Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Theory Of Knowledge Essay Prompts Are Out!


The May 2017 Theory of Knowledge Essay prompts have just been released by IB.
I’ve posted them at our class blog, where you can also download the outline our students use, the official essay planning document, feedback we’ve received from IB Examiners on our previously submitted essays, and links to all the other resources my TOK students use to prepare their essays.

I hope you find them helpful, and feel free to suggest additional resources you find helpful!

August 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Humorous Takes On “The Trolley Problem”


Just about every Theory of Knowledge class will be dealing with the famous Trolley Problem (see The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”).

Here are a couple of lighthearted additions to that list:

August 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study Reinforces That Prior Knowledge Is Important – As Well As Critical Thinking Skills

As all teachers understand, it’s critical for students to have – and be able to access – prior knowledge in order to learn something new (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It) ).

We’re all also supposed to know how important it is for our students to develop critical thinking skills (see The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom).

A new study has been released today that I suspect most IB Theory of Knowledge classes around the world will be incorporating in their discussions of memory’s role in acquiring knowledge.  It found that, as the headline of an article about the study says, The more we know, the easier we are to deceive.

Here’s an excerpt:


This is one reason we spend a fair amount of time on the concept of false memories in TOK classes. It sounds like it might be worth discussing in other classes, too.

August 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Important NY Times Column On Separating “Art & Artist” – Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With It


Roxane Gay has written a powerful essay in today’s New York Times headlined Nate Parker and the Limits of Empathy.

It’s about the recent media attention paid to past rape charges against the actor and director, whose movie, “The Birth Of A Nation,” is coming out soon.

It raises important points related to ethics and the arts.

I’m going to have my IB Theory of Knowledge students read it when we are in our Arts unit and have them respond to this prompt:

What does Roxane Gay say about separating “the art and the artist”? To what extent do you agree with what she is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

I’m adding this info to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where I keep links to multiple prompts.

August 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Trailer For “Arrival” Movie – Can A Linguist Save The World?

The movie “Arrival” will hit theaters in early November, and its first trailer came out today.

I’m thinking the trailer itself could be useful for Theory of Knowledge classes when we study language – it appears that the focus of the movie is on a linguist who is supposed to save the world by deciphering the aliens’ language.

What do you think?

August 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two New Videos Exploring If We Live In A Computer Simulation

The topic of whether we live in a computer simulation or not fits right into any exploration of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Here are two new videos about that topic, and I’m adding them to my Theory of Knowledge class blog post that includes “Cave” videos and resources, including many student-created ones.

August 12, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

MIT’s “Moral Machine” Is Most Engaging Version Of “Trolley Problem” You Will Find



Most of us are probably familiar with the famous ethical “Trolley Problem” (see The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”).

Now, MIT has created what’s got to be the most engaging online version of the age-old ethical dilemma in its “Moral Machine.”

They’re take on the problem is that you are designing the moral decisions a self-driving car has to make. You’re given thirteen scenarios and, after you’re done, you can see how your answers compare to those of previous participants.

The best part, though, of the site comes next. You can then create your own scenario that others can play!

I think it’s safe to say that for as long as this site is up, any IB Theory of Knowledge class that has access to technology will be playing it during their Ethics unit.

You can read more about it at Slate’s article, Should a Self-Driving Car Kill Two Jaywalkers or One Law-Abiding Citizen?
Here’s a short video from the site:

Skip to toolbar