AN ORIGINAL PODCAST FOR TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND OTHER CURIOUS PEOPLE
Recently I met with Naomi Chevannes who teaches Design Technology here in Hong Kong. We discussed TOK Exhibition Prompt 15: What constraints are there on the pursuit of knowledge? Breaking this down we discussed constraints such as access, tools, time, language, personal experience, motivation, perspectives, funding… We found possible divisions of these constraints such as inner and outer constraints, as well as an elegant distinction between constraints to the pursuit of knowledge which are within or without our control. We talked about knowledge as a buffet, and contrasted that with a famine (we may have gotten a little carried away with our food metaphor, as we were meeting just before lunch!! I really enjoyed this conversation, so thank you so much to Naomi for taking time out of a busy day to sit down and talk TOK with me.
To unravel this question, I met with Sarah Rodgers (DP Chemistry & MYP Science Teacher) & Alice Brookes (DP Bio & MYP Science Teacher). Together, we talk about a range of reasons we might doubt claims that are made about knowledge, and conversely what might make knowledge claims more trustworthy. We touch upon a variety of criteria, and discuss issues related to science, doubt in the time of Darwin when religion ran the world, the conflicting information about nutrition, as well as the current political climate in areas around the globe. It’s always fascinating to talk with people from different areas of the world, especially international teachers because we see things from both our own culture, our host culture, and sometimes a third global perspective as well.
Are we immune from the challenge of doubting the norm? Should we really doubt everything? Should we question everything? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? These are important questions to consider and I hope you take some time to think about the things you take for granted and where you’ve developed “cognitive ease” around what you believe.
Cognitive Ease a 5 min youtube video summing up Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow section on Cognitive Ease
Once again, thank you Bernard Wun for music to bring us in and out of today’s discussion.
Today I sat down with Jim Faherty, an experienced University Guidance Counsellor here in Hong Kong to exchange views on Exhibition Prompt 7 What are the implications of having or not having knowledge? Because of his background in university applications and guidance, we discussed this question in relation to how having knowledge within this realm expands and helps to refine options for future choices in a young person's life. We go beyond this, and discuss the implications of having knowledge, one of those being the responsibility to share knowledge with others. We consider the reliability of sources, which is not only relevant to university choices but to all aspects of knowing about the world. We also explore what responsibility might come with having knowledge, and the relationship of money, power and knowledge.
We discuss the implications of not having knowledge as well again in light of having access to education (and therefore certain forms of knowledge) as well as the war in Ukraine and the race for a vaccine for Covid. We begin to think about knowledge as a resource, and only begin to ponder the problem of how we could better manage this resource on the internet. I hope you enjoy this episode and think again about the implications of having or not having knowledge.
Unifrog University guidance platform
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
Today I’m joined by Liu Yu, aka Mr. LY, teacher of Chinese Humanities and Assistant Principal at ISF Academy in HK. We discuss Exhibition Prompt 6: How does the way we organise or classify knowledge affect what we know? We explore Confucian values in China as a way of organising knowledge (and by extension society) within Chinese culture. We also consider language and culture as ways we organize knowledge, and explore how in our personal experiences we’ve been able to step outside our own individual cultures in order to understand more about the world.
We also really get into the challenge of language as a way we know about the world, and the complexities of translation, as well as how having more varieties of language allows us to become more aware of the nuances of our experiences around us. There is still a lot more to discuss about this question, especially in the realms of art, science and humanities!
Thanks again to Bernard Wun for the guitar that brings us in and out of this one! Links for further investigation:
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!
I know this will likely bother anyone who is interested in order and logic, but I've decided to break the order of prompts so I can publish them as I record them. Turns out the most interesting topics to those around me are not necessarily in the order the IB has given them. Who knew? Anyway...
Today I’m joined by Theatre Teacher, Bob Scheer. We get together and discuss TOK Exhibition Prompt 11: Can new knowledge change established values and beliefs? Bob has also done the beautiful harmonies for music on today’s podcast, they’re really beautiful!
Links & fact checks:
History of Gender Pronouns
JK Rowling on gender and cancellation - a worthwhile read, worthy of questioning what you think
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Don’t Say Gay
This is the second episode in a series exploring the TOK Exhibition Prompts. Today I’m joined by Adam Walker, expert and teacher of Theatre. We get together and discuss TOK Exhibition Prompt 2: Are some types of knowledge more useful than others?
We’re both teachers of the Arts, so our conversation focuses heavily around the Arts. It would be interesting to sit down with a physicist, architect, astronomer or statistician and have a similar