis research to identify other philosophical elements in
children's stories. It also provides valuable data and knowledge for
conducting an experimental case study and examines the effect of
various philosophical elements employed in children's stories on
children’s thinking skills. In order to help the creation of more
powerful stories which encourage PT, following suggestions are
1) Workshops for children’s writers of stories in regard to
making them aware of PT elements and how they can be employed in
2) workshops for teachers or facilitators to make them aware of
PT elements and how to arrange community of enquiries and encourage
questioning and answering
3) Further content analysis research in order to acknowledge more
philosophical elements in children's stories.
4) Completion and modification of thinking model based the
results of other similar research
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