ONTARIO PHILOSOPHY TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION

CONFERENCE 2018 SCHEDULE
MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2018

University of Toronto Schools (UTS)
371 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON M5S 2R8

8:00 – 9:15 REGISTRATION in the foyer of UTS
Fee: $40.00 for teachers;
$10.00 for post-secondary students and teacher candidates with ID.
Cash or cheque only, made out to OPTA.
There is no pre-registration.

Coffee, beverages and muffins are available in the foyer.

9:15 – 10:15 SESSIONS
1.  Alistair Macrae (Room 139)
Two accounts of friendship: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Plato’s Lysis.
2.  Tamara Ray (Room 135)
Philosophy Fun: Teaching Logic
3.  Sheldon Lawrence (Room 137)
Edward Said's Orientalism as a Tool for Students' Philosophical Identity Development
4.  Amy Leask (Room 24)
Philosophy Club 101: Extra-Curricular Thinking for Middle School Students

Coffee, beverages and muffins are available outside Room 135.

10:30 – 11:45 PLENARY SPEAKER (The Music Room, 230)
FRANK CUNNINGHAM
Philosophy in Walter Benjamin’s Paris Arcades Project.

12:00 – 1:00 LUNCH
Lunch is not provided. There are several good eateries of different international cuisines within a 5-minute walk from UTS.

1:15 – 2:15 SESSIONS
5.  George Ghanotakis (Room 135)
Playing games to foster critical thinking: A hands-on workshop tied to the Ontario philosophy curriculum and the philosophical Olympiads.
6.  Repeat Session: Tamara Ray (Room 137)
Philosophy Fun: Teaching Logic
7.  Bailey Rose and Elan Umholtz (Room 139)
Incorporating Digital Media in HZB3M and HZT4U

Coffee, beverages and muffins are available outside Room 135.

2:30 – 3:15 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (Room 137)


PLENARY SPEAKER – The Music Room (230), at the west end of the 2nd floor.

FRANK CUNNINGHAM
Philosophy in Walter Benjamin’s Paris Arcades Project.

The arcades of Paris (les passages or galaries) are covered walkways lined with cafés, shops, artist studios, salons, book stores, and other amenities, that run between major boulevards or streets mostly in the 2nd and 10th arrondissements. Built between 1800 and 1860, they exhibit a wide range of architectural styles, some quite advanced for their time.

Walter Benjamin’s interrogation of these arcades employs a unique philosophical perspective incorporating elements of Marxism, Phenomenology, Surrealism, and Judaic theology. In agreement with Louie Aragon and Charles Baudelaire, he depicts Paris’ arcades as microcosms of both the positive and negative dimensions of modern urban life. An overriding aim of his Arcades Project is to expose and combat the alienation and commodification decried by these and other authors, features of which he found in the arcades along with counter, liberatory features.

Frank Cunningham is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, and an Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University. He is among the founding members of OPTA.


SESSIONS – Rooms 135, 137 and 139 are at the west end of the 1st floor on the left. Room 24 is in the basement. Take the stairs to the west of the foyer down and proceed west. There will be direction signs for all rooms.

1. ALISTAIR MACRAE (9:15 AM, ROOM 139) - Two accounts of friendship:
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Plato’s Lysis.

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes a distinction between genuine friendships (i.e., character friendships) and friendships that are friendships in name only (i.e., pleasure friendships and utility friendships). Drawing on some of the relationships in Downton Abbey and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, this workshop will demonstrate that Aristotle’s account of friendship compares unfavorably with that of Plato.

Before retiring in 2009, Alistair Macrae taught the grade 12 philosophy course at a Toronto private school. He now teaches two non-credit philosophy courses offered by the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

2. TAMARA RAY (9:15 AM, Room 135) – Philosophy Fun: Teaching Logic

This workshop is grounded in the idea that critical thinking is inherently fun and intrinsically valuable.  The goal of this session is to provide registrants with the tools to cultivate logical thinking as an enjoyable and fundamental philosophical activity, as well as to help educators meet mandatory curriculum expectations for Philosophy: Questions and Theories (HZT4U) and Philosophy: The Big Questions (HZB3M). This session aims to help high school philosophy teachers understand the foundational nature of logic as philosophical activity. Logic terminology and concepts -- such as syllogism, premise, validity, and fallacy -- will be introduced along with the basics of formal and informal logic.  Registrants will be shown how to construct logical arguments as well as how to identify and avoid fallacies. By the end of the session, teachers will be equipped to implement a brief logic unit for the purpose of enhancing students' philosophical reasoning skills.

Tamara Ray graduated from the University of Toronto in 2001 with a specialist in philosophy. After a brief teaching stint in Japan, she acquired her B.Ed. at Western and proceeded to work in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Tamara has taught Philosophy: Questions and Theories for over 10 years, IB Theory of Knowledge for nine, and IB philosophy for two. Although she is currently a teacher-librarian, she continues to pursue her affinity for philosophy as an IB extended essay supervisor and the adviser for the school's philosophy club.

