PP Reminders: Pictures and Process

Two PP points! 1. Show me pictures (“visual evidence”) There must be visual as well as written/text documentation of process. It should be obvious - but of course just writing comments and explanations is not enough: is there visual evidence of what has been happening? Don’t just write about it; you must also show what has been considered, explored, etc. (Just saying that you did something is easy and lazy and open to question: how does the examiner know that you actually did ...

The IB Philosophy and International Mindedness

Why teach the International Baccalaureate above another programme? What sets it apart? First, a little history The very idea of the IB was conceived within the International School of Geneva back in 1962. Schools participating in the development of the programme included the following schools: Atlantic College (Wales) International School of Geneva United Nations International School, New York (UNIS) International College, Beirut International High School and Soborg Gymnasium, Copenhagen Iranzamin International School, Tehran North Manchester High School for Girls First examinations were written ...

Everyday Life, Benzyl Alcohol and the EE

In my experience, the biggest problem students have with EE's is picking the right thing to investigate. Students will tell me they want to carry out an EE in chemistry and have no idea what they will investigate. Those that do have ideas quite often have ideas that are too simple or too difficult, never ‘just right’. Because of this, I would strongly encourage you to tell your students to keep their eyes open and look for an EE in ...

Collaboration? Huh! What is it Good For?

Do you have your students work collaboratively on art-making projects? In December 2015 I posted a blog about collaboration (To collaborate, or not to collaborate – that is the question!) But the issue has come up again, this time with some questions from teachers in a visual arts workshop I am running. My usual caveat is to do with problems with assessment of collaborative works, but to be honest that may not be the only problem. There is a general assumption ...

A Cautionary Tale

A week or so ago I read a BBC blog post that I thought I should share on this blog.  Then a few days later I read the same story on Petapixel.com, a photography blog.  I have also found it on CNN.com,  Independent.ie, Metro.co.uk, and aplus.com. I'm sure there are more, but that's enough to be going on with! Here's the story:  Shubnum Khan is a South African author (Onion Tears, Penguin), artist (IG: shubnumkhan), freelance writer (Huffpost SA, O magazine, Times, Marie ...

The Writer, or the Speaker, the Voice, the Persona?

Over the years, all of us have struggled with the vexed question of 'who is speaking' in a poem or in a first person narrative, or in an autobiographical essay.  And of course it troubles our students as they read literature, often especially with poetry.  You all have your own ways of negotiating this issue. One of the most effective anecdotes I have found is one I have had around for some years, since Robert Pack wrote it and the ...

Dyes

I’ve just finished my summer reading book, Ken Follett’s novel World Without End. If you haven’t read it, I would thoroughly recommend it, although it is the second book of a trilogy (book 1 is called The Pillars of the Earth). The book I sent in the thirteenth century in the fictional city of Kingsbridge in the UK (although there is a Kingsbridge in the UK, the Kingsbridge in the book is not this town) and revolves around the Black Death. ...

Existentialist Novels

The summer months are ideal for making forays into neglected intellectual territories. Existentialist novels are traditionally reduced to two major works: Sartre’s Nausea (1938), a rich study of a character in search of historical as well as ‘existential’ truth and Camus’ The Outsider (1942), whose non-hero finds himself tragically involved in a murder case. But what characterises an ‘existentialist novel’ if not the quest for fundamental answers to perennial questions? In this respect, all of Dostoevsky’s works fit this description and the ...

A Potpourri of Starting Points

The last few months I have been running a lot of online training courses for teachers and also running some face to face training for teachers new to the IB. There is one amazing resource that I am going to share with you this month and it is all the starting points that teachers have identified could be used in their courses for devising practice or suggested to the students to be used for their final Collaborative Project. In the guide ...

Is It Finished Now?

I have three weeks left before school starts and I have not had a clear break yet – a few days here and there, but nothing where I can just relax and worry about, well … nothing at all. A few days ago I finished remarking another two Physics HL Paper 2 scripts and I was struck by the following questions: How many remarks are there going to be?  In physics, the papers rarely change that much. Most scripts have a ...