AN ORIGINAL PODCAST FOR TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND OTHER CURIOUS PEOPLE
In this episode, I met with one of my favourite teachers here in HK, Anastasia Stitch. She is a DP History teacher & examiner, and she holds a Masters of International and Public Affairs from University of Hong Kong, and was a DP History student herself. Looking through a Historical lens, I was really interested to hear what she had to say about Exhibition Prompt 9: Are some types of knowledge less open to interpretation than others?
We explore the beauty of history, literature and arts as being constantly open to interpretation, and try to dig into what kinds of knowledge might not be as open to interpretation, even in these areas. We talk about the key methods of historiography, and how that plays a valuable role in interpretation of historical events, as well as the role of the historian in removing the subjective “I” and to consider a range of contrasting evidence to get a sense of what took place. We get in deep in this one about the nature of knowledge in history and the role of interpretation. Hope you enjoy it and it gets you thinking a little more about the history you know!
And again, thank you Bernard Wun for the music!
2023 Essay Title 3: Bubbles
In this episode, I talked to Ian Galley (IBDP English Language & Literature) Nicole Mamphey (Science and Applied Ethics) about TOK Essay Title 3: Does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in “bubbles” where some information and voices are excluded? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
We had a rich discussion about “bubbles'' as they exist in social media networks and internet platforms as well as within academia, algorithms, and how this contributes to, enhances and distorts our bubbles. We also discussed many of the real world consequences (why it matters!) that what we’re learning may occur in these bubbles.
We discussed relevant ideas including retracted findings of psychology and vaccination studies, bubbles in comedy and how it fits with the Benign Violation Theory, perspectives and the Soldier vs. Scout Mindset by Julia Galef, Spiral of Silence Theory and the social tendency to reinforce bubbles and silences descending voices, and the Metaverse. We discuss the difference between a community and a bubble: which one is more open to other ideas? How do they overlap?
We unpack and explore: Does it matter (to who? for what?) Does it matter to our acquisition of knowledge? Does it matter to the voices that are excluded? We challenge the notion that science is objective, and discuss how even in the sciences we want to reinforce what fits our own perspective and beliefs. We also begin to discuss voices that are excluded: silenced voices - why this matters!
2023 Essay title 6: Methodologies
Today I had a really insightful discussion with IB Theatre teacher, Alex Campion. We talked about May 2023 TOK Essay Title 6: To what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use? Discuss with reference to history and one other area of knowledge.
Of course we talked about the Arts, attempting to give light to artistic methods in contrast with "the scientific method". I really enjoyed this one, and hope it leaves you thinking a little about the connection between the way we choose to produce knowledge and the impact it has on what we know. Stay tuned for more of these Essay Title discussions in the next few weeks!
In this episode, I sat down with DP Design Teacher Donna Gee and DP Global Politics Teacher Bill Kyzner to discuss TOK Exhibition Prompt 5: What counts as good evidence for a claim? It really got me thinking about the significance of this question in my own personal knowledge about myself and the world, but also in a bigger sense about claims being made in today’s very heated political world. We stayed focused in this talk about evidence and claims within Design and Global Politics, but I cannot stop thinking about how perspectives play a very significant role in just how much evidence is enough to be “good” enough, and the implications this has on all kinds of knowledge communities. There really is so much more to be said about this prompt. I’m gearing up to do a reflection episode, so if you have comments or things you’d like to add, please send me a message via the contact page at www.TOKTalk.org.
And thank you thank you thank you to Bernard Wun for his lovely guitar licks on this track!
Today we delve into the world of Statistics, and unpack how it can be a tool that can both reveal and conceal. To help me with this complicated question, I’ve asked some well-informed people to help me unpack this year’s TOK Essay Title 4: “Statistics conceal as much as they reveal”
Here with me today are Ms. Zehra Baig, Statistics teacher, Mr. Martin Brown, Mathematics teacher and Ms. Virginia Voigt, Psychology teacher. We discuss:
Music Credit: The Plastic Daizi Collective, 2015
Bias in the pursuit of knowledge
Joining me today are Dr. Rachel Oser – a Research Scientist & Teacher, Mr. David Fenwick: a Physics, Mathematics and Engineering Teacher, and Mr. Kevin Hoye, an English and fellow TOK Teacher. The prompt is this years’ essay Title 6:
“Avoiding bias seems a commendable goal but this fails to recognize the positive role that bias can play in the pursuit of knowledge”
Questions we discuss:
* Why might avoiding bias be a commendable goal in the discipline you teach? What are some of the measures taken to avoid these biases in your discipline?
* The title seems to imply that it isn’t possible to avoid bias – do you agree? Are some biases therefore fundamental? In what ways?
* What positive role(s) might it play in the pursuit of knowledge in your discipline?
I really enjoyed this conversation, and I hope this gets you thinking about your own biases as well as the positive and negative roles they have in the disciplines you study.
Original music by Emily Osann
Intro to Ethics
This episode I give an introduction to four main theories or perspectives on ethics: Virtue ethics, Deontological Ethics, Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, and Moral Relativism. I discuss these theories in relation to current situations such as the MeToo Movement and Self-driving cars. I love ethics... so this will be the first of several episodes looking at how ethics shapes knowledge in other areas.