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Mind Mapping and Philosophy in Junior High School: A Comparative Study of Initial Philosophical Writing in Classes of 8th Grade Pupils Used and Unused to Philosophically Directed Discussion

Creative Education, 2018, 9, 1312-1331
ISSN Online: 2151-4771
ISSN Print: 2151-4755
10.4236/ce.2018.99098 Jul. 12, 2018 1312 Creative Education
Mind Mapping and Philosophy in Junior High
School: A Comparative Study of Initial
Philosophical Writing in Classes of 8th Grade
Pupils Used and Unused to Philosophically
Directed Discussion
Emmanuèle Auriac-Slusarczyk1, Bernard Slusarczyk1,2, Cathy Thebault1,3
1Laboratoire ACTé, Université Clermont Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France
2Collège, A.G. Monnet, Champeix, France
3Self-Employed Trainer, Montaigut, LIsle-sur-Tarn, France
This study compares the written production of 8th grade junior high
pupils in two conditions. Four experimental classes used to
directed discussion (PDD) in the classroom were asked, as part of a
program (
Philo & Carto
), to implicitly link pictorial items in selected
heritage artworks (Brueghel, Niki de St Phalle, Magritte, etc
) to their
discussed collectively in philosophical discussions. The pupils in three
classes, with no prior experience of philosophical discussions, were shown
same artworks and asked for their impressions in art classes. We
how philosophy entered written communication in the two conditions.
sorting the types of rough notes (outlines of ideas) produced by the pupils i
to seven categories using an inductive approach, we found that the
classes produced more conceptual and better organized rough notes than
controls, that distanced themselves less from the artwork and so
conceptually poorer notes. These findings argue for formalizing the theoret
cal and practical basis of the
Philo & Carto
teaching program. Our
discusses the limitations of the study and suggests some further research d
Childhood, Philosophical Dialogue, Writing at School, Creativity, Mapping,
Teaching Program
How to cite this paper:
., Slusarczyk, B., & Thebault, C. (2018).
Mind Mapping and Philosophy in Junior
High School: A Comparative Study of In
tial Philosophical Writing in Classes of 8th
Grade Pupils Used and Unused to Phil
sophically Directed Discussion
, 9,
March 21, 2018
July 9, 2018
July 12, 2018
© 2018 by authors and
Research Publishing Inc.
work is licensed under the Creative
Attribution International
(CC BY 4.0).
Open Access
E. Auriac-Slusarczyk et al.
10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1313 Creative Education
1. Introduction
The experiment described here was conducted as part of an action-research pro-
gram hosted by the recently created Instituts Carnot d’Éducation (ICE) (Au-
riac-Slusarczyk, Slusarczyk, & Thebault, 2016; Fougères, 2016). An ICE1 is
structure for exchange, dialogue and the construction of joint projects bringing
together schools and academia, for the benefit of pupils
centered on teaching
and prompted by issues raised by teaching staff in schools
.”2 The re-
search project originated from a formal request by 7th grade junior school pu-
pils, who after two years of philosophical discussion classes in their school were
taught by teachers of French, history and geography using a well-proven proto-
col (cf. Auriac-Slusarczyk, Slusarczyk, & Charles-Beaucourt, 2011; Fiema, 2015).
The pupils wanted: 1) to continue the collective philosophically directed discus-
sions, and 2) to start philosophical writing, noting down their ideas themselves,
an action hitherto restricted to their teacher. Meanwhile, in France, official edu-
cation guidelines have instituted these philosophically directed activities, termed
DVP for
discussion à visée philosophique
, as models of practices encouraged for
ethics and civic education and as part of developing citizenship (M.E.N., 2015a,
2015b, 2015c). The English equivalent
philosophically directed discussion
will be used in what follows. The purpose of our experiment was to determine
whether setting in place the writing activity requested by the pupils was benefi-
cial to them, and whether it might divert from the aims of PDD, which in usual
practice is conducted only orally.
2. Theoretical Framework
The practice of collective philosophically directed discussion as pioneered by
Matthew Lipman, initially presented by Lipman and coworkers (Lipman, Oscanyan,
& Sharp, 1980), was spread by Lipman himself during his lifetime (Lipman,
1995), and by his followers (Daniel, 1992/1997, 2008). Now in use worldwide
(for a recent review see Gregory, Hayes, & Murris, 2017), it has been studied in
several complementary ways from a teaching perspective (Auriac-Slusarczyk &
Maufrais, 2010) through multidisciplinary contributions (Saint-Dizier de Al-
meida & Auriac-Slusarczyk, 2016), and remains a subject of debate and indeed
controversy (Leleux, 2005). It is of proven benefit in several domains (e.g. Millett
& Tapper, 2012; Topping & Trickey, 2007) including reasoning, motivation, so-
cialization, and self-esteem, when associated with oral practice (see Tozzi, 2007,
for example).
