Philosophers and the Project of Perpetual Peace (1)

The idea of a project of perpetual peace between European nations was anticipated long before the six member states of the original Economic European Union signed the Treaty of Rome in March 1957. If security and stability are often guaranteed through the agency of military force, such as the Pax Romana, long-term peace requires a deeper understanding of peoples’ aspirations and a wider perspective on what states can reasonably expect to achieve through diplomatic means.  Eighteenth-century philosophers were convinced of the ...

Paper Two: Students Teaching Students

How can teachers ensure that they offer revision activities that benefit a variety of skills and learning styles in their classroom? Here are some tried and tested activities that I like to use to prepare my mixed ability class for Paper Two. 1. Poster making Students create posters using drawings, quotes, summaries of themes, plot turning points, narrative devices or character overviews, etc. I use large butcher's paper and display in the classroom in the weeks leading up exams. Students take photos and share ...

Soil Conservation

Soil conservation measures 95% of the world’s food is produced on soil One-third of the UK’s soils are degraded One million hectares (36% of arable land in the UK is at risk from erosion. According to the UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, in some parts of the country, the UK’s soils may only be able to support farming for a further 30-40 years. Conservation agriculture aims to restore soil quality by increasing biodiversity, organic matter and soil fertility. It does not involve any ploughing of ...

Should Language and Literature teachers give more privilege to the politicians?

Using election campaigns for studying the power of language  It’s 1960. Personal computers don’t exist. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, by Harper Lee wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is about to become the youngest elected president in US history.’ – A self-guided tour for high school students (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) The juxtaposition of Harper Lee’s name with Kennedy’s jarred me. I couldn’t walk the halls and just absorb the glamourous ...

In Praise of the European Spirit

Europe is going through one of the recurrent identity crises which have punctuated its long history. Some journalists and pundits contemptuously reject the very idea of a ‘European Civilisation’ and in a strange exercise of self-hatred, take full personal responsibility when the ghosts of slavery and colonisation are evoked. Yet, no other continent is prepared to face its worst demons and question its cultural and intellectual legacy in a period defined by confusion and uncertainty. This ability to question our ...

See Real Art: Visit an Art Gallery!

Student question:“It’s 2019. What is the point of looking at art that was made in 1520, five hundred years ago? How is that relevant to me?” We were at the Royal Academy (London) and looking at “Venus Rising from the Sea”, by Titian (1520) The Renaissance Nude exhibition runs at the Royal Academy of Arts 3 March — 2 June 2019 The Renaissance Nude I can understand the context of this question. The student who asked it is interested in videogame ...

There is no true meaning to a text

How to approach the challenge of analysis In Language and Literature you will most probably be presented with texts that are from other cultures and time periods to your own. In Northern Australia the Tiwi people identify this with one word, Ngaruwanajirra, which means different people, from different clans, from different places, we come together as one. It will seem a challenge to find meaning but all people are connected. As you encounter creators and subjects of texts you need to ...

How do you do it?

Personally, I find section 9.2 one of the hardest parts of the course to teach. It relates to voltaic cells. I can never remember is it left minus right or vice versa, which side is positive, which is negative? In order to help teach this I put together a useful set of ideas / principles that I now use to help my teaching. It does involve some learning / memorization of facts but once these points are learnt, everything else ...

Penguins in St Kilda, Melbourne

With over 50% of the world’s population living in urban areas, urbanization is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Some plant and animal species may thrive in urban areas, whereas others find the pressures of urbanization challenging. Urbanization has been linked with local extinctions. The little penguin (Eudyptula minor) (AKA blue or fairy penguins) has colonized an area by the St Kilda breakwater in Melbourne harbour. The colony is only a few kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. The birds are ...

Seven Questions about Starting to Teach the Course

In recent category 1 visual arts workshops I have been asked some great questions about our subject; for example, what to teach, how to balance the things we teach, how much time we should have to teach in, how to connect to other subjects, etc. Here are the questions with my answers. If you would like to attend an IB authorized teacher training professional development workshop, go here. There are 36 visual arts workshops between now and December. 1. “Do I teach about techniques ...