I am a starting my second year as an eleventh and twelfth grade global history teacher in the South Bronx this fall. In the spring I suggested that our school offer a philosophy course to some of our strong seniors and was told it would not fit into our curriculum. Much to my delight I was informed yesterday that I will be teaching the course. The only problem is that I am overwhelmed with the task of creating a curriculum.
My class is set to meet for about an hour a day for a year. In addition to deep and thoughtful philosophical conversations I would also like them to read several original works of philosophy although not in their entirety. I need to be able to take my students to reading and uncovering meaning from the texts, to read and figure out Sartre for themselves.
Finding resources to teach with has been very problematic. So often I find philosophy books explain philosophers well but fail to suggest reading Plato. While my students' literacy levels are not at the same level as most other students their age I need them to read the philosophy for themselves, struggle with it and create meaning. Unfortunately, I have not studied philosophy extensively enough (I majored in French and Political Science) to know the pithiest 15 pages of Locke that get at the core of his social contract theory. Do you possibly know of a book that has done this kind of editing?
I am thinking of structuring the course into large units that deal with some universal philosophical problem. Within each I hope to start students off with a general conversation around the topic, do some preliminary writing about what we know/think about it then delve in to two philosophers and possibly two modern critiques of their work finishing with a look at contemporary social, political, or economic issues through our new lens.
Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.