PDD at junior high school has also been the subject of several studies in
France that have confirmed its utility and soundness (Auriac-Slusarczyk, Slu-
sarczyk, & Charles-Beaucourt, 2011; Fiema, 2015). Pioneering studies conducted
in primary school classes had already shown, from a study of argumentative
1The present I.C.E. is an experimental structure set up in the Auvergne-Rhône-
Alpes (AURA)
Region, France, that combines educational action (local schools authority) and academic research.
2Quoted from the agreement signed between the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (ENS),
Lyon, and the
Université Clermont Auvergne (UCA) in 2016 (internal document).
E. Auriac-Slusarczyk et al.
10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1314 Creative Education
writing (with a basic set constraint), the beneficial effect of oral philosophical
discussion in pupils aged 7 - 12 years (Auriac, 2007).
But what about written philosophical discussion? Can junior high school pu-
pils be taught to write philosophically, even though philosophical writing has
been thought feasible only in 12th grade, and then only in set exercises of the es-
say type?
2.1. Definition of the ‘Philosophical Writing’ Genre
Despite abundant literature on text genres (Bronckart, Bain, Scheuwly, Davaud,
& Pasquier, 1985), there are no literature references defining the ‘philosophical
writing genre’ adapted for young pupils (8 - 15 years). The literature on the sub-
ject (see Denat, 2007) mostly concerns pupils at senior high school (in 12th grade
at age 18, but also from age 16, cf. Means & Voss, 1996; Neuman, 2003). Given
this lack, we defined
a priori
what the philosophical genre could include (Au-
riac-Slusarczyk, Slusarczyk, & Thebault, 2016), and tested this definition by col-
lecting 315 scripts from 7th and 8th grade junior school pupils (Au-
riac-Slusarczyk, Slusarczyk, Thebault, & Pironom, 2018). We validated the psy-
cholinguistic indicators that enabled us if not to define, then at least to delimit
what the philosophical genre could claim as proper by comparison (similari-
ty/difference) with other text types, and also by the textual quality of the writing
(presence of an introduction and a conclusion, appropriate length, etc.). A phi-
losophical text contains a certain number of ideas (termed concepts) that are
usefully differentiated (distinctions). The process of idea generation follows a
line that is not only argumentatively strict, but also digressive in the positive
sense of bringing into play creative thought, measurable with at least two indi-
cators: the presence of features of divergence, and the presence of metaphors or
analogies (see below).
At the age considered in this study, we can also expect pupils to be able to
note down their ideas, thereby ordering their text, and through such conceptual
ordering, go on to construct a full connected text: we can then measure the ef-
fective degree of ordering in the text on ordinal scales (cf. Auriac-Slusarczyk et
al., 2018, Auriac-Slusarczyk, Slusarczyk, & Thebault, 2017).
2.2. From Collective Oral Work to Writing
There is an abundant literature on written production including writing at
school (MacArthur, Graham, & Fitzgerald, 2006; Rijlaarsdam, Van den Berg, &
Couzijn, 2005; Alamargot & Chanquoy, 2001). For the last ten years, researchers
have used school pupil scripts (Gunnarsson-Largy & Auriac-Slusarczyk, 2013),
superseding earlier approaches (Fabre-Cols, 2004; Fabre, 1988). Work in psy-
cholinguistics and text generation (Fenoglio & Chanquoy, 2007) has made fruit-
ful use of rough notes to study the ordering of pupils’ writing, in particular crea-
tive ordering (Galbraith, 1999; Hayes, 1996). Releasing the pupils from con-
straints, and giving them open subjects, appears to be beneficial (Hayes, 2006).