3. SHELDON LAWRENCE (9:15 AM, Room 137) - Edward Said's Orientalism
as a Tool for Students' Philosophical Identity Development

In his 1978 ground-breaking book, Orientalism, Columbia University philosopher Edward Said argued that colonialist biases have shaped the epistemology of modern, Western social sciences and humanities. In this seminar, we will examine how Said's ideas are very much an extension of Kant's Categorical Imperative with a particular focus on access/the universal. Since most of our philosophy students are racialised individuals, it's important for them to study philosophy side-by-side with post-colonialism and critical race theory. It's important for students to realise that any effort to battle privilege can find an ally is Said's epistemological structure. Parallels can be made in social philosophy to LGBTQ rights, Aboriginal philosophy, etc. Orientalism allows students an opportunity to self-reflect and develop their own identity in relation to society. There are many opportunities for students to add to the learning of the class which dispels the idea that the teacher is the authority on what is philosophy. Further, there are many opportunities for contemporary news topics and for pop culture references to be made to connect with the journey of the student in philosophy - philosophy as a way of helping one discover oneself.
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Sheldon Lawrence has been teaching philosophy (HZT4U) at Louise Arbour SS in the Peel District School Board since 2012. He double-majored in philosophy and pure mathematics at York University for his Honours B.A. He briefly pursued a master's degree in philosophy before abandoning it for materialistic pursuits. He is very interested in postmodernism, Marxism, continental philosophy, and Orientalism as it relates to equity issues. sheldon_lawrence@edu.yorku.ca

4. AMY LEASK (9:15 AM, Room 24) - Philosophy Club 101: Extra-Curricular Thinking for Middle School Students

Philosophy may not have made its way into the Ontario elementary or middle school curriculum, but there’s still room (and demand) for activities that pose big questions and encourage critical thought in younger learners. This session will explore how an educator, community partner, or secondary school volunteer student can create and implement materials that are fun, engaging, and enriching in an after-school club setting. We’ll identify questions that are of interest to learners in grades six through eight, and come up with practical, hands-on, creative ways to get kids in this age group thinking philosophically. We’ll also discuss the benefits of having secondary school students involved in these clubs, as part of their 40-hour community involvement requirement.

Amy Leask is an educator, writer, and children’s interactive media producer with a background in philosophy. She is the founder of Red T Media, which creates print books, ebooks, apps, animated shorts and video games that challenge children to think philosophically, and to play with ideas. She is also co-founder and VP of Enable Education, an online learning solutions provider. Amy.Leask@redtkids.com  enableeducation.com

5. GEORGE GHANOTAKIS (1:15 PM. ROOM 135) - Playing games to foster critical thinking:
A hands-on workshop tied to the Ontario philosophy curriculum and the philosophical Olympiads.

This session will use philosophy games as a method for developing 21st-century competencies in reasoning, effective argumentation and social skills. These skills apply to both the expectations of HZB3M and HZT4U. The session is divided into two parts.
  1. Participants will play one of the games in the context of a lesson plan that can be incorporated into both courses, then assess how the game engages students in inquiry skills. These include explaining, processing information, reflecting on fundamental questions, and communicating in a collaborative team. My approach meets the achievement chart criteria of the Ministry. A handbook of philosophers and philosophical traditions to help identify and analyze the responses is part of the kit.

  2. I will explain how to set up a mini Olympiad at your school as a club or as part of a regular class. The Philosophy Olympiad is modeled after the popular National High School Ethics Bowl that draws about 4000 students annually. The objective is engaged and rigorous argument that is demonstrated in collaborative debate. Reference to examples of Olympiads being set up in the province will be made. Handouts, the teacher guide and games will be available to purchase or order.   http://www.institutphilos.com

Dr. George Ghanotakis, PhD in philosophy (U of T), is a certified Ontario secondary school teacher with more than twenty-five years of teaching experience. In addition to being a curriculum consultant for many school boards and ministries of education, he has been a professor at the universities of Ottawa, Toronto (OISE), Alberta and Victoria. He is currently director of Institut Philos and of the International Center of Education for Philosophy and Citizenship (ICEPC). He is the author of thirty articles and learning resources including The Play Wise Tool KitThe One-Minute Philosopher, an illustrated encyclopedia of big questions, The Wisdom Journey, “Encounters with Philosophers in the Classroom: The WRATEC Model of the Community of Inquiry in Action” in Childhood and Philosophy (June, 2005), and "Meeting the Needs of 21st-Century Learners: Critical Thinking and Game-based Philosophical Inquiry" in Family Resemblances: Current Trends in Philosophy for Children (forthcoming, Anaya, 2018).

6. REPEAT SESSION: TAMARA RAY (1:15 PM, Room 137) – Philosophy Fun: Teaching Logic.
See session 2 above for Tamara's session description and bio.

7. BAILEY ROSE and ELAN UMHOLTZ (1:15 PM, Room 139) - Incorporating Digital
Media in HZB3M and HZT4U

Through an exploration of philosophy in film and print media, this workshop will offer an overview of various digital media and online apps (think G-Suite & beyond!) that can be used as pedagogical tools in the classroom, as well as in the production of student work. We will explore the inclusion of digital media and online apps for presenting information, engaging students in inquiry and in the creation of digital media to both enhance and communicate their learning.

Bailey Rose is a Law and Philosophy teacher at Central Toronto Academy. She is an engaging supporter of Blended Classrooms and has provided instruction in the Toronto District School Board in both day school and ConEd through eLearning using D2L. She has written World Studies & Social Science curriculum for the TDSB’s Equity Department as well as completed course revisions for TDSB’s eLearning. She is an advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous world views and perspectives in education.

Elan Umholtz is ACL of World Studies and the Social Sciences at Central Toronto Academy. She has worked with TDSB eLearning in both day school and Con-Ed and is an active supporter of Blended Classrooms. She is currently a DLL Mentor and has run many workshops and PD sessions for staff on incorporating the Global Competencies into course design, navigation and utilization of digital tools including D2L and Google Apps to benefit both teaching and learning.

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