Teaching Students Philosophy Improves Academic Performance

Whenever I am asked what skill is helpful for performing human centred design I invariably respond “philosophy”. Over many years of activity I have repeatedly noted how designers greatly improve both the speed and quality of their work after reading even the most introductory text in philosophy.

As happens from time to time, the scientific evidence of the benefits of “tuning one’s mind” pops up in the press.

The most recent example is a one-year study involving 9 to 10 year olds. The study which involved more than 3000 children in 48 primary schools in England showed that the children who had been provided philosophy classes showed significant improvement in scores over their peers of the control group.  At the end of the year the children who were taking philosophy classes improved their math and reading skills by about two months of additional progress compared to the students who did not take the classes.