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1315 Creative Education
Developmentally, junior high school pupils are at a turning point: we know that
young pupils (8 - 12 years) often write linearly even at the rough notes stage, and
take little or no advantage of pre-ordered ideas (Auriac & Favart, 2007; Auriac,
2007), whereas university students (older than 18 years) successfully use graphi-
cally structured notes, though still to a modest extent (Piolat, 2010; Piolat & Bar-
bier, 2007). Structuring notes and ordering ideas can take many forms: complete
mind maps, tree diagrams, lists of ideas, arrows, indentation, etc. Lists are
thought to have been among the earliest types of written texts (Olson & Cole,
2006; Goody, 1979; Lahire, 1998). Readily understood by pupils, they are an in-
termediate writing form shown to be fruitful as early as age 7/8 years (Démongin
& Cellier, 2002) and of direct utility, whether they are self-generated or im-
ported, for pupils by age 13 years (Pouit & Golder, 1997; 1996).
2.3. Logical versus Creative Thought
The use of fine arts in school teaching has been positively assessed (Kerlan,
2007). It is known that looking at artworks stimulates intuitive reasoning (Hay-
man, 1961). Philosophical and esthetic thinking share common ground: surprise,
attention, confrontation, questioning, and problematization (Dalsuet, 2015).
Lipman, the inventor of the collective practice of PDD (see Introduction)
claimed that the expression of creative thinking required “amplifying thought”
(Lipman, 2005: p. 241). He held that logical and creative thought should be
linked (Lipman, 1991; Slade, 2000). The use of art is attracting new attention
(e.g. Plucker & Beghetto, 2015), including in science, through the advocacy of
well-known researchers (Changeux, 2017). But we already knew that art and
science go hand in hand, great scientists being no strangers to reverie and poetry
(Bachelard, 1988). The study of writers’ drafts likewise brings out strong links
between rough sketch, outline, deletion and thematic recurrence, revealing a
graphic and logical process of creation at work (e.g. Fenoglio, 2002).
PDD has demonstrated various beneficial effects: IQ gain, pacification of in-
teractions among pupils, increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety (e.g. Millett
& Tapper, 2012): the effects observed thus often concern logical thinking or so-
cial skills, or the pupils’ psychological state. Curiously, the benefits of PDD for
pupils’ creativity have been barely explored. It may be that the skills involved in
PDD have been too readily reduced to the trio “conceptualize, problematize, ar-
gue” (cf. Tozzi model, see Calistri, Martel, & Bomel-Rainelli, 2007), which does
not fully embrace Lipman’s initial model.
Creative thought, though not directly correlated to intelligence as measured
by IQ tests (Besançon, Barbot, & Lubart, 2011), is still very strongly supported
by certain intellectual abilities, among which is divergent or “exploratory”
thought (i.e. an all-out search for as many ideas or solutions as possible from a
single starting point) (Besançon et al., 2011). In addition, we know that recourse to
analogy (or metaphor) often backs logical reasoning (Hofstadter & Sander, 2013).
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1316 Creative Education
2.4. A Designed and Tested Innovative Program: Philo & Carto
The program called
Philo & Carto
(cf. Thebault, 2015) is based on oral philo-
sophical practice conducted collectively according to the principles laid down by
Lipman (support, collection of questions, choice of a collective question, and
discussion); it also integrates the expertise of cartographers (Jacob, 1992), trans-
posed to the school setting when finalizing the collective discussion in a map
drawn together, inspired by the allegorical or satirical maps in use until the 19th
century (Baridon, 2011). The
Carte de Tendre
(Map of Tendre) engraved by
Chauveau, 1659 is one of the best-known examples. The map represents ideas
(affection, futility, love, etc.) by spatial features (landscape, places and pathways
linking them). This type of representation thus engages the imagination and eli-
cits surprise at a novel and apt use of images (Besse & Thibergien, 2017). Maps
are useful as simple charts to make our way in a complex modern world (Fabre,
2011) overloaded with information. It is here that the cartographer’s thinking
meets the philosopher’s: in both cases, the aim is to build a representation of the
world, expressed verbally by the philosopher, graphically by the cartographer.
Philo & Carto
program uses this concurrence. It was tested in primary
school using suggestive artworks, engaging the pupils in collecting philosophical
questions and extracting from the artwork pictorial features they could link to
the ideas they had exchanged in the collective discussions (Thebault, 2015). This
meeting of art and philosophical practice generates a collective map that culmi-
nates the whole process of enquiry. As in the case of the
Carte de Tendre
, where
the cartographer imposes an allegorical style, e.g. creating the river of Esteem, or
the river of Inclination, the
Philo & Carto
program has the pupils link the ideas
discussed (philosophical concepts) to salient pictorial features (percepts from an
artwork): the pupils complete their work by drawing their own collective map
(see Slusarczyk et al., 2017).
