The philosophical understanding of friendship by the Hong Kong young children from the Aristotelian perspective. Case studies collected in a Hong Kong preschool

Grace LAU

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Abstract

In a revealing passage of his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle cites a popular saying with approbation: a friend is someone with whom one shares a single soul. It is a man who values friendship as indispensable to human flourishing. Aristotle claims that it is necessary to value our friends in the way that we appropriately value ourselves. So much is neither haughty nor excessively self-occupied (Shields, 2014). A review of literature has ascertained that it is not uncommon to understand that young children enter school with a wealth of unanswered questions. By incorporating the philosophical elements into the curriculum, teacher could facilitate young children to rediscover and validate their innate curiosity. Philosophy of young children is about asking important questions about life and its immediate contacting environment, such as people and things related to life. In the process of looking for an answer for their teachers, young children’s creative thoughts in these arenas are revealed. The aim of this research study is to unfold the creative mind of the young children through the technique of questioning and scaffolding by their teacher in a preschool in Hong Kong. This research has employed the qualitative method of case study for its conduction. The research outcomes met with the aims of the research. In the process, new philosophical ideas of young children have been identified by the teachers through their use five types of scaffolding techniques. Two themes in philosophy have emerged in this research. One is on “friendship/love” and the other is on “Man who abduct young children”. This paper is going to report the case studies themed on friendship. The researcher has tried to identify the meaning of friendship collected in the research and compare with those identified in the Aristotelian concept of friendship through analyzing the data. It is interestingly to find that the concept of friendship as explained by the young children in this research has matched with those advocated by Aristotle. The understanding gained by the researcher is that one should not underestimate the innate power of the young children if they are given a chance to philosophize themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Citation

Lau, G. (2015, June). The philosophical understanding of friendship by the Hong Kong young children from the Aristotelian perspective. Case studies collected in a Hong Kong preschool. Paper presented at the 2015 Quality Childhood Conference International (QCCI) Enhancing Quality Childhood Education: Synergizing Global Efforts, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

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