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 ...

Optical isomerism

Optical isomers are hard to conceptualise. They are molecules with the same molecular formula and structural formula. They look exactly the same both on paper and in the real world. However, they only exist in pairs, it is only possible to get two optical isomers of the same molecule which makes things a bit easier to deal with (it should be notes that a molecule such as C5H12 has three isomers - not optical isomers but structural isomers, namely pentane, 2 methylbutane ...

My IB

By Wednesday, September 20, 2017 , , , , 0

The Online Curriculum Centre is no more.  At times bewildering and at others confusing and for many IB teachers a source of frustration, the OCC has a successor.  Why should IB educators register with My IB?  Announcements, resources Updated 28 August 2017We promised to make it easier for you to access your IB systems and resources with one username and password, and we are delighted to invite you to register with My IB to enable you to do just that. My IB is a gateway, it is where you ...

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, ...

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 ...

A democratic paradox

Democracy depends on people voting for their leaders, but there are many different voting systems in use, all of which aim for a fair result: first past the post; single transferable vote; alternative vote plus are three examples. All have advantages, all have disadvantages. Many popular voting methods use a system which allows voters to select candidates in order of preference. Suppose there are three candidates, A, B and C. You would expect that if more voters preferred A to B, ...

Ways into Psycho-physicality

Three weeks ago I started working at a new school with a new group of IB Theatre students in their first year of the course.  As they had not heard of Stanislavsky and were not familiar with theatre theory I thought it would be good to immerse them in some practical work to understand The System. We stared with Psycho-physicality leading to MPA (Method of Physical Actions) and then they made their own connections between inner feelings and outer communication ...

Ageing population in South Korea

Earlier this year, scientists predicted that women born in South Korea in 2030 will live, on average, until they are 90, thereby over-taking Japan in terms of female life expectancy. Basic demographic indicators Age structure % of the population 0-14 years 13.45% 15-24 years 13.08% 25-54 years 45.93% 55-64 years 14.01% 65 years + 13.53% Median age 41.2 years Crude birth rate 8.4% Crude death rate 5.8% Life expectancy 82.4 years (female 85.8 years, male 79.3 years) (Source CIA World Factbook) The study suggests that South Koreans will experience the greatest rise in life expectancy in the industrialised world, ...

Shibumi

The heading refers to my favourite author, Trevanian (Rodney Whitaker) a writer and university professor. Although he had written several novels under this pseudonym and other books under other pseudonyms. (He took great pains to remain anonymous, something I increasingly understand in today’s Twitterati-infested instant-information world of knee-jerk outrage and faux indignation.) It was with the publication of ‘The Eiger Sanction’ and ‘Shibumi’ that his readers clearly saw his teaching background. His scathing comments on university students include: “…ah, sociology, ...