3. Methodology
3.1. Participants
Four 8th grade junior high school classes comprising 88 pupils used to PDD
since the 6th grade took part in the program as experimental classes. The pupils
were recruited in two schools in the same geographical area; the socioeconomic
categories of their families were equivalent. The catchment sector was
semi-rural. All the pupils in the 8th grade were considered: pupils were not se-
lected to make up a strictly random sample. The teachers (French, history, geo-
graphy and art) received training so they could follow a complete
Philo & Carto
(see §2.2.). The purpose of the training was to introduce philosophical
practice into interdisciplinary teaching spaces (EPIs), a new teaching framework
introduced into official education guidelines in 2015 (M.E.N., 2015a, 2015b,
2015c). These teachers reproduced the program with their 8th grade pupils,
working in twos in the EPI framework set up at the beginning of the 2016 school
year in their school. The school heads had promoted the program and supported
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1317 Creative Education
the experiment. The
Philo & Art
EPIs ran for the first half-year between Sep-
tember and February. Three 8th grade junior high school classes comprising 77
non-PDD pupils took part in the program as controls, under the control school
art teacher alone (same geographical sector and sociocultural mix as the experi-
mental school). These control pupils were shown the eight artworks selected (see
below) with ten minutes free verbal exchange on the artwork during art classes.
The pupils were to comment freely on the artwork: impressions, perceptions.
Table 1 summarizes information on the participants.
3.2. The Philo & Carto Protocol
Philo & Carto
workshop starts with the viewing of an artwork inducing short
collective exchanges: first impressions and perceptions are elicited. At this stage,
in conformance with how a philosophy workshop is conducted in reference to
the work of Matthew Lipman, single individual questions are first collected, fol-
lowed by the choice of a collective question that engages a collective PDD. Dur-
ing the discussion, the teacher extracts major ideas, limited in number to ten,
representing the whole of 50 minutes of collective verbalization. The artwork is
introduced again to select and extract ten pictorial items that characterize it
and/or suggest a bridge with the ideas being discussed. Pictorial items can also
be created and added to the initial artwork. The pupils then work on their col-
lective map (called
in a large format for a presentation that preserves
its collective character (see examples in §2.6.). The art teacher participates in this
production to lend it a satisfactory final appearance, while translating the pupils’
drawings loyally, without embellishment or censure.
3.3. Material Selected
Out of 20 cultural heritage artworks preselected for their cultural and technical
diversity (support, technique, figuration, time), the teachers retained eight. The
choice was left free to respect teachersindependence and motivation (Table 2).
This free choice also favored strict compliance with the action-research program
over the whole of the half-year (October-February, 2016), which was monitored
by means of a log recording the session details (choice of artwork, date, number
of pupils, single questions, ten key pictorial ideas, ten constructed metaphors,
scanned collective map).
3.4. Pupils’ Test Task for Writing
In all, 1693 pupils produced written texts in the French class before and after ex-
perimentation with the program (pre-et post-test). The writing task consisted in
presenting a reproduction of a work by the contemporary painter Etienne
La part du rêve
(“the dream part”), pre-test (collective, 2016), and
then a work of the contemporary painter Richard Texier
Le chasseur d’étoiles
(“the star hunter”) 1999, post-test. The philosophical writing theme, which was
open, was the same pre- and post-test: “dreaming”. The pupils were given a plain
3165 at the end of the year, 4 pupils absent.
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1318 Creative Education
Table 1. Subjects, numbers, levels, sectors.
School sector
22 8th
23 8th
22 8th
21 8th
27 8th
25 8th
25 8th
Table 2. The eight artworks selected for the experiment.
Painting Painting Painting Drawing Photograph Painting Painting Sculpture
The Tower of
Brueghel, oil
on wood
The Geographer
by Johannes
Vermeer, oil on
The Subjugated
by René
Magritte, oil on
canvas (1926).
Long Live
by Niki
de St Phalle,
felt tip and
by Robert
and Shana
Parke Harrison,
by Joos de
Momper, oil on wood
Psyche and the
Golden Box
John William
Waterhouse, oil
on canvas (1903)
Storm King Wall
Images of all these works can be downloaded from the Internet.
box on an A4 sheet alongside the artwork to note down their ideas (rough
notes), and subsequent lined pages to write out their text (Figure 1).
