Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education

In Order to meet the need for greater insight into ethical issues and their social consequences, Mr. Eiji Uehiro, a noted ethical leader in Japan, established the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education (UFEE) in 1987. UFEE is and independent Public Interest Corporation based in Tokyo, Japan. The main goal of UFEE is to encourage research and public discussion about ethics and education and the inter-relationship between them. The UFEE has generously supported p4c Hawai‘i since 2005.

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The UH Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education

The Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education is located in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s College of Arts & Humanities and supports research and education related to the preparation, support, and sustaining of educators, researchers and students who are developing intellectually safe communities of philosophical inquiry in their classrooms and schools. The Uehiro Academy serves students and teachers from Hawaiʻi, the U.S., Japan, and other international locations.

The UH Uehiro Academy Faculty


    Dr. Thomas Jackson (“Dr. J”) has been a member of the p4c Hawai`i family since 1984. He received his PhD in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawai’i in 1979. In 1980 he became a co-founder of the Hawai’i International Film Festival. In1984 he discovered “Philosophy for Children” (P4C) and spent three weeks at a workshop at Montclair State University in New Jersey with other scholars from around the world. There he learned from P4C’s creator, Matthew Lipman, an inspiring approach to working with children, a provocative new way of thinking about philosophy and an exciting development in education.Since 1984 he has been passionately committed to the development of p4c in Hawai`i and around the world. In 1987 he became a full time Specialist with the Department of Philosophy, UH Manoa and Director of the Philosophy in the Schools Project, a joint effort between the Department of Philosophy and the Hawai’i Department of Education. For 15 years the DOE funded philosophy department graduate students who worked in public school classrooms throughout the state of Hawai’i, assisting teachers in developing intellectually safe classroom communities of inquiry. The Philosophy in the Schools Project has been supplanted by the new p4c Hawai’i Center which is better able to handle the continued growth and demand for p4c.Dr. J works in classrooms with teachers and their students, regularly offers courses in p4c both on and off the UH Manoa campus, serves on dissertation committees of students engaged in research on p4c in both the College of Arts & Humanities and in the College of Education in Hawai’i and students who come from abroad to study the p4c Hawai’i approach. Dr. J has been a conference and workshop presenter and keynote speaker locally, nationally, and internationally in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Austria and Israel.


      Dr. Benjamin Lukey is the Associate Director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. He has been part of the p4c Hawai‘i family since 2000. While completing a Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, he facilitated p4c inquiries and worked with many excellent teachers at Waikiki Elementary, Hokulani Elementary, Wai‘au Elementary and Ala Wai Elementary. Dr. Lukey also spent two years facilitating p4c at Loveland Academy, working with children with autism and other developmental disorders. Since 2007, Dr. Lukey has served as the Philosopher in Residence at Kailua High School, working with English and Ethnic Studies teachers to integrate p4c Hawaii into their curricula. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Lukey serves as Philosopher in Residence at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, and continues to support p4c Hawaii teachers and students at Waikiki School and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


        Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau is currently the Director of Curriculum and Research at the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. Dr. Makaiau graduated with BA in Psychology and Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1999. Deeply affected by her undergraduate fieldwork in California’s public schools Dr. Makaiau returned home to Hawaii to cultivate a teaching practice emphasizing social justice, multicultural, culturally responsive, and student-centered approaches to education. While working on her Masters in Education and Teaching from the University of Hawai’i, Dr. Makaiau was introduced to p4c Hawaii by Dr. Thomas Jackson.

