Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 4, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Response: How Do You Teach About Knowledge Questions?

A week ago, I published a post headlined: Attention, IB Theory Of Knowledge Teachers! How Do You Teach “Knowledge Questions” (Formerly “Knowledge Issues”)?

As I said in the post, I think helping students understand knowledge questions is one of the most challenging tasks I have in class.

I’ve invited a number of people to respond to that question, and will be posting their responses over the next couple of weeks.

Today, Eileen Dombrowski has agreed to share her commentary. Eileen is the lead author of the TOK course companion, published by Oxford University Press. The 2013 edition was written in cooperation with the IB and gives support to the new TOK course. Eileen taught IB English A and TOK for roughly 20 years for the United World Colleges (mainly Pearson College in Canada). She has been a TOK assessor, including Deputy Chief Assessor for a term, and has led TOK workshops around the world. In recent years, she has worked entirely online:

How can we teach the concept of knowledge questions? To my mind, the most important first step for any teacher new to TOK is to guard against two reactions that kill any relaxed response of inquiry.

1. The first mental block is taking the term “knowledge questions” so seriously that it becomes paralyzing. It’s a term formulated by the curriculum review group, all of them experienced TOK teachers, and it’s meant for classroom use. In TOK, we ask questions about knowledge – how it is constructed and shared, what the role is of uncertainty and questioning, how we can identify perspectives that influence it, and so forth. There’s no huge mystery here.

2. The second mental block is thinking of knowledge questions as a topic within the course – a chunk of material to be covered, tested, and left behind. Although we do want to talk about the term with our students, we also want to create familiarity through daily use. I’d say that we lead our students to understand through the thoughtful questioning and critical examination we give all the ways of knowing and areas of knowledge. We don’t just instruct. We model. And we do so throughout the entire course.

In writing the IB Theory of Knowledge course companion, I tried to treat knowledge as alive with questions and included activities that open up questioning and reflection on possible answers. If we can treat knowledge perpetually in formation, with critical challenges in building and sharing it, then we’re dealing with an entire way of appreciating knowledge. We deal then, in practice, with knowledge questions.

Thanks, Eileen!

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November 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Unspeak” Looks Like An Intriguing Interactive Documentary

Unspeak is described as:

an interactive documentary investigating the manipulative power of language.

The site looks pretty wild and, if you can figure it out, engaging. I think it would be useful for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes when studying language.

Here’s an introductory video to it:

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November 29, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Attention, IB Theory Of Knowledge Teachers! How Do You Teach “Knowledge Questions” (Formerly “Knowledge Issues”)?

'Question mark made of puzzle pieces' photo (c) 2008, Horia Varlan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For me, at least, one of the most challenging concepts to teach in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class is the idea of “Knowledge Questions” (formerly known as “Knowledge Issues”) and how to help my students be able to formulate their own.

I’ve posted some related resources in our TOK class blog, but I thought I’d put out a request to other TOK teachers and invite them to share what they do in their classes.

Please leave your lesson ideas in the comments section of this post and I’ll bring together everybody’s thoughts in one post sometime in December.

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November 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here’s What My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Did For Their “Ways Of Knowing Final Project”

'The Thinker' photo (c) 2008, gosheshe - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching English Language Learners and mainstream classes, I also teach a very diverse International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class that includes students ranging from ones in my ELL classes to full-IB Diploma candidates. I think it’s safe to say it’s great experiences for students and teacher alike.

One of the major projects I had students do this year was a presentation on the Ways of Knowing, and how each one can help and hinder a search for knowledge. There has been a fair amount of discussion about if, in light of the new TOK Course Guide, if the WOK should be taught separately (see The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide). I’ve decided to continue to do so, and it seems to be working out well.

You can read the instructions for this project at our class blog, as well as seeing the PowerPoints different small groups prepared for their presentation.

My original intention was to have most, if not all, also create an audio narrated version of their slides using Screencast-o-Matic after they gave their presentations to the class. However, we ended up being pressed for time as we neared Thanksgiving break. One group was able to do so, and I’ve embedded it below.

