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This post is another in my series of reflective posts about the past school year.

I’ll be collecting them all in a new “Best” list, like I’ve done in the past.

Today, I’m writing about my IB Theory of Knowledge classes.  Typically, I teach three separate TOK periods in the afternoon, and two English Language Learner classes in the morning.

My TOK classes tend to go very well, and this past year was no exception.

But there is always room for improvement!

Here are the changes I’d like to implement next year:

1.The rise of Artificial Intelligence is causing two of them.  This year, I ended the year with a two-week AI unit and students liked it a lot.  Next year, I’ll need to incorporate a version of it into our Technology and Knowledge theme that takes place earlier in the year.   Then, I think we’ll end the year instead with a more expanded self-reflective activity and presentation, similar to the one I did in my ELL U.S. History class this year.

2. The second AI-related change I need to make is connected to the “practice” IB essay I have students write at the end of the year (IB doesn’t release the prompts that students use for their final essay until the following September).  I’ve usually given students a choice of IB prompts from the past several years to choose from for these practice essays but, in light of the advent of AI, I don’t think they work very well.  So, instead, I’ll choose a few and modify them to say something like “respond to this prompt using your personal experiences, topics covered in class activities and discussions, and the content of our textbook.”

3. I’ve previously written about changes I’ve seen in students (see SIX CHANGES I THINK I SEE IN STUDENTS SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN – WHAT ABOUT YOU?).  One of them is a preference of many more students to work alone or just with students they know very well.  I do want to more often than not continue to offer students choices of how they work.  However, I’d like to create the conditions where they are more likely to want to work in groups and with “newer” classmates.  So I want to be more intentional about doing periodic lessons highlighting the benefits of that kind of collaboration and diversity.

4. Though cellphones weren’t a huge problem in class, they could be annoyances.  I need to plan periodic lessons on their negative impacts to everyone in class, both at the beginning of the year and during our Technology and Knowledge unit.

5. We do a lot of presentations in TOK and, this past year, I did a better than I ever did before in helping students learn good slide design and presentation skills. However, next year I need to make that an even higher priority.  I’m also considering having students do at least some of them as full Pecha Kucha or half Pecha Kucha presentations.


Okay, now I think this is my final reflection post on this past year.  As the new school year grows closer, I’ll need to revisit them all and start some lesson planning.  Now, however, it’s time for a nap!