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 ...

Grisly and sensational: Jack the Ripper and a TOK critical thinking

Have your students heard of Jack the Ripper?   If not, you’ll probably want to skip this activity. Even though it would still be an exercise in evaluating sources and evidence, a lot of the shiver would be lost – and hence the fun in class. However, if they have heard of the brutal serial killer who stalked East London, England, in the 1880s, this could be an engaging activity for early in the TOK course -- to launch critical approaches ...

Using Design Thinking in your teaching

Recently I have been trying some ways in class to enable students to think outside the box and come up with new approaches to their devising work and writing. There are 2 methods I have been using in class - Design Thinking and approaches to Verbatim Theatre. This blog will share what I did and how I adjusted and adapted to get the most out of the process and the students. Design Thinking Model - Source: Design Thinking for Educators In ...

Is Drawing Dead?

Do you teach basic drawing skills?   In February 2012 the always creative and occasionally provocative Jayson Paterson started a thread on the OCC forum entitled “Is Drawing Dead?” Since then there have been 16 replies and more than 360 views. Jayson explains “I want to emphasise again that I am not suggesting that drawing is dead in this discussion thread, but wanting to open up discussion as to what has been added to an artist's basic toolbox in this 21st Century ...

KQ: what TOK’s all about

What an enviable set of initials!  Can’t you imagine all the monograms possible in fancy fonts?  At the centre of the TOK course, those KQ stamp on it quite the designer label!  And what does the label represent?  Knowledge Questions, of course! TOK is an exploration, after all, into what knowing is all about.  We deploy the powerful interrogative form, the question, to open up possible answers everywhere within knowledge. The biggest question of all is, “How do we know?”  Stencil ...

Correlation or causation?: climate change and increased violence

Few recent scientific studies have received as much media coverage as one published recently in Science, arguing for a causal link between climate warming and violence.  The range of media sources covering it is as impressive as the number:  not just general news media at all levels, in many parts of the world, and not just science journals, but also those with particular perspectives, among them religious (or, at least Christian) environmental, police-based, medical and business.  Why should this particular ...

TOK brain freeze?

Too many abstractions all at once can freeze your mind.  “Knowledge” is enough to produce brain-freeze all by itself.  What are you supposed to think about it, and how, when the word covers everything that everybody has ever known in all parts of the world?  The concept is simply too big and too vague to be able to focus on easily.  Then, when it is combined with “theory” – a very laaaaaarge concept -– “knowledge” can start to echo in ...