The pupils were invited, from an artwork (artistic reference anchor), to pro-
duce a piece of philosophical writing that could be published in a magazine
meant for teenagers.
3.5. Scoring of Writing
As the literature does not fully describe the different ways in which pupils take
notes (see above, §1.2.), we made a basic distinction between lists and writ-
ten-out text (see Auriac & Favart, 2007), and then took account of how the pu-
pils used lay-out in the space provided, in addition to listing (as one way of spa-
tializing their notes vertically). The writing was thus scored by an inductive ap-
proach (D’Arripe, Oboeuf, & Routier, 2014; Glaser & Strauss, 2010; Blais & Mar-
tineau, 2006). We collected the material and then determined the classification
according to the variations obtained. The rough notes (left-hand page) produced
were broken down qualitatively into seven structural types. Some types of rough
notes were hybrid, half listed, half written-out, and so we could not place them
in either single category. We opted for a finely-grained categorization to take full
account of the quality of the rough notes. Our material finally fell into the fol-
lowing categories:
mind maps
spatializing the ideas noted in words or short phrases with ar-
rows and ranking,
with ideas presented in columns (listed words), or with indentations
(bullet or dash), or separation by commas or semicolons,
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1319 Creative Education
Figure 1. Standardized script sheets, rough notes and first text sheet.
notes where the ideas are expressed in connected text, with no
isolated words,
and then
written-out lists,
where chunks of connected text are listed
notes, where the ideas presented are organized with key words
distributed non-randomly in the space allotted (top, left, right, opposite, under-
neath, bottom, etc.),
of any rough notes, the pupils writing out their text directly on the
lined page.
These different types of rough notes are illustrated in Results (§3 below). Sub-
categories then describe the specific features of control and experimental classes
within a particular type: for example, a mind map can contain words naming
concepts or pictorial items in ranging proportions.
4. Results
The results we report here concern the graphical productions of PDD pupils in
four experimental classes, and a qualitative comparison of the rough notes in all
seven classes, contrasting the control and experimental classes. Our findings
prompted a theoretical formalization of the
Philo & Carto
program as empiri-
cally validated in these junior high school classes.
4.1. Graphic Productions of Pupils
The teachers at the experimental school returned 24
maps) (Figure 2).
are the concrete result of the pupil/teacher joint effort. The
logs attest the production of pupils’ single or collective philosophical questions:
for example, “
Why can reality be frightening
?” “
Are we really in control of
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1320 Creative Education
Figure 2. Examples of
from four experimental 8th grade junior high school
classes. All the productions in color are presented in Slusarczyk et al., 2017.
?” The creation of 240 expressions over the year in the four classes (e.g.
eyes are ponds of pain
attests a complete appropriation of the approach by both
teachers and pupils. The pupils even translated the justification for linking ideas
and pictorial items into color: they proposed justifications such as: “the
will be
“for me, red represents shade well
because it’s the color of
of hell
4.2. Intermediate Writing after Experimentation: Variety and
Using the seven types of rough notes (§2.4.), there was already a significant dif-
ference between experimental and control classes at the start of the year (
2 (7,
166) = 34.52,
< 0.001) and a stronger one at the end of the experiment (
2 (6,
165) = 52.96,
< 0.001), which can be explained by the fact that the PDD pupils
had already experienced PDD in 6th and 7th grade. Only the pupils in the expe-
rimental classes produced complete mind maps (Graph 1, see data source in
Table 3 and Table 4). This quality of production could thus be ascribed at the
start of the experiment to the prior experience of PDD in 6th and 7th grade, and
at the end of the experiment to the influence of the
Philo & Carto
The class effect pre-test (
2 (42, 169) = 152.68,
< 0.001) diminished slightly
at the end of the experiment (
2 (36, 165) = 142.97,
< 0.001) indicating influ-
ence either of the program or of class composition (Table 3 and Table 4 below):
the non-PDD control class E1 stood out, the pupils in it making use of writ-
ten-out rough notes pre- and post-test; the experimental PDD group G4 stood
out, with 13 pupils already using complete mind maps pre-test. Noteworthy re-
sults are highlighted in the tables (data sources, Table 3 and Table 4).
By contrast, the experimental class G1 changed its writing approach, with only
1 mind map produced pre-test against no fewer than 14 post-test; the control
class E2 where 11 pupils wrote out their ideas pre-test, varied more widely in
their choice post-test, although there was more absence of notes (10 pupils) and
no mind maps.
