The specification for this junior cycle short course in philosophy is built around ten strands:
Strand 1: Foundations for doing philosophy is a foundational strand, aimed at introducing students to philosophy and building the listening, collaboration and thinking skills which are essential for students’ successful engagement with other strands. Teachers may choose to teach strand 1 as a discrete strand, at the beginning of the course, or it may be integrated across the strands. The foundational skills which are the focus of strand 1 will be applied and developed throughout the short course.
Along with strand 1, teachers choose any four of the following:
Strand 2: Philosophy of knowledge
Strand 3: Philosophy of language
Strand 4: Philosophy of art
Strand 5: Philosophy of sport
Strand 6: Philosophy of science and technology
Strand 7: Moral philosophy
Strand 8: Social and political philosophy
Strand 9: Philosophy of education
Strand 10: Philosophy of religion
Strands 2 to 10 are presented as optional and teachers can select four strands, depending on the topics which are of interest to the teacher and students. These strands do not need to be taught in any particular sequence.
Teachers can also identify and develop their own topics for philosophical enquiry using the approach set out in Appendix 2. This could replace one of the four strands.
The Classroom-Based Assessment outlined in the assessment section of this specification reflects the learning students undertake in this short course. Schools have the flexibility to adapt any NCCA short course to suit their particular needs and school context. If adapting the course, schools may also need to adapt the Classroom-Based Assessment, so that it reflects the learning their students undertook. Schools may also develop their own short course(s) and related Classroom-Based Assessment. Guidelines for schools who wish to develop their own short course(s) are available on the NCCA website.
The learning outcomes of this course are broadly aligned with the level indicators for Level 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications (Appendix 1).
The philosophy short course has been designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement.