p4c Hawai‘iis an innovative approach to education that is transforming the schooling experience by engaging people in the activity of philosophy. The p4c Hawai‘i approach aids students and teachers in converting traditional classrooms into intellectually safe communities of inquiry. Together, they develop their ability to think for themselves in responsible ways by exploring “big questions” that arise from their interests, experiences, and learning contexts.
p4c Hawai‘i first landed at Kailua High School in 2000 when Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau began experimenting with it as an effective pedagogy within the Social Studies classroom during her student teaching. Its success remained within her four walls until 2004 when Dr. Chad Miller first brought it into the English department as an effective mode of instruction. Due to p4c Hawai‘i’s continued success with the students at Kailua High School, p4c Hawai‘i has become the foundation of each classroom in the English department, thus being the first high school p4c Hawai‘i department in the world. Additionally, the entire Ethnic Studies curriculum, which serves every student at Kailua High School, was created with the p4c Hawai‘i pedagogy at its core. While p4c Hawai‘i has most heavily been used in these two disciplines, with the support of principal Francine Honda, Dr. Benjamin Lukey served as Kailua High School’s Philosopher in Residence, bringing p4c Hawai‘i into the classrooms and curricula of teachers from other content areas. Currently, Dr. Chad Miller is the KHS Philosopher in Residence, working with more than 35 teachers in order to promote rigorous thinking and deeper student engagement.