Of Learned Ignorance

One of the most common responses I have encountered from teachers new to TOK is sheer panic.  The main reason for this seems to be twofold.  One, because TOK applies to every Area of Knowledge (AOK), teachers become anxious about dealing with spheres of knowledge which lie outside their comfort zone.  Second, TOK does not seem to provide stock answers to any questions and, therefore, new teachers are afraid they will not be able to give clear and neatly packaged ...

What Does the Audience Really Think?

Some of you may have read my blog last year that shared the many ways that adult devisors gathered feedback from their audiences. Recently I have been running a lot of devising workshops with IB Theatre students, and we have managed to add to and refine the ways that the adults did it!!! Below is what we managed to develop. Included in this blog are ideas from Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process, which you may be familiar with. Happy reading!!! ...

Burial in China

Around 10 million people die in China each year. Of these about 50% are cremated. The Chinese authorities have looked at ways of reforming burials in China, in order to deal with the lack of space and high prices of burials in certain areas. Each cremation releases around 160 kg of carbon dioxide, so around 800,000 tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year in China, as a result of cremations! As China’s population ages, this amount is likely ...

Sampling Methods

In statistics, a population is the complete set of data which is to be analysed. A population may consist of people (e.g. those living in a particular city), or living things (e.g. the population of all humpback whales), but could be any set of objects with something in common (e.g. all cars travelling on a particular road in a 24 hour period). Usually, it isn't possible to analyse a complete population. Why? It would take too long It would be too ...

Nudes vs. Prudes

Discussions, and what is 'acceptable' I recently had a conversation that reminded me that even in my school, which I considered to be fairly enlightened and progressive, there are corners of old-fashioned, conservative and conformist thought. The discussion was about our regular figure drawing workshops for DP visual arts students, and it clearly made this person uncomfortable. Of course, if my school was located in a more conservative culture, this attitude would be predictable and understandable. But my school is located just outside ...

An End to Peat Cutting in Ireland?

By Monday, December 10, 2018 No tags 0

In November 2018, the Irish peat company, Bord na Mona, announced plans to close 17 of its active peat bogs, and to close the remaining 45 bogs by 2025. The cutting of turf in peat bogs is a traditional form of energy in Ireland, and was widely practiced across the country in its numerous peat bogs, such as in Kerry and Mayo in the west of Ireland. Peat was cut not only by Bord na Mona, but also by individual ...

Mary Midgley: A Combative Philosopher

Mary Midgley, who died on the 10th October 2018, at the age of 99, belonged with Elizabeth Anscombe, Iris Murdoch and Philippa Foot to a formidable quartet of gifted philosophers, all educated at Somerville College, Oxford, in the late 1930’s. Midgley was a late developer as her first noteworthy article on ‘The Concept of Beastliness’, appeared in the Journal of Philosophy in 1973, five years before the completion of her book Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature, published ...

Benzene

Benzene is sometimes referred to as an aromatic compound as opposed to the majority of other organic molecules that you have so far studied that are found in chains and sometimes referred to as aliphatic compounds. Aromatic substances are said to have an unsaturated ring of atoms whereas aliphatic substances open chains. The word ‘arene’ is sometimes used in place of aromatic. Benzene has the formula C6H6. Its structure was first proposed by the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé in 1865. Its ...

Which Is It?

If you have been or are going to be studying the work, L'Etranger by Albert Camus, one question that is very likely to come up as you discuss this novel is 'what is the "correct" translation into English of this title?' You might be interested to take a look at the following article from The Guardian. The issue of translation is a many-faceted one and the background to what your edition will be titled is addressed by Alice Kaplan. And if ...

The Causation Conundrum – Knowing Why.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle stated that one cannot claim to have proper knowledge of anything until one has grasped the cause of it. Whether something exists, happens or changes it is assumed that it is as the result of some cause external or internal to it. The why without which nothing could be or happen. This idea is commonly known as causation or the law of cause and effect. It is applicable to all spheres of human knowledge and if ...