History: the past in the present

A symphony concert. A statue. These artworks of sculpture and music are charged with meaning in the context of war commemorations in Sarajevo today. The music is Haydn’s “God save the Emperor” and the statue is a monument to the assassin who killed the emperor’s heir. If you know anything about the outbreak of the First World War, you might feel a chilly shiver. The tensions live on.  Sarajevo divided in First World War commemorations. Knowledge questions for TOK: To ...

Top Story of 2013: The Struggle to Control Knowledge

The top news stories of any year often spotlight knowledge – new discoveries, for instance, or technological achievements.  In 2013, however, I’d say that some of the biggest debates centred on control of knowledge.  Are all means to gain knowledge ethically acceptable?  Who are the appropriate gatekeepers for access to knowledge, and how fierce is the fence they erect?  Who gains and controls the benefits that come from knowledge?  Who owns knowledge? Probably the hottest controversy has flared up over government ...

We just can’t leave it alone: the past, memory, and history

It seems that we just can’t leave the past alone.  We choose what to deny and what to glorify from the life that we leave behind, as most of our moments drift entirely from our memories.  We reshape the past and impose upon its fuzzy outlines new stories of our own to fit our present interests and purposes.  In TOK, the addition of memory as a way of knowing opens up fascinating questions of knowledge.  Discussion of memory is likely ...

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 ...

TOK changes: not just “optional extras”

How does imagination interact with sense perception and memory? The new WOK change the way we deal with the old. A revised version of a course presents no particular problems for teachers new to the course in any case. They enter the new version as if the course has always been that way, and can quickly become bored listening to experienced teachers make comparisons – irrelevant comparisons -- between the old and the new.   If you are new to TOK, ...