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 ...

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 ...

Paper 2: Choosing your questions and texts wisely

As an IB examiner for Paper 2 I often read very eloquent and promising responses that are hindered by poor question and/or text choices. Here’s some tips to avoid this. The questions The actual questions change every year, there are, however, certain aspects of a text that are frequently asked about, these include: How a writer presents characters and how they communicate and reveal their thoughts, feelings, and motivations to the audience.How writers offer their thematic concerns, ideas, and attitudes to the audience. The ...

Sigma, Pi, Hybridization and Shape

Sigma bonds, Pi bonds. Shapes of molecules. Hybrid orbitals. How do they all fit together? I was really confused with this information when I was a student. It wasn’t covered when I did my biochemistry degree and I only felt like I really understood things until I started teaching about the concepts … so I really hope this blog post helps your understanding of things. Where do I start? Well, the three above concepts (Sigma & Pi, shape and hybrid orbitals) are, in my ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Popular Sovereignty

Public and social media are inundated with vitriolic declarations calling for the toppling of political institutions and their replacement by the infallible diktats of the so-called ‘sovereignty of the people’. Rousseau was the first modern theorist of this complex and ambiguous notion, analysed and developed in his seminal essay, The Social Contract, published in 1762. The proud ‘citizen of the City of Geneva’, lay down the foundations of a republican form of government resting on the principle of the sovereignty ...

Does division by zero = infinity?

Why should it? Well, try this: 5 ÷ 10 = 0.55 ÷ 1 = 55 ÷ 0.1 = 505 ÷ 0.01 = 5005 ÷ 0.001 = 5000 As we divide by smaller and smaller numbers the result gets ever bigger. Logically, then, as the divisor tends to (ie gets closer to) zero, so the result tends to infinity. But this is not the same as saying that division by zero actually is infinity, is it? What about drawing a graph with ...

COHERENCE? (‘Here is your theme. Stick to it for the next two years’)

Reconsider the theme: is it always a bad idea? There are many things wrong with these two sentences, as uttered by a visual arts teacher to one of his students. First of all, you don’t need to have a ‘theme’. Second, if you – the student – want a theme, it should NOT be selected and ‘enforced’ by your teacher. I've been told that some teachers give their students a 'theme' that has to be followed for two years. If ...

Work until You’re Muscle-bound!

This is probably the most nervous time of the 2 years for the IBDP students. There is the fear that they will get crushed by the upcoming exams. And the exams come very quickly and really on top of each other. My experience of talking to students through this period, is that they keep working, possibly harder than they have ever worked, and they are all worried about how it will go. And then there is the ‘thing’ we do not ...