4.3. Experimental Classes: Mind Maps and Ideas Written Out as
Four subcategories of mind maps were identified in the experimental classes
(Figures 3(a)-(d)). We note that the PDD pupils emphasized philosophical
concepts more often than pictorial items: they mentioned
, or
(Figure 3(a)),
psychological state
, and
(Figure 3(b)).
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1321 Creative Education
Table 3. Data source: distribution of types of rough notes pre-test by class.
E1 E2 E4 G1 G2 G3 G4
of rough notes
Non-coded4 0 2 0 1 0 1 2
Absence 0 5 0 6 2 7 2
Written-out 20 11 7 6 5 10 1
Written-out/listed 3 0 0 3 1 1 0
Listed 1 3 7 3 6 3 2
Written-out list 3 6 10 0 6 0 1
Spatialized 0 0 2 2 0 0 1
Mind map 0 0 0 1 3 0 13
27 27 26 22 23 22 22 169
Classes E1 E2 E4 were controls, classes G1 G2 G3 G4 were experimental.
Table 4. Data Source: distribution of types of rough notes post-test by class.
E1 E2 E4 G1 G2 G3 G4
Types of rough
notes produced
Absence 4 10 5 1 10 13 0
Written-out 13 4 3 0 3 3 4
Written-out/listed 4 2 1 0 0 0 0
Listed 5 5 10 1 2 3 2
Written-out list 0 2 4 2 0 2 0
Spatialized 1 2 2 3 0 1 1
Mind map 0 0 0 14 8 0 15
Total 27 25 25 21 23 22 22 165
Graph 1. Distribution of each type of rough notes by class type pre-test.
4Data missing.
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1322 Creative Education
(a) (b)
(c) (d)
Figure 3. Subcategories of originals mind maps (a/b/c) in experimental classes. (a) Basic original mind map rough notes (con-
cepts); (b) Color-coded original mind map rough notes5 with concepts; (c) Binary-type mind original map rough notes (color6 and
spatial bi-partition); (d) Spatialized original rough notes (concepts).
Sometimes the mind map subdivided the space in a binary way, with a frontier
separating two worlds, with the help of an implicit color code. The world of
, the
and the
was separated
from the world of
, associated
(Figure 3(c)).
Lastly, the use of space indicates a new mode of distributing, ranking and or-
ganizing ideas:
is bottom center,
is top left, opposite
top right, etc. (Figure 3(d)).
These modes of spatial organization are not random but translate a conceptual
ordering that evokes a higher stage of intellectual development (age 18 years and
more) in these pupils aged 13 - 14 years (cf. Piolat, 2010, Piolat & Barbier, 2007).
5The gray part was pink on the original script.
6On the original script, the seven words, circles and
links at the top were blue, the five at the bottom
(wonder, unbelievable, happiness, terror, unconsciousness), were black.
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1323 Creative Education
4.4. Control Classes: Lists, Connected Text and Predominant
Specification of Pictorial Items
The pupils in the control classes preferred either of two alternative configura-
tions: lists or connected text (Graph 1 and Graph 2, and Figures 4(a)-(c) be-
low); few pupils opted for spatialization (Figure 4(c) below). Their note-taking re-
ferred almost exclusively to figurative items found in the supporting artwork (
part du rêve
Le chasseur d’étoiles
). The pupils detailed or listed the pic-
torial items in the artwork (
astrologer, sun
) and retrieved remembered cultural
or scientific knowledge (
Léonard de Vinci, Eclipse
). They did not interpret the
work conceptually.
Space was used in Figure 3(c), the pupil using a synthetic form in the con-
cluding expression at the bottom:
the dreams Léonard de Vinci had
”, presuma-
bly meant to contain everything noted in the space above, ordered in a way that
eludes the reader but which makes sense to the pupil:
Léonard de Vinci
top left,
; then
in the middle, and on the
bottom line
The non-PDD control pupils thus demonstrated their skill in generating im-
pressionistic and perceptive ideas. The reference to writing in a magazine for
teenagers seems to have been inoperative.
4.5. Experimental Classes: Traces of Conceptual Ranking and
The rough notes produced in the experimental class quite often showed hyper-
onym/hyponym ranking (Figure 4), showing that the ordering of ideas engaged
the pupil in more complex organizational modes than the simple use of nomen-
clature, or distinction of opposites. These pupils used “sunburst” forms for idea
generation from clearly designated subsumed concepts (circled key words, here
Graph 2. Distribution of each type of rough notes by class type post-test.