I think the whole project went well. Creating the presentation, giving it, and then listening to them, all provided opportunities for formative assessment, review, and practice for the TOK presentations they have to do in the spring.

Let me know what you think, and please share your ideas on how we could have done it better…

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November 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Challenger Disaster” Is An Excellent Movie For TOK & Other Classes

'Richard Feynman: Surely You're Joking' photo (c) 2006, Wolf Gang - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

“The Challenger Disaster” was shown on the Discovery Channel and The Science Channel last week, and it was an impressive movie. Even though I’ve blogged a lot about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, I was not aware of his critical role in determining the cause of that space shuttle disaster.

You can see clips from the movie here and read about it this New York Times article.

It could certainly be used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes as part of a discussion about why some people don’t want knowledge to be found, and to also help teach the scientific method.

Here’s a video of Feynman’s climatic moment at the actual hearings:

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November 4, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Teaching Intuition With Star Trek

For teachers of the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course, I thought I’d how I introduce the concept of “intuition” (as I’m sure you’ll know if you’re a TOK teacher, intuition used to be taught as part of the “emotion” Way of Knowing, but has now “graduated” to being its own WOK).

An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is our entry point….

First, I show a clip introducing the characters Data and Geordi, usually using this scene (it still boggles my mind that so few students have ever seen the show). You can also show the actual scene here:

Secondly, I pass out the section of the script for the “The Defector” episode where Geordi explains to Data what it means to have a “gut” feeling (it’s scene 44) and students act it out in pairs among themselves (I push them to have fun with it).

Thirdly, I ask them to come up with a one sentence summary of how Geordi explained what a gut feeling (intuition) means and ask if they agree or disagree with it and why. We come back as a class and /discuss.

Finally, if I’m feeling ambitious and we have time for it, I have a few volunteers come to the front to act it out and videotape their performance, which I’ll then post on our class blog. Here’s one example, and you can see more here.

How do you introduce the concept of intuition, and do you have any interesting lessons you’d like to ?

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November 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What A Great Series Of Videos About “Uncle Drew”

Wendi Pillars (you can read her blog here and follow her on Twitter here) sent me this great series of videos.

Here’s what she wrote:

They’re rich for material!
Perception, bias, expectations, “acting one’s age”, advertisement as persuasion…etc….

I agree. They’d be particularly good for a Theory of Knowledge class when discussing perception, and, as Wendi mentions, great for any class studying advertising.

Even if you don’t have any interest in those topics, though, they are a must-watch for anyone who’s a basketball fan!

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November 2, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Videos Of Tom Lehrer’s Songs

tom

Readers may or may not know about Tom Lehrer, the mathematician turned songwriter and performer who was particularly popular in the 1960′s (and who is still around today). His satirical songs poked fun at many topical subjects, and I still remember hearing my parents playing his records when they had friends over and laughing uproariously.

Some of his songs are a bit dated now, or perhaps not entirely politically correct. However, many more are still right on target and very funny.

I regularly use his Wernher von Braun song in my IB Theory of Knowledge class when we discuss ethics, and have also cited it in discussions I’ve had with education researchers who want to distance themselves from how their studies are used.

You can see videos of most of his songs here with animated lyrics, but here are a few, starting with “Wernher von Braun” (I’ve ended with a popular video of actor Daniel Radcliffe recently singing his one of songs):

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October 28, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent Halloween Article For IB Theory of Knowledge Classes

'FEAR' photo (c) 2008, Hartwig HKD - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

A Halloween scare can sharpen the brain is an excellent article on emotion for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. It’s from The Los Angeles Times.

Here’s how it begins:

Halloween is the time to indulge those seemingly pathological cravings to get scared out of your skull. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to blood-splattery horror movies or haunted houses blaring high-pitched screams while serving bowls of grapes dressed as slimy, edible eyeballs? Lots of us, and experts say good can actually come from these predilections.

Fear protects us

“People think being afraid is a bad thing, but the reason we evolved to be afraid is that the world is pretty dangerous and we’ve evolved very powerful systems that automatically force us to do our natural defensive and protective behaviors,” says Michael Fanselow, a UCLA behavioral neuroscientist.