        Attracted to the way in which the p4c strategies effectively translated her theoretical beliefs about education into actual classroom practices, Dr. Makaiau spent the next ten years teaching and researching the impact of p4c Hawaii in her position as a HI DOE secondary social studies classroom teacher. p4c Hawaii proved to be an extremely successful approach to teaching and learning for Dr. Makaiau and her students. Her students consistently scored well on national achievement tests, and reported enjoying learning in her classes. In recognition of their combined accomplishments Dr. Makaiau achieved National Board Certification in 2006, the Hawaii International Education Week, Honolulu Advertiser 2004 Outstanding Global Educator Award, the Oceanic Outstanding Educator Award in 2005, and the 2011 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching. In 2010 Dr. Makaiau completed her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. Her current projects include a designing and researching a brand new Philosophical Inquiry course, and a High School Legislative Internship Program. Dr. Makaiau continues to present her work locally, at international and national conferences, write, and advocate for the betterment of education in Hawaii and beyond.


        Dr. Chad Miller is the 2012 Hawaiʻi State Teacher of the Year, a National Board Certified teacher, and current Director of Teacher Development at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. In this role, Chad collaborates with teachers and helps them incorporate the activity of philosophy into their classroom practice. He leads workshops, presents at conferences, teaches classes, and serves as the Philosopher in Residence at Kailua High School where he participates in philosophical inquiries with students and teachers.

        Chad received his BA in philosophy from John Carroll University and PhD in education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His dissertation, Philosophy Goes To High School: An Inquiry into the Philosopher’s Pedagogy, examines philosophy’s absence from the American high school experience, provides a pedagogical framework to bring philosophy into our subject-centered classrooms, and analyzes the student experience when philosophy is used as an approach to teaching. Chad continues to present the findings of his work concerning philosophy’s application to classroom instruction at numerous domestic and international academic conferences.


          Dr. Mitsuyo Toyoda has been part of the p4c Hawai’i family since 2004. After completing her Masters in Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i in 2006, Mitsuyo worked on her Doctorate at Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan until 2009. The focus of her research has been incorporating p4c ideas and methods into public environmental decision-making. Dr. Toyoda also coordinates the p4c Japan-Hawai’i Exchange Program in collaboration with the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education. This program, which has been held twice a year in summer since 2006, provides wonderful opportunities for schoolteachers from Japan and Hawai’i to experience the cultural diversity in education and to learn deeply about p4c Hawai’i activities. Dr. Toyoda is currently teaching environmental education at the University of Hyogo in Japan.

          DR. THOMAS YOS

            Dr. Thomas “Toby” Yos is a part-time Assistant Specialist at the Uehiro Academy.  His primary focus is on designing and coordinating Academy outreach programs.  Dr. Yos is also a philosopher-in-residence at Ala Wai Elementary School.  Situated in the school’s counseling department, Dr. Yos works with teachers to incorporate philosophy for children Hawaii (p4cH) into their classrooms and is piloting new p4cH based counseling projects.  Additionally, Dr. Yos is the father of four and is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Chaminade University where he teaches classes on philosophy, ethics, critical thinking, and death and dying.

            Dr. Yos received his Doctorate degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa.  His dissertation, entitled “Educating for Good Judgment,” was the first in the Philosophy department to concentrate on Philosophy for Children.  Dr. Yos began his work with p4cH in 1991 and he has worked with teachers at Kaala Elementary School, Waiau Elementary School, Pearl Harbor Elementary School, and, for the past twenty years, Ala Wai Elementary School.  Working in the Ala Wai Counseling Department as the coordinator of the school’s Primary School Adjustment Project, Dr. Yos has had extensive training and practice in leading Child-Led Play counseling sessions.  In 2008 Dr. Yos and his Ala Wai School Counseling Department colleagues were honored by the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii with the Ola Pono award for promoting safe, healthy, and drug-free lifestyles.

            History of p4c Hawai'i

            With roots reaching deeply into American Pragmatism and the thought of such philosophers as John Dewey and William James, Philosophy for Children (P4C) is widely respected as a direct response to the international crisis in education.

            P4C converts traditional classrooms into reflective communities of inquiry where students and teachers continue to develop their ability to think for themselves in responsible ways. P4C began around 1969 when Matthew Lipman, a Colombia University philosophy professor, became disenchanted with the educational system. He observed that children did not think as well as they could or should in a democratic society.

