Recent Posts by Eileen Dombrowski

TOK blog: “Every exit is an entrance somewhere else.”

By Saturday, January 31, 2015 No tags 0

Today I bid farewell to readers of this TOK blog.  You will find me blogging on my own site Activating TOK  starting in a day or two.  I've really enjoyed blogging with OSC for the sense belonging to an educational community, but for now I want to direct my energies to building up my own blogsite.  Readers will find it easy to navigate Activating TOK and can sign up to have new posts arrive in their email, so I hope that many of you will visit me ...

2014 TOK blog posts in single consolidated file

By Thursday, January 1, 2015 No tags 0

Would you like to download a pdf of all the posts Theo and I have made here during 2014?  As I pulled this document together, I discovered that we've made more than 50 posts...and that the consolidated file runs to 92 pages.  Clearly, we like blogging! Somewhere in there, we hope, will be ideas of use to you in the TOK classroom.  Unlike the blog, the printed material isn't tagged and isn't searchable, but I've put together a Table of Contents at ...

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 ...

Electrocution and Marriage Rates: Correlation or Cause?

The comic charts on the website Spurious Correlations are already familiar to many TOK teachers. But if you’ve missed this resource till now, you won’t want to miss it any longer. Did you know that the number of people who died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets correlates with the total revenue generated by skiing facilities in the US – or that the number who were electrocuted by power lines correlates with the marriage rate in Alabama? Would you infer that one ...

Who’s an “Indian”?: classification and implications

Who’s indigenous? And does it matter? These are significant questions, with significant answers. They are relevant to TOK both through the new area of knowledge, indigenous knowledge, and an old area of knowledge, ethics – as well as to all the ways of knowing involved in classifying our concepts. Two stories in this past month’s news bring them to life: a court contest in Canada about who is classified as “aboriginal” and a conflict in Tanzania over whether indigenous people ...

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 ...

Misinformation, implications, and responsibility: fact-checking on Africa

"What do these statements about Africa have in common? A white farmer is killed every five days in South Africa. Earlier this year Nigerian Islamists Boko Haram burnt 375 Christians alive. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the rape capital of the world. Johannesburg is the world’s biggest man-made forest. Answer: despite being widely accepted, none of them are true." ("Get your Africa facts right") Sorting fact from fiction is particularly difficult when the stories come from afar and are buried in myths previously ...

Shroud of Turin follow-up: new material for AOK History

This topic of the Shroud of Turin just keeps getting better and better for TOK. In my last post, I outlined TOK lessons based on it. But now – even better materials for launching a class! A podcast interview with historian Charles Freeman (25 minutes), linked from the website of History Today,  readily sets up a leaner lesson on the methods of research of an historian. The interviewer applauds Freeman’s research as “historical detective work” on an “unsolved mystery” and invites ...

The Shroud of Turin: perspectives, faith, and evidence

  Intense emotions and extensive discussion have swirled around the 4-metre-long cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. Is it really the burial cloth that was wound around the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion (as many Christians believe), miraculously preserving His image? Or is it a hoax? Earlier this month (Oct 9-12), a conference in St. Louis, Missouri  brought together international presenters and participants on the topic “Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science”. However, it is ...

What makes an example useful for you to take to TOK class?

By Tuesday, October 28, 2014 0

Cupcakes, climate change, smiley faces, disputes over indigenous education, Jack the Ripper, poetry, numbers, and phantom vibrations from cell phones – I’ve blogged recently on all of these unlike topics. Theory of Knowledge is an omnivorous subject, finding in the issues of the world a vast menu of knowledge questions. Yum! Today, though, I step back from the examples I’ve put on my plate to my criteria for choosing them. What makes an incident or phenomenon tasty not just for ...