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1324 Creative Education
(b) (c)
Figure 4. Representative types (a/b/c) of rough notes in control classes. (a) Listed original rough notes (pictorial items); (b) Writ-
ten-out original rough notes (pictorial items, imagination); (c) Spatialized original rough notes (pictorial items, imagination).
sleeping, dream, daydream, nightmare, wake up
), developed by further detailed
Rough notes in an experimental class presented in a list format attests an in-
tellectual pathway that can be followed: starting with an initial concept (
set down as a premise with an explanation (a dream is
something we’d like to
”), the pupil progressively adds, stepwise, distinct opposing ideas (
), and then comes back to the artwork to extract a pictorial item
the chair
), and concludes that
dreaming is confusion
(Figure 5).
This pupil made an individual use of the
Philo & Carto
approach, going back
and forth between ideas and pictorial items, even though we can question the
conceptual basis that leads to the conclusion. But the pupil offers an interpreta-
tion of the artwork.
4.6. Analysis of Contrast between Experimental and Control
Although we consider that the comparison between classes (experimental and
controls) needs further validation (see conclusion and limitations below), a clear
trend emerges that points to a fundamental difference between the two types of
class. Pupils schooled in the usual way (controls), made aware of art by looking
at artwork and using free personal expression, tended to favor mere description
(Figure 4(a)/Figure 4(b)). By contrast, pupils used to philosophical discussion,
who had been taught to question representations, tended to structure ideas taken
from artworks, link them explicitly, favor distinctions and thus bring into play a
more complete or even fully formed mental conceptual organization. Associat-
ing philosophically directed practices with consideration of artworks prompted
pupils not only to reflect, but also to rank their impressions, and gradually to put
E. Auriac-Slusarczyk et al.
10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1325 Creative Education
(a) (b)
Figure 5. (a) Example of original hyperonym/hyponym rough notes in an experimental class; (b) Example of original rough notes
with spatialized reasoning, experimental class.
aside impressions (often descriptive) in favor of classifications (hypo-
nyms/hyperonyms), supporting a richer intellectual journey. In their rough
notes taken before writing, the PDD pupils showed an ability to combine imagi-
nation and reflection judiciously, and use lay-out and color (Figure 3(b)/Figure
3(c)) in their mind mapping to help chart more complex reasoning.
5. Discussion
The results of this exploratory study primarily emphasize differences between
pupils used to or unused to PDD in how they order their ideas before writing a
text (§3.2.). The large proportion of rough notes, produced in the form of mind
maps, in the experimental classes attests to the conceptual content and ranking
of the ideas produced (§3.5.), showing that these pupils used to philosophical
discussion at school had reached a high level of expertise for their age, confirm-
ing the positive impact of the practice of philosophical discussion measured in
terms of acceleration of development (Mortier, 2005, Millett & Tapper, 2012).
The pre-test interclass variability (§3.2.) argues for extending our data to deter-
mine whether the rough notes can be related to the ensuing texts (see Maire,
Auriac-Slusarczyk, & Slusarczyk, 2018, Maire, Auriac-Slusarczyk, Pironom, &
Slusarczyk, 2018); rough notes organized from conceptual items (§3.5.) versus
pictorial items (§3.4.) does not necessarily guarantee a better quality text. Hence
Philo & Carto
experimental program needs an advanced theoretical formali-
zation (see below) so as to be able to measure its specific effects; as the instruc-
tions given the pupils in experimental classes versus
controls from the same
eight artworks produced different effects post-test (§3.4./3.5.), we need to know
the extent to which the artwork, as a reference support, induces a creative
process of interest to 1) the teaching of art, and 2) fostering creative philosophi-
cal thought (Chabanne, Parayre, Villagordo, & Daquin, 2011; Leckey, 2017; Slu-
sarczyk et al., 2017; Auriac-Slusarczyk, Daniel, Fiema, Pironom, & Belghiti,
E. Auriac-Slusarczyk et al.
10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1326 Creative Education
2017). Creative thinking is underpinned by certain intellectual capacities, among
which divergent or exploratory thought (i.e., all-out search for as many ideas or
solutions as possible from a single starting point, see Besançon, Barbot, & Lu-
bart, 2011) can be found here in rough notes of the spatialized or mind map types.
