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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

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As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class. Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes and we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.

As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…

I’ve also been able to adapt a number of my TOK lessons for my Intermediate English class.

Since I know quite a few TOK teachers subscribe to this blog, I thought I’d put together a “The Best…” list of related resources for this year.

Here are my choices for The Best Theory of Knowledge Resources — 2010:

A Gazillion TOK Resources: Well, a “gazillion” might be a bit of an exaggeration. Actually, I’ve bookmarked nearly 300 new resources for International Baccalaureate’s Theory of Knowledge class on my Delicious account. This link will take you to everything that is tagged as TOK. You can then see how each of them are then also tagged with a specific Ways of Knowing or Areas of Knowledge label. I have even more resources divided on our Theory of Knowledge class blog. I just haven’t gotten around to adding these nearly 300 new resources there, though there is a link to them. Until I get around to integrating all these new resources into my curriculum (I’ve been collecting them for several months now), I’ll try to periodically give students an opportunity to choose one from the different sections as we study them and have small groups prepare their own lessons to teach to the class.

Student Evaluations Of TOK: I’ve written a post sharing how my students evaluated last year’s TOK class — How My Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated The Class And Me.

NY Times article on IB: The New York Times published an interesting article on the IB program titled International Program Catches On in U.S. Schools. What I’m most excited about, though, is that the article contains a link to a website run by opponents of the program (they have many objections, including believing that it’s too closely aligned with the United Nations). Some opponents have left comments on my previous posts that you can read (and which I shared with my students). I think that site is a great source of material for a lesson or two — not as a focus of ridicule, but as a resource for students to investigate and come to their own conclusions.

Looking At History: Larry Cuban published a very useful and thought-provoking post titled How History Is Taught In Schools. In it, among other points, he contrasts “heritage” pedagogy (“cultivating a national identity, patriotism, and a faith in one’s nation”) with “historical” pedagogy (“not a single account of the past but many accounts”). He continues:

History is an interpretation of the past, not a fax that yesteryear has wired to the present.

It’s an interesting way of looking at it, one that is worth discussing in TOK class.

TOK Class Schedule: For those of you who are TOK teachers, or for those who are curious about TOK, I have posted the class schedule on our Theory of Knowledge class blog.

Art: I’ve posted two “The Best…” lists related to art that I use in my TOK class. With The Best Examples Of “Unusual” Art, students can debate if they are art, and if so, why. With The Best Sites For Learning About Famous Art Thefts, they can explore why people would buy a stolen piece of art that they could never show to anyone else.

Political Ads: The Wall Street Journal just published a great (in the sense they’re useful to TOK; they are a sad commentary on our public life) compilation of Attack Ads from this fall’s political campaign. Then you vote on them in a poll. Students can analyze them in the context of their use of language, reason, emotion, and perception — the four “Ways of Knowing” as categorized by TOK.

Additional contributions are welcome!

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the nearly 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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