Some fears are learned; others are encoded in our DNA: Rotting flesh (we’re looking at you, zombies), snakes, blood, heights — even our tiny-brained ancestors understood these were unsafe. And the fear prompted immediate responses, Fanselow says.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Learning About Halloween.

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October 8, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Fun Theory Of Knowledge Lesson To Examine The Role Of Gestures In Language

Today, in our IB Theory of Knowledge class, students had to build free-standing towers with two sheets of paper, a 10 inch piece of tape, ten paper clips, and a scissors — without talking, and complete it in twenty minutes. We were studying what ideas could — and couldn’t — be communicated with gestures.

Afterword, students discussed what ideas were easy or hard to communicate, and if complex ideas required using words.

Here’s a photo of the winning group and their leaning tower:

image

You can see all their creations at our TOK class blog.

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October 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Special Edition Of “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t” — October (Part Two)

(Usually, I just post a weekly version of this regular feature. However, sometimes I post an extra “Special Edition” when I have more good links than usual)

'forged link chain (5)' photo (c) 2009, Kirsten Skiles - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in this blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include in my “Best Tweets” feature because I had planned to post about them, or because I didn’t even get around to sending a tweet sharing them.

Here is a Special Edition of “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”:

Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom.

Walk Free has a number of resources about human slavery today, including the video embedded below. I’m adding the link to The Best Resources For Learning About Human Trafficking Today.

I’ve previously posted about Bridge 8′s great critical thinking animations, which I’ve used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes. Now they’ve come out with another series of animations, this time on “This Thing Called Science.” Since we were just discussing empiricism in our class today, tomorrow I’ll be showing this video from this new collection:

I’m a proud public school teacher. Here’s a glimpse at what I do. is a must-read from TeacherBiz (thanks to Dan Willingham for the tip).

8 Condescending Things a Manager Should Avoid Saying to an Employee is from Great Leadership. Just substitute “student” for “employee” and you’ll find it to be a very helpful reminder.

Blogging Resources for Classroom Teachers is from Bill Ferriter. I’m adding it to The Best Sources For Advice On Student Blogging.

The New Yorker has a slideshow of student uniforms from around the world. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

Blobfish voted world’s ugliest animal is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Animals.

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September 30, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Online Resources For Teaching The Difference Between Correlation & Causation

The difference between correlation and causation is an important concept in IB Theory of Knowledge, and I thought readers might find it useful to see some simple fun ways I use to teach the concept.

I’ve used the first two, and the last one — a video — is one I just learned about . I haven’t decided if it’s helpful or just weird, though. Let me know what you think…

Here’s a great comic from xkcd:

Dilbert.com

correlate

via Spurious Correlations

The Internet was awash
recently in discoveries made by Tyler Vigen, who wrote a computer program that discovers strange correlations and publishes them on his blog.

 

Here’s what the plaque says:

THE RAINMAKERS OF 1891

Working on the theory that explosives could cause rainfall because many war battles had been followed by rain, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted experiments in rainmaking. During a West Texas drought in 1891 the agency brought the experiment to Midland, with some success. Desperate for rain, El Paso city leaders convinced the Department to come here and try the same procedure. On September 18, some 370 charges of dynamite and other explosives were fired from the heights of Mt. Franklin, but no rain resulted. Only a heavy dew was reported. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986

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September 29, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

Using Vine/Instagram In The Classroom

'vine-vs-instagram_51cbf363cde1e' photo (c) 2013, Maria Elena - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I do a lot of videotaping in my classes, primarily in IB Theory of Knowledge and in my ELL ones, and have been thinking about experimenting with Vine or Instragram’s stop motion clips. Though I posted The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video App “Vine,” I haven’t used it much other than to try it out with videos of my pets :) .

A new post by Amy Erin Borovoy over at Edutopia, however, has finally pushed me to give it a try in the classroom. Her post, Five-Minute Film Festival: Vine and Instagram Video in the Classroom, shares some great examples that are perfect models for students.

I’m planning on having students in my IB Theory of Knowledge class use Vine or Instagram (at least in our high school, Instagram seems to be the app that many of the kids use) to illustrate the different Ways Of Knowing.

In my ninth-grade English class, I’m going to talk with them about using Vine or Instagram to create different versions of book trailers that I have had students do in the past.

At this point, at least, I’m not planning on using the apps in my ELL classes. I want them talking as much as possible, so I still think I’ll stick with straight videos.

I’ll let you know how it goes, and share students samples, in a future post. Anyone have samples from their classes they feel like sharing?

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September 25, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“American History Handbook” Is A Useful Resource

The right way to teach history i the title of a new post at Valerie Strauss’ post at The Washington Post. It’s by Marion Brady, and I plan on using the post itself in my IB Theory of Knowledge class — he shares an insightful perspective on the purposes of studying history.

Here’s an excerpt:

It-seems-fair-to-say

In addition, at the end of his post, he shares a link to his American History Handbook, which is a free book he’s written with pretty decent lessons, including all student hand-outs, in United States history.

I’m adding this info to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History.

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September 21, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Wonderful Illustrations Of Logical Fallacies

An Illustrated Book Of Bad Arguments is a freely available online book that has wonderful illustrations of logical fallacies.

It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’m adding it to The Best Multimedia Resources For Learning About Fallacies.

Here are some examples from it:

Slippery Slope:

Illustrated-Fallacies-Slippery-Slope

Straw Man:

strawman

Appeal To Bandwagon:

appeal_to_bandwagon

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September 18, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Guest Post: “IB TOK: Making Claims and Seeking Truth Lesson”

'Knowledge is addictive' photo (c) 2006, Beatrice Murch - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Earlier this month, I posted about a lesson I was planning to do with my IB Theory of Knowledge class related to the potential bombing of Syria by the United States (see First Draft: My Theory Of Knowledge Lesson About Syria Next Monday — Help Me Make It Better). In summary, students looked at the reasons and evidence being used by President Obama to justify it, and evaluated it using Reuben Abel’s nine types of evidence.

There was a surprising amount of interest in the post, and quite a few teachers — TOK and non TOK — used some version of it in their classroom. In fact, I think it can be used as a template for a lesson on many different types of issues.

TOK teacher Zane Dickey used it his classroom, and has written this short guest post about what he did and how it went. Zane is a National Board Certified Teacher teaching TOK and Digital Citizenship and is the EE Coordinator in Dakar, Senegal. Zane also loves surfing with his two boys and waking up before dawn to run with friends:

IB TOK: Making Claims and Seeking Truth Lesson by Zane Dickey

“Why would Obama would want to attack Syria?” a student blurted out as she watched Obama’s claims regarding Syria. I had used the lesson suggestion form Larry Ferlazzo’s TOK site along with his best sites for Syria.

The class began with a discussion activity called three truths and a lie. This allowed students to interrogate one another using clever inquiring skills to understand which claim is the lie. Student’s were then introduced to Rueben Abel’s 9 kinds of evidence or good reasons which are the basis of knowledge. The student task was to watch the claims Obama made in his speech and determine which type of evidence was being used. Students would then research the claims and return the following class acting as a representative of the US Congress to debate whether or not the claims were sufficient to attack Syria.

The students returned to the next class excited and eager for the debate. We reviewed the Obama speech once more. I stopped the video several times asking students to address the claims. The memory of the Iraq war. The logic and intuition of wanting to stop more innocent people from being gassed. I played the role of Obama and invited the Congress to debate my claims. One student started the debate that a strike was necessary because Assad had allowed his own people to be gassed and violated the Geneva Convention ( logic and reasoning). “How do you know that it was Assad who used gas?” stated another? Another student asked where the US would specifically strike. “This is highly classified but our intelligence has these coordinates and the damage would be minimal,” I stated as the commander in chief. Another student spoke up. “Your claim to kill more people because people have already been killed doesn’t seem logical. This doesn’t make sense. This is my intuition, my reasoning.” Another student stated that it was about destabilizing the Assad government so the US could gain control of the resources. He had a youtube video to back up his claim using logic. “What about the fallout from a strike? Let’s look at the memory of Iraq.”

A few students were reluctant to take a side. “I believe something should be done. I just don’t know what the “right” solution is. I don’t know what the truth really is.” “I don’t think anyone should kill innocent people. (Self awareness, intuition).” “My memory of Iraq is that this will be bad.” Before closing the lively debate ended I asked if anyone present could present a better alternative. “Diplomacy!” shouted one student smiling. This seemed reasonable yet no one mentioned the recent Putin NYT piece.

I closed the lively debate and asked them to vote their conscious as a member of the US Congress. The final tally in my first class: 8 for a strike and 6 opposed to a strike. My second class: 4 pro- 4 against. At the end of the vote one of my students stayed after class. “You know I am half Syrian, right? I don’t think the US should strike Syria.”

Analyzing the claims made students aware that initially their emotions were the motivating factor in their decision making process. Once the claims were identified the critically thinking and inquiry forced them to gain a better perspective of how knowledge claims work. I found using this real life example provided more breadth, depth and engagement of personal and shared knowledge getting at the heart of TOK: How do we know what we know?

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September 15, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Guest Post: Commentary On New Theory of Knowledge Guide

As regular readers know, in addition to sharing my thoughts on the new International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge Guide, I’ve been publishing guest posts from TOK textbook authors and educators from around the world. You can see them all at The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide.

Today’s post is by Michael Dunn, creator of theoryofknowledge.net.

Michael Dunn is the creator of theoryofknowledge.net, and CEO of Kuvu Tutors. theoryofknowledge.net is also now offering PD courses for new TOK teachers. He can be contacted at [email protected].

In with the new, out with the old: thoughts on the 2015 TOK curriculum

by Michael Dunn

Charles Kettering observed that ‘people are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old things’. I have had this on my mind as I have been mulling over the new TOK curriculum for 2015 exam takers, updating my theoryofknowledge.net site to cater for the changes, and helping both teachers and students acclimatize to the new additions. I have tried to remain positive, and on the whole, have succeeded.

I have to admit, though, my initial feelings were not so warm. Although the ‘old’ course had its problems, such as the nebulously worded assessment criteria for the essay, the terminology over the role of knowledge issues and knowledge claims, and the amount of content to be covered in so short a time, I have always been enthusiastic about the way the course worked. So it was with dismay that I read through the new guide to discover that the weaknesses of TOK seemed to have been compounded, and the strengths compromised. For example, it seemed crazy to add four new ways of knowing, two of which (intuition and imagination) looked desperately hard to get a handle on. One of the new AOKs, indigenous knowledge systems, whilst admirable in terms of political correctness, just seemed unmanageable. Nor could I see how reducing the marks (and criteria) on offer for both the essay and presentation could add to the accuracy of marking. Finally, I was very worried indeed about the addition of the ‘knowledge framework’. The new knowledge journey that this imposed on the AOKs seemed clunky at best, and hopelessly convoluted at worst.

However, having begun to make notes on the new course, collect quotes from appropriate thinkers on the new WOKs and WOKs, and update my mentoring course for new TOK teachers, I have begun to like many of the additions. Obviously, you don’t have to cover the new ways of knowing, and you can instead stick with the four old ones if you want. But I warmly welcome the addition of faith, and I’m very keen to explore memory, so I will definitely be updating what I teach. I’ve always included something on religion, so that will also be formally added to the repertoire of my students. IKS, too, is incredibly engaging after you have researched it a little, although I’m still not sure that it is fully accessible due to its massive breadth. And – this was my biggest surprise – the clunky knowledge framework doesn’t have to be clunky at all. I think it provides a handy way to explore the areas of knowledge, and a great way of constructing a comparative framework that can be applied to them. I think changing ‘knowledge issues’ to ‘knowledge questions’ is also a big step forward, and clarifies things for students (which is, after all, what we should be trying to do as much as possible).

I’m not convinced about the new criteria for the essay and presentation; we’ll see how they work as students begin writing them. But overall, even the aspects of the new course that aren’t exactly like the old one, work well for me, and breathe new life into what I believe is the most exciting element of the IB Diploma.

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September 14, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Important Commentary On New TOK Guide From Course Companion Author

9780199129737_140

As regular readers know, in addition to sharing my thoughts on the new International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge Guide, I’ve been publishing guest posts from TOK textbook authors and educators from around the world. You can see them all at The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide.

Today, Eileen Dombrowski has agreed to share her commentary. Eileen is the lead author of the TOK course companion, published by Oxford University Press. The 2013 edition was written in cooperation with the IB and gives support to the new TOK course. Eileen taught IB English A and TOK for roughly 20 years for the United World Colleges (mainly Pearson College in Canada). She has been a TOK assessor, including Deputy Chief Assessor for a term, and has led TOK workshops around the world. In recent years, she has worked entirely online:

Structure and Freedom in the New TOK Course

Thanks for the invitation, Larry. I’ve immersed myself totally in the new course as I’ve written the revised, expanded version of the TOK Course Companion, Oxford University Press 2013, which supports the whole of the new course. Thinking and writing about the new ideas introduced, I’ve come to like the changes very much indeed. I’m very happy to see, though, that you’re raising some central questions about what some of those changes actually mean, and how teachers are expected to implement them in terms of practical course planning.

I’ve already written in my own blog TOK meets global citizenship about some of the most significant changes. In the post “TOK changes: not just optional extras,” I argue that the new WOK and AOK change how we think of any one of them as part of a new whole, and possibly how we conceive of knowledge.

I’ve also commented on the knowledge framework: “Framing knowledge: getting the structuring ‘just right.’” I argue there that, as teachers, we are always doing a balancing act between spontaneity and structure, and that the new course offers both an underlying conceptual framework and the encouragement not to follow it mechanically, marching sequentially from topic to topic.

In connection with the degree to which teachers have freedom to follow their own paths through the course, I’ll attempt my own personal response to your question, “Do you think [the encouragement to teach WOK within AOK] means it just won’t work to have the WOK taught separately at all?” Within the Teacher Support Material presently on the Online Curriculum Centre, there does seem to be a push to compress the WOK tightly and place the emphasis on AOK. The suggested course plans there scoot over the WOK briefly, or treat them entirely in context of AOK.

Is this change, I wonder, made with a view of solving a specific problem? One problem, I gather from curriculum review reports, has been that WOK were sometimes being treated in TOK classes as if they existed isolation from each other – as if emotion OR reason contributed to an AOK, for instance, rather than interacting and contributing in their own ways. I interpret the encouragement to teach the WOK almost entirely within AOK as a particular solution to that particular problem.

This approach could, indeed, lead to good teaching. WOK would have to be considered in context of methodologies, so would not be able to be treated as separate, unconnected pieces. There are other solutions, however, to the problem of WOK treated in isolation, and ones that I prefer.

Personally, I recommend teaching all eight WOK first, largely to lay down the concepts and vocabulary with which you’ll later be talking about methodology. In TOK, what does “intuition” mean, for instance, in context of cognitive psychology? And how does a 21st century understanding of intuition change a grasp of “reason”? Divergent understandings of “faith”, similarly, can derail a discussion. The associations of the terms, and the assumptions that students bring to them – as in any discussion of “memory” — are also valuable to question before trying to use the terms. An advance treatment prepares concepts to be put into play across all the AOK.

In treating WOK first, I’d also hope to encourage students to appreciate the questions of knowledge that each WOK raises, and the importance of using it thoughtfully to build knowledge. In many areas of knowledge, after all, the methodology is a formalization of critical thinking skills that students should be developing in any case for everyday knowledge.

Treating WOK separately before AOK need not precipitate the problem that they are treated in isolation from each other. Not at all. I struggle to think how memory or imagination could possibly be considered without the matrix of the other WOK, just as I cannot imagine how the methodology of AOK could possibly be treated without considering the interplay of ways of knowing.

Moreover, I wouldn’t skip any one of the WOK. Treating all of them does mean sweeping over WOK without the depth that every single one begs for – but such is the constant need in a short course that aims to survey the whole of knowledge. We can at least open the door and look into each WOK, even if we don’t have a lot of time to romp about inside. Later, dealing with AOK, we’ll regain the time because we’ll open discussions on methodology with a better prior understanding of the ways of knowing which contribute to it, their interactions, and the importance of using them critically in making knowledge claims.

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