Toward a Theoretical-Empirical Formalization of the Philo & Carto
The repeated creation of metaphors (Margel, 2006; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) is
an important feature of the
Philo & Carto
program offered to PDD pupils. The
description of the program could thus be reduced to the philosophical and lin-
guistic/language dimensions only. However, we propose here a reverse formali-
zation of the
Philo & Carto
program, as validated empirically, depicted below
(Figure 6).
The pupils’ engagement in the
Philo & Carto
program obliges them to ex-
plore, at the same time, philosophy (in a collective setting), and esthetics (of the
proposed artwork, see Plucker & Beghetto, 2015), linguistics (which supports the
creation of metaphoric expression, see §1.4.), and lastly geography and carto-
graphy, where the production of the
illustrates the expertise gained
by the pupils (see §3.1.) Analogical reasoning (cf. Hofstadter & Sander, 2013)
seems central to the program, helping to bring together the four explored fields
(philosophy, cartography, linguistics and esthetics), and make them interdepen-
dent: this is evident in the rough notes produced by the PDD pupils in which
mind mapping is used to order complex ideas. The ideas set down are not mere-
ly listed words, but are nodes in a network, in a system of explicit links represented
graphically in the rough notes (arrows, circling, ranking, spatialization), in
which the ordering of hyperonyms and hyponyms (§3.5.) attests to a strong in-
tellectual organization (Berten, 2017). Further studies will validate or challenge
this theoretical-empirical formalization of our
Philo & Carto
program, and thus
offer new perspectives on the links between art, creativity and education (Pluck-
er & Beghetto, 2015).
Figure 6. Formalization of the
Philo & Carto
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10.4236/ce.2018.99098 1327 Creative Education
6. Conclusion and Limitations of the Study
These first results raise a question: if junior high school pupils used to PDD
reach a level of conceptual and organizational expertise in generating ideas, is
this a motivational-conjunctural effect, or a true developmental advancement?
The effects due to earlier practice of PDD and those of the
Philo & Carto
gram are confounded in this study. In addition, a fatigue effect (due to testing
and retesting writing on the same theme,
), may not have acted in the
same way according to the conditions tested (PDD or non-PDD classes). This
fatigue effect is a second factor that crosses with the results presented here. Fur-
thermore, we did not consider the pupils level of attainment; the link between
organization of ideas and intellectual level warrants investigation (cf. Slusarczyk,
Fiema, Auriel, & Auriac-Slusarczyk, 2015; Çokluk-keoğlu, 2008). Lastly, the
junior high school pupils, some of whom were ready to generate mind maps at
the start of the experiment, may have developed feelings of self-efficacy that
might explain why the PDD classes sought to move on to written work at the
end of 7th grade (see the experimental context in the Introduction). Hence, many
aspects remain to be explored, calling for further research. Within the limita-
tions of the present work, studying pupils’ rough notes to follow the writing
process (cf. Fenoglio & Boucheron-Pétillon, 2002) is useful for rethinking writ-
ing aids in education. In our case, teaching experiments conducted in the inter-
disciplinary teaching spaces recently introduced by the French Ministry of Edu-
cation to impel school innovation in a supervised and controlled way, seem to be
positive and beneficial for pupils practicing PDD in experimental classes.
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Les problèmes que rencontrent les élèves avec le langage ne sont pas seulement des problèmes " techniques ", relevant d'une mauvaise " maitrise de la langue " ou des " types de discours ", mais on gagne à se demander se demander : que se passe-t-il réellement quand les élèves sont invités à parler et à écrire pour apprendre ? Est-ce seulement d'ailleurs pour apprendre, ou cela implique t-il aussi d'autres dimensions, voire d'autres conditions : il faut avant d'apprendre s'engager à penser, voire à penser avec d'autres, à co-opérer, à co-laborer, et cela autrement que du simple point de vue superficiel de la pédagogie des groupes. Que se passe-t-il exactement quand un élève travaille avec le langage ? Que fait-il ou ne fait-il pas qui fait par exemple que placé dans la même tâche, tel élève apprend et tel autre n'apprend rien ?
A travers la présentation de cartes allégoriques ou satiriques, cet ouvrage montre comment la cartographie, du XIVe siècle à aujourd'hui, a été le support d'une imagination puis est devenue l'enjeu d'une symbolique visuelle, utilisant des personnages emblématiques, la faune ou la flore pour représenter le contexte politique d'un pays ou pour caricaturer des pays voisins et rivaux.