Making an entrance – TEAM

This week I have been running a Theatre Laboratory with my grade 10 and 11 students on what we bring when we enter the stage. We are moving onto exits next week, but I thought I would share with you what they explored with entrances for this blog. We discovered that with an entrance you can establish: character mood motive environment relationships objects in the environment status atmosphere conflict story backstory other characters off stage foreshadowing subtext and more... When you are ...

Doing good is good for you: Ethics and the Human Sciences, TOK and CAS

(re-post from December 16, 2013 blog. It's so appropriate for this time of year!) Is there really anything newsworthy about the value of doing good to others?  So much has been said over so many centuries that surely current psychological research cannot add tremendously to our understanding!  And surely doing good falls within the scope of ethics -- and not within the scope of the human sciences!  Yet, quite the contrary: recent studies in the human sciences do contribute knowledge -- and knowledge that is particularly welcome at a ...

Poppies and remembrance: symbolism and perspectives

Controversy again over poppies and remembrance – or in TOK terms, over symbolism and shared knowledge! In Britain, a headscarf with a poppy pattern has been sold to Muslim women to “raise awareness about the 400,000 Muslims, most of them Indian, who fought alongside British troops in the First World War.” Condemning this poppy scarf, one Muslim woman calls it one of "the most ill-conceived of the recent spate of 'we are not extremists' initiatives. I also take issue with ...

Arts and transformation?

“There might be a case,” the TOK subject guide allows, “for supposing that the arts have an important function as a medium for social criticism and transformation.” Might be a case? Supposing? The arts are used so widely as a vehicle for social critique that I offer one more example only for its current relevance: 26-year-old poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands was selected to read a poem to the Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit last ...

So who needs language?

:roll:   Can we write more directly and more effectively to each other by chucking out all those words and using emoticons or emoji instead?  Three social networks are offering images to bypass text altogether.  Could this be, at last, a universal language? Emoticons are not new.  But till now they've stayed in place as an adjunct to text. What's new is the advent in the past two months of emoji-only apps that claim to replace text and still achieve communication. To ...

An interesting topic for discussion or research

Recently my group have been exploring the relationship between documentary and propaganda films. One of our key points of reference has been Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the will 1934. And our discussions has raised the problematic of the amorality of formalism as a means for constructing or reading movies. It seemed to me that the main evidence against formalism is the distortion of apparent narrative economy and elegance by racist and morally bankrupt ideological perspectives. The films which spring most readily to ...

Exploring gender representations in the independent study

This post is an attempt to explain how one can approach the subject of representations in reading movie narratives, and to be taken seriously in the independent study. My primary intention is to offer some weight to those of you who might have students interested in exploring gender representations. Far too many independent study about gender representations confine themselves to the unfairness or narrowness of stereotypes as perceived through plot device. When what they should do is to use the ...

Cognition and Emotion – flashbulb memories

By Saturday, February 1, 2014 , , 0

This is a part of the syllabus that can be seen as complex by many students. One way in is to look first at Brown and Kulik's (1977) argument regarding flashbulb memory. This allows students to meet two learning outcomes: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent is one cognitive process reliable? Evaluate one theory of how emotion may affect one cognitive process. There is a lot of material that is helpful here. This video is a good one ...

Cognition and Emotion – how are they related?

By Saturday, February 1, 2014 , , 0

The famous brain researcher Antonio Damasio explained that emotions are purely physical signals of the body which react to external stimuli. Feelings arise when the brain interprets these as "emotions". Emotions consist of three components: ● physiological changes, such as arousal of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. (The person is usually unconscious of this at first). ● the person’s own subjective feeling of an emotion (e.g. happiness) ● associated behaviour, such as smiling or running away. One of the cognitive factors in ...

Understanding science requires a science

Natural Science Natural Science is a fascinating area of knowledge. You only have to start scratching the surface of  science before you come across a litany of examples of its awesome nature, especially in regards to its impact on our lives. We also very quickly realise that there are many myths to do with science. I suspect that your TOK classroom has involved a discussion about the ‘basic scientific method’ (BSM). This is a very good starting point for understanding the ...