an open-ended story of some hidden sides of listening or (what) are we really (doing) with childhood?




listening, childhood, community of philosophical enquiry, philosophy in schools, political agency


The paper arises from a shared event that turned into an experience: the finding of a childlike piece of paper on our way to a conference about philosophy in schools and how it affects our educational ideas and research practices on listening to children. Triggered by the question of what it means to listen, we are led to the exercise of self-questioning inspired by some of the authors that have already written about the topic, specifically in the context of the community of philosophical enquiry. The thinking unfolds with the telling of the story about the found piece of paper, crossing different layers of questioning and trying to keep the enquiry open for the readers: what is it that we do not know about listening to children? And to what extent might that, which we do not know, be the cause of biased and adultist practices? Is it necessary to return to what philosophy is and where one can find it inside the school environment? Is it already there when the adults arrive? Are we not listening to it? Or are there specific places for philosophical conversations, such as the classroom? Is philosophy also invited to the margins of those spaces? Who decides what counts as philosophical? It is not about answering questions and giving closure to our concerns as educators and researchers, but rather sharing with the readers how even in the least suspected place - an academic event about bringing philosophy to school - one might still not be listening to children. In returning to this self-questioning movement, we want to echo some of the troubling in the thinking and practices of listening in the so-called movement of Philosophy for/with Children: this for/with phenomenon, its politics and relations; some of the assumptions that might be present in the dilemmas in practice for educators and researchers; but also its aesthetics resonances, the sheer beauty of troubling, the (out of) tune of self-questioning, the questions it raises for us as researchers and the space of doubting and uncertainty it offers, like a hesitation or a breathing space. And perhaps, we wonder, it is in-between spaces, in its cracks and transitions, that important things can find their way into our thinking and conversations about childhood. Just like a piece of paper in a hotel room.

Author Biographies

joanna haynes, University of Plymouth

Joanna Haynes is associate professor at Plymouth University Institute of Education, England. Her research interests are in community and democratic education, philosophy of childhood and intra-generational learning. Her books include Children as Philosophers, first published in 2002, and later translated into Spanish, Greek and Korean. Together with Maughn Gregory and Karin Murris, she co-edited The Routledge International Handbook on Philosophy for Children (2017). Joanna is particularly interested in the relationship between practising philosophical enquiry and educators’ broader educational thinking and values.

magda costa carvalho, University of the Azores

Magda Costa Carvalho works at the University of the Azores, Portugal, and is a research member of NICA: Interdisciplinary Center for Childhood and Adolescence, University of the Azores, Portugal. She holds a Ph.D. on Henri Bergson’s Concept of Nature. Her research focuses are on the ethical dimension of P4C, as well as on environmental philosophy. She holds Levels 1 and 2 of SAPERE’s P4C training.  She coordinates a Master Course in Philosophy for Children (University of the Azores) and offers Philosophy for Children sessions in a public school.


Anderson, A. (2020). Categories of Goals in Philosophy for Children. Studies in Philosophy and Education,

Biswas, T. (2020). Little things matter much. Childist ideas for a pedagogy of philosophy in an overheated world. Munich: Büro Himmelgrün Munich.

Cavarero, A. (2005). For more than one voice. Toward a philosophy of vocal expression. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Costa Carvalho, M. (2022). será que a voz que ouvimos por dentro é a mesma que as pessoas ouvem por fora? childhood & philosophy, 18, 2-26. doi: 10.12957/childphilo.2022.65690

Davies, B. (2014). Listening to Children Being and Becoming. London: Routledge.

Doddington, C; Hilton, M. (2007). Child-Centred Education: Reviving the Creative Tradition. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Cook-Sather, A. (2006). Sound, Presence, and Power: “Student Voice” in Educational Research and Reform. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(4), 359-390, DOI: 10.1111/ j.1467-873X.2006.00363.x

Fiumara, G. C. (1990). The other side of language. A philosophy of listening. London: Routledge.

Foucault, M. (1975). Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la Prison. Paris: Gallimard.

Gardner, D. (1996). Inquiry is no Mere Conversation (or Discussion or Dialogue). Facilitation of inquiry is hard work! Analytic Teaching, 16(2), p. 102-111.

Gregory, M. (2002). Are Philosophy and Children Good for Each Other? Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, 16(2), p. 9-12.

Gregory, M.; Haynes, J.; Murris, K. (2017). The Routledge International Handbook of Philosophy for Children. London: Routledge.

Haynes, J. (2007) Listening as a critical practice: learning through philosophy with children. PhD thesis University of Exeter.

Haynes, J. (2008). Children as Philosophers: learning through enquiry and dialogue in the primary school. (2nd ed.) London: Routledge.

​​Haynes, J. (2009). Listening to the voice of child in education. In Suanne Gibson &Joanna Haynes (eds.) Perspectives on Participation and Inclusion. Engaging Education (pp. 27-42). London: Continuum.

