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Philosophy at the Virtual Art Museum

Using art to prompt philosophical discussions in the high school classroom.

Teacher Guide

Philosophy at the Art Museum: Teacher Guide

Philosophy at the Virtual Art Museum allows educators to use works of art as prompts for philosophical discussions among high school students.  Each of the units on the website contains a number of works of art with questions that you might find helpful in getting your students to really look at the works and discuss what they see in them.  At the end, there are a series of philosophical questions that have been prepared for by the discussions of the artworks.

In getting your students to discuss philosophy, there are a number of very important pieces of advice to give them.

  • Listening to your peers is important when discussing philosophy. Too often students do not really listen to their peers, and are primarily concerned with what their teacher thinks.
  • You can help students practice engaged listening by having them focus on agreeing and disagreeing. Encourage students to articulate why they might agree or disagree with a classmate.

As the educator, it is important that you let the students take up most of the talking time. It is often difficult for teachers to give their students the space they need to have a productive philosophical discussion.

At the end of each section, and on many of the individual artworks, we have some suggestions for pursuing the topics in more depth.  We hope that you and your students find this useful.

Start your journey to the virtual art museum now!

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