Searching for the Truth

Continuing my thoughts and writing about fake news, fake web pages, teaching search skills, and ultimately, trying to find the Truth of a matter, this post brings together for your consideration two web articles which are not new, but which work well together. The first is Why Students Can't Google their Way to the Truth, by Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew, published 1 November 2016.  The authors describe their research at Stamford University: "Over the past 18 months, we administered assessments that ...

Catch up on useful Mathematics blogs…

I have been writing these blogs for IB Mathematics students for a year and a half now: this is my 36th. They divide into three types: a)    General interest and recreation. These blogs look at how mathematics impinges on everyday life and aim to give you a wider appreciation of its relevance. Examples are the probability behind backgammon; Olympic records; some thoughts about zero; a series of blogs about great mathematicians; mathematical puzzles. b)    Help with specific areas of mathematics, ...

Pump up your verbs, please

In all of your essays, whether they are demanded for your Written Assignments, your commentaries, or your Paper 2 essay, you can win the heart of your examiners by moving beyond the conventional verbs you use to talk about literature.  Show, demonstrate, characterize, suggest, reveal, portray: all of these are good, valid and useful, and sometimes just the right one for your purposes. However, maybe you'd like to extend your options. How about 'intimate' for 'suggest?' ' The poet intimates that perhaps ...

Are you new to DP History?

By Wednesday, August 23, 2017 No tags 1

For those of you who are entering DP Year I there may be a degree of trepidation about what is to come.  There are plenty of websites and blogs out there that are dedicated to 'telling you like it is', which usually comes in the form of fear-mongering with a healthy dose of sarcasm.  There are countless aphorisms, the most famous of which, in historical circles, is "the wisdom of the IB is that students are given 2 hours to ...

‘Talk nerdy to me’: Delivering a winning IOP

The challenge of standing before your classmates and not just getting, but holding their attention,  is not a small one; in fact, that part of your audience is even more of a challenge than--yes--the attention of your teacher.  It's true that she or he is going to write down three marks, that this is your IB assessment, that it represents 15% of your overall grade.  But, let's look at it in larger terms. Here is a chance to try out your ...

‘War and Peace’: why not?

If you may have found that summer and all its anticipated pleasures are sometimes not quite meeting your expectations, why not do something daring?  People, not just your peers, but just about everyone who reads at all, probably looks at a novel of the length of Tolstoi's War and Peace as a challenge they just might not want to take on. But, you, on the other hand, might just like to join that club of people with real guts and strong wills ...

Last minute Physics revision!

Arguably, this is the most stressful time in the last 2 years for IB students.  Not only are the exams here, but they have a frequency that is quite scary, like dominoes toppling one immediately after the other. In addition of course, there are 6 subjects that all need the revision of 2 years of work in a short period of time.  If that was not enough, the Physics exams are even worse because they are so tough – they ...

Revision for IB History students

For those of you who are Diploma Candidates you are probably focused on Math, English and Biology at the moment, which is perfectly understandable. On Friday afternoon there will be a flurry of activity as you scramble to revise your notes, organize your thoughts and attempt to memorize hundreds of details.  However, one weekend of studying cannot replace 240 hours of class time and numerous assignments.  You should use some time over the course of the next week to go over the demands of ...

Sound should make sense: better poetry commentaries

Sound should make sense: just as the poet uses sound to enrich the meaning as well as the emotional and pleasurable aspects of poems, so should you try to write sensibly about the linking of sound to meaning in your commentaries.  What does the poet gain by manipulating the sound possibilities of language? One of the challenges candidates face when so writing about poetry is how they can usefully address the sound effects that are both present in and intended by ...

Abstract? General? Vague?–or just not understood?

Here’s something we often find as students try to express their ideas about the literary works they’ve read, and it’s captured in statements like these: ‘The causes of the hero’s death are abstract.’ ‘The town is presented in abstract terms in the poem, rather than with particular features that give the reader a clear sense of the setting. ‘The final outcome for the married couple in the ending of the play seemed to me abstract.’ ‘The moon acts in frightening, abstract ways in Lorca’s plays.’ It’s ...