Haynes, J.; Kohan, W. (2018). Facilitating and difficultating. The cultivation of teacher ignorance and inventiveness. In Karin Murris & Joanna Haynes (eds.). Literacies, Literature and Learning. Reading Classrooms Differently (p. 204-220). London/New York: Routledge.

Haynes, J. & Murris, K. (2009). Opening Up Space for Children’s Thinking and Dialogue. Farhang, 69, p. 175-188.

Haynes, J. & Murris, K. (2020). right under our noses: the postponement of children’s political equality and the now. childhood & philosophy, 17, p. 1-21. doi: 10.12957/childphilo.2021.55060

Illich, I. (1972). Deschooling society. New York: Harper & Row.

Johansson, V. (2013). Dissonant Voices: Philosophy, Children’s Literature, and Perfectionist Education. Doctoral Thesis in Educational Science at Stockholm University. Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University.

Johansson, V. (2021). Sa´mi children as thought herders: philosophy of death and storytelling as radical hope in early childhood education. Policy Futures in Education. Special Issue: Fiction and Truth, Learning and Literature: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 0(0), 1–16. DOI: 10.1177/14782103211031413

Johansson, V. (2022). pedagogical immediacy, listening, and silent meaning: essayistic exercises in philosophy and literature for early childhood educators, childhood & philosophy, 18, p. 1-29.

Kennedy, D. (1995). Book Review of Gareth Matthews, The Philosophy of Childhood. Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, 12(2), p. 41-44.

Kennedy, D. (2004). The philosopher as teacher. The role of a facilitator in a community of philosophical inquiry. Metaphilosophy, 35(5), p. 722-765.

Kennedy, D. (2006). The Well of Being. Childhood, subjectivity and Education. New York: State University of New York Press.

Kennedy, D. (2015). Practicing philosophy of childhood: Teaching in the (r)evolutionary mode. Journal of Philosophy of Schools, 2(1), p. 26-39.

Kohan, W. (1999). Filosofia e Infância: pontos de encontro. In Filosofia e Infância: possibilidade de um encontro. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes.

Kohan, W. (2011). Childhood, Education and Philosophy: Notes on Deterritorialisation. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(2), p. 339-357.

Kohan, W. (2015). ​​Infância, filosofia e pólis: exclusão e resistência. Revista Sul-Americana de Filosofia e Educação. 24, p. 335-344.

Larrosa, J. (2014). Tremores. Escritos sobre Experiência. São Paulo: Autêntica.

Lipman, M. (2003). Thinking in Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lundy, L. (2007). ‘Voice’ is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 927-942, DOI: 10.1080/01411920701657033

Lundy, L. (2018). In defence of tokenism? Implementing children’s right to participate in collective decision-making. Childhood. 25(3), p. 340–354

Mason, J. (2002). Researching your own practice. The discipline of noticing. London/New York: Routledge.

Masschelein, J.; Simons, M. (2013). In defence of the school. A public issue. E-ducation, Culture & Society Publishers.

Matthews, G. (1980). Philosophy and the Young Child. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Murris, K. (2016). The Posthuman Child. Educational transformation through philosophy with picturebooks. London/New York: Routledge.

Rollo, T. (2018a). Feral children: settler colonialism, progress, and the figure of the child. Settler Colonial Studies, 8(1), p. 60-79.

Rollo, T. (2018b) The Color of Childhood: The Role of the Child/Human Binary in the Production of Anti-Black Racism. Journal of Black Studies, 49 (4), p. 307-329.

Roseiro, S; Gonçalves, N.; Rodrigues, A. (2019). escola, problemas de escuta? childhood &philosophy, 15, p. 1-21. doi: 10.12957/childphilo.2019.40339

Schafer, R. M. (1994). The soundscape: our sonic environment and the tuning of the world. Vermont: Destiny Books.

Scholl, R., Nichols, K., & Burgh, G. (2009). Philosophy for children: Towards pedagogical transformation. Refereed paper presented at ‘Teacher education crossing borders: Cultures, contexts, communities and curriculum’ the annual conference of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), Albury, 28 June – 1 July.

Sharp, A. M. (1987). What is a community of inquiry? Journal of Moral Education, 16(1), p. 37-44.

Spyrou, S. (2016). Researching children’s silences: Exploring the fullness of voice in childhood research. Childhood, 23(1), 7-21.

Tamboukou, M. (2020). Narrative rhythmanalysis: the art and politics of listening to women’s narratives of forced displacement. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 24(2), p. 149-162, DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1769271

Taylor, C.; Robinson, C. (2009). Student voice: theorising power and participation. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 17(2), p. 161-175.

Vansieleghem, N.; Kennedy, D. (2011). What is Philosophy for Children, What is Philosophy with Children—After Matthew Lipman? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(2), p. 171-182.

Young-Bruehl, E. (2012). Childism. Confronting Prejudice Against Children. Yale: Yale University Press.




How to Cite

haynes, joanna, & carvalho, magda costa. (2023). an open-ended story of some hidden sides of listening or (what) are we really (doing) with childhood?. Childhood & Philosophy, 19, 01–26.



dossier: the present and the future of doing philosophy with children