Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles Nov 2017

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ToK Prescribed Essay Titles MAY 2014

Changes to TOK

We signalled some time ago that there are going to be changes to TOK in the coming months.

In fact, those of you who start your IB Diploma studies this September 2013 (let’s call you the Class of 2013) will be the first group introduced to the changes which will be first examined in May 2015.

This is an important point.  Especially for those of you who are in your final year of the DP (let’s call you the Class of 2012).
 
There appear to be some websites and blogs out there suggesting that the TOK Prescribed Essay Titles for May 2014 will
 
a/ be released in September 2013 and

b/ assess your understanding of the NEW curriculum.
 
Please understand that a/ is CORRECT but b/ is INCORRECT.
 
The more likely scenario is that the Class of 2012 will be assessed according to the OLD assessment criteria in May 2014; the Class of 2013 will be assessed according to the NEW criteria in May 2015 (your Prescribed titles will come out in September 2014).
 
So be careful out there when browsing those TOK websites for information and maintain the spirit of questioning everything that you read – even this blog!

Friday, August 16, 2013

ToK Prescribed Essay Titles (November 2013): Question 5

“…Our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design.” (Maurice Bishop)” To what extent is this true in History and one other Area of Knowledge?

 
Following on from the last post, imagine you’re a historian living a thousand years in the future and that you came across this remarkably well preserved written document:
Don't start me talking
I could talk all night
My mind goes sleepwalking
While I'm putting the world to right
Called careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation

CHORUS:
Oliver's army is here to stay
Oliver's army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

There was a checkpoint charlie
He didn't crack a smile
But it's no laughing party
When you've been on the murder mile
Only takes one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger

CHORUS

Hong Kong is up for grabs
London is full of arabs
We could be in Palestine
Overrun by a chinese line
With the boys from the mersey and the thames and the tyne
But there's no danger
It's a professional career
Though it could be arranged
With just a word in Mr. Churchill's ear
If you're out of luck you're out of work
We could send you to johannesburg

CHORUS

And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

If very little or no knowledge existed of that distant world, then you would have to piece together what knowledge you can from the ‘scraps and fragments’ which you possess – this document being one of those scraps.

However, can you see that the document in itself is built of ‘scraps and fragments’ which seemed important to the writer (look at the highlighted expressions)?  Presumably, at the time it was written, someone considered it to have a pleasing design – consider the rhyme and repetition implied by ‘CHORUS’, as well as the organisation of the words into four main blocks (excl. chorus).
What sort of questions need to be answered about the text?

How would you go about answering them?
Can you piece together some sort of meaning from the details you have?

Are the writer’s intentions an important consideration when reconstructing this meaning?
Of course, today you can easily google the key words and work out the meaning of the whole – you can even discover that the text is a song and when it was written and what inspired it.

Nevertheless, the key point about historical knowledge is that even then, the narrative of meaning you construct will always be open to further interpretation – a better, more refined narrative might come along at any point.  To this extent, any historical narrative is similar to a scientific theory that explains how the world works...
To read more about the recent political controversy regarding this song, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9940194/BBC-criticised-for-censoring-Elvis-Costello-lyrics.html

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ToK Essay Prescribed Titles (November 2013): Question 5

“…Our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design.” (Maurice Bishop)” To what extent is this true in History and one other Area of Knowledge?

 
Click on picture to go to 'Guardian' article on the novel

This novel explores the meaning of history and the role of scepticism in building historical knowledge.  Set over a thousand years in the future in the ‘ideal republic’ of London, a timeless city of made of light, Plato is an ‘orator’ (which includes being a speaker, a teacher, a lexicographer  and a compiler of historical documents) whose key job is to reconstruct the past through reasoned inferences based on physical relics or ‘scraps and fragments’ unearthed in the city.  The narratives Plato builds of past civilisations do not, however, always please him or the ‘Guardians’ of the city: while Plato doubts the truth of his historical storytelling, the Guardians fear that he’s corrupting the minds of the young with his outlandish tales.
 
There is especially one tale which threatens to disrupt the harmony of the City: Plato’s story of a journey he took into an underground cave which exists simultaneously to that of the world of light above.  Plato relates how he discovered a realm of dark shadows which appear to live their lives out from birth to death without question.  The experience makes Plato question the nature of reality: is the true reality the material world of the shadows in the cave, or the eternal world of light above?
The novel explores the paradox at the heart of this question – there’s an element of Alice through the Looking Glass in its reversal of Plato’s well known allegory of the cave.  In a further reversal of the death of Socrates, the novel's Plato is judged to be not guilty of corrupting the youth, because he's such a dreamer and fantasist.  Plato, however, passes judgement on himself.  True to the real Plato's ideas in the Republic, the novel's Plato insists that as a dreamer, he should (like Plato's artists) be banished from the city limits forever...