P4C promotes high-quality classroom dialogue in response to children’s own questions about shared stories, films and other stimuli.
With guidance from the teacher, the dialogue focuses not only on the chosen questions but also on the assumptions that lie behind the answers and the criteria used to make judgements. The main aim of P4C is to achieve a community of enquiry involving all pupils, guided by the teacher. A community of enquiry is a group of people able to delve critically and rigorously into their own questions and understandings while at the same time feeling safe and being open to the views of others. Some of the routines of P4C, such as questioning, logical thinking, evaluating the grounds of arguments, and using precise language, might transfer across the curriculum. The goal of the intervention is to raise educational attainment in primary schools, particularly those with a preponderance of disadvantaged children.
A summary of a formal evaluation of the effects of P4C is available at https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Round_2_-_SAPERE.pdf