Rights and Protest: 60 years since the Little Rock 9 entered Central High School

When I opened the paper today (yes, some of us still do that), there was a brief interview with some of the members of the Little Rock 9.  60 years ago today, 9 African-American teenagers entered Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, in a bid to begin the end of segregation in education.  If you look at the photo of the students that the Associated Press/Fox News used in its article, you see a group of pleasant, well-dressed young people on ...

Combining the creative with the critical

Often, IB teachers of the Group A Language and Lit courses regret that there is not much opportunity to do more creative work with their classes. But short exercises can be incorporated into our classes and many of us do that.  Here is one exercise which has not only produced some very lively original pieces with my students, but also raised their consciousness and refined their sense of how prose is constructed and how different effects are created. Obviously there ...

The 5 Nots (Comparative Study HL)

In September I posted some thoughts about the Comparative Study – Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice) This month I’m continuing that theme but focusing on criterion F, so I’m only talking really to those of you who are taking HIGHER LEVEL Visual Arts. Criterion F deals with making connections to your own art-making practice. *In July I posted a blog about what NOT to do in your exhibition - “When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos) Now I am posting ...

Core concepts/principles

This post is primarily aimed at the IB1 crowd. Right about now you should be well along your Frustration Curve - it looks something like this over the first year:   Should be fairly self-explanatory but maybe a few words about where you are heading. Your first tests should be reasonably straightforward - let's face it, we are not rocket surgeons - and you should be able to deal with supply, demand, markets and elasticities with reasonable confidence. The initial shell-shock, and ...

Understanding Averages

You will have learnt that there are three types of average: the mean, the median, and the mode. Let's look at them closely - why we need all three, what you can do with them, and when to use each one. The Mean The mean is calculated by adding all the values and dividing by the number of values. Using sigma notation, where the sigma sign means "the sum of", we can write: $m = {{\sum x } \over n}$. The best way ...

Teaching optical isomers

I've just started to teach this topic to my students. It doesn't take too long but I do find it an enjoyable topic to teach. But how do you teach it? I always warn the students that the topic is jargon heavy - the words / phrases used in the topic such as  chiral, racemic, racemate, optically active are all pretty specific to optical isomers and are not used outside of the topic. In my teaching I have found that students understand the ...

On the sources of political authority

Authority without expressed consent is nothing short of autocratic power or as the Ancients called it, tyranny. On the other hand, to preside over a politically educated, active citizenry is true democracy. If authority is the ultimate justification for exercising power, sovereignty remains the very foundation of its legitimacy. It is in the name of popular sovereignty that revolutions erupted in America, France and Russia. The very moment the legitimacy of a political leader is undermined, authority soon erodes to ...

Preparing students in Grade 11 for Internal Assessment

By Friday, September 29, 2017 , , , , 0

The Internal Assessment represents an examination of the students understanding of the experimental programme. To this end, Grade 11 is of great importance in preparing students for the independent investigation (or II) that is most commonly carried out in Grade 12.   The experimental programme is pivotal in the teaching of Biology, illustrating, teaching and reinforcing the theoretical concepts of IB Biology. It comprises three parts: Practical activities including Applications / Skills / Mandatory labs (These can be found within 'My IB' (the platform which ...

Descartes on the dangers of false opinion

On the onset of his quest for pure and truthful knowledge, René Descartes decides to ‘overthrow’ all his former opinions since the latter may be built on sandy foundations. However, for fear of finding himself in a mental no man’s land, the philosopher sets for himself the rules of a ‘provisional morality’, the first being ‘to obey the laws and customs of my country’, a precept immediately followed by the injunction: ‘holding constantly to the religion in which, by God’s ...

Start as you mean to go on

By Friday, September 22, 2017 , , , 0

Another year starts and the intentions are always good… then life gets in the way. This article is aimed at giving a brief idea of how I overcome the problems of a lack of time in the lessons and also, how to increase the amount of work and effort a student makes, outside the class, without adding to the marking load of the teacher. To overcome this, it is vital to set a high pace and keep it up.  However, I ...