            He was also concerned that schools actually encouraged children to have a negative view of their own intellectual abilities. To address these issues Lipman created a curriculum that incorporated the skills of logic and reasoning found in the practice of philosophy to improve students’ thinking in the K – 12 setting. In an effort to extend Lipman’s original curriculum and vision to a variety of geo-cultural contexts, a number of P4C Centers have been established worldwide.

            Why is p4c needed?

            Something is missing in schooling. Frequently, by the time children reach third grade, the sense of wonder with which they entered kindergarten – wonder out of which authentic thinking and philosophy develops – has begun to diminish.

            By 6th grade it has practically disappeared. A major contributing factor to this loss of wonder is the failure to properly nurture the true voices of children. Children’s thinking focuses instead on what the teacher expects and it is rare for students and teachers to regularly have the opportunity in a classroom setting to inquire together into topics and questions that make a difference in their lives.

            Schools instead encourage students to be uncritical consumers of information and their individual interests, questions, comments, experiences, beliefs and curiosity are completely ignored. Due to a variety of pressures, both internal and external, the typical classroom teacher does not appear to have time for children’s genuine wondering and questioning, from which structured inquiries can grow. This apparent lack of time is exacerbated by the fact that most teachers simply have never been exposed to this type of inquiry. Such inquiry requires a pedagogical shift from teacher to co-participant where no one knows where the inquiry will end up. If teachers are ever to use p4c this successfully in their own classrooms, they need time and guidance in learning how to conduct such inquiries.

            Schools must move from being institutions that provide students with extrinsic meanings to institutions that provide students with the necessary circumstances and tools that will allow each to personally construct meaning in their own learning and lives. The goal of p4c Hawai‘i is to move school culture from a top-down model to a community-based, participatory model grounded in sound pedagogy and effective educational philosophy. While guided by this goal, p4c Hawai‘i recognizes that meaningful reform is not and never will be a “quick fix.” From the beginning its approach has been to start with the teachers and to then find every way possible to support these teachers both in their classrooms and as faculty in a school setting. This has helped to create a deep seated commitment among the teachers to p4c as a basic approach to teaching, not just another passing programmatic fad.

            Model Schools

            Waikiki Elementary

            With the support of principal, Bonnie Tabor, the teachers at Waikiki Elementary School have waikiki-schoolengaged in p4c activities for nearly fourteen years. Dr. Thomas Jackson, of the University of Hawai‘i, has worked to develop and sustain p4c at Waikiki School by actively facilitating p4c in the classroom at all grade levels (kindergarten- 6th grade), by recruiting philosophy graduate students from the University of Hawai‘i to work as facilitators in the classrooms, and by offering p4c professional development classes to the Waikiki faculty and staff. Roughly 90% of the faculty at Waikiki includes p4c in the curriculum. Most recently, Matthew Lawrence, a veteran p4c Hawai‘i teacher at Waikiki Elementary was recognized as the 2014 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year.

            Kailua High School

            p4c Hawai‘i first landed at Kailua High School in 2000 when Dr. Amber Makaiau began kailua-schoolexperimenting 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 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.

            Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School (WEIS)

            With the support of the Principal, Noel Richardson, and former Vice-Principal, Garrett Arakawa, p4c Hawai‘i began officially working with WEIS in January of 2013.  Dr. Benjamin Lukey, currently serving as the WEIS Philosopher in Residence, works with teachers and waimanalo-school-orgstudents from pre-K through 8th grade school to promote the creation of intellectually responsible communities of inquiry.  Since the vast majority of WEIS students matriculate to Kailua High School, the expansion of p4c Hawai‘i at WEIS offers the opportunity for students to benefit from p4c from Pre-K through high school.  In partnership with the UH Uehiro Academy, WEIS has received a major grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) to support its Philosopher in Residence, p4c Hawai‘i Professional Development, p4c camps, and several other p4c-based initiatives at the school.

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