Regular readers of this blog know that, in addition to teaching several classes of Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners, I also teach two International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes.
TOK teachers know that IB has made a number of changes recently (see The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide) that has, among other things, increased the number of “Ways Of Knowing” (how we learn knowledge) and “Areas of Knowledge” (categories we use for that knowledge). Though it’s not required that we teach them all, it’s still important that we at least touch on them.
In fact, it’s impossible to adequately teach all of them — there just isn’t enough time in the school year. One way I have “touched” on two of the additional Areas of Knowledge is provide this assignment for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Religious Knowledge Systems (clicking on those links will lead to the simple instructions and links, and you’ll find student presentations in the comments — most of my students will be uploading them to the blog on Friday but there are a few there now).
Basically, students are given three days to prepare short presentations covering these points:
What is this Area of Knowledge about?
What practical problems can be solved by applying this knowledge?
What makes this Area of Knowledge important?
Show the connections at least three Ways of Knowing have to this Area of Knowledge.
There are usually (I did a version of this last year) ten-to-fourteen groups (I use this as an opportunity for students to “try-out” if they want to do their major TOK oral presentation with their partners). I get the laptop cart, form and inner and outer circle with groups facing each other, and then groups have about five minutes each to present to each other, ask and answer questions, and then the outer circle groups move clockwise. We do this during a class period, evaluated the next day, and then begin to immediately start working on the formal TOK Oral Presentation.
It’s worked out well last year and this year — we cover to Areas of Knowledge, it’s a warm-up for the formal Oral Presentation, and people are fairly intrigued and engaged.
I’ve embedded a couple of examples below. I’m all ears for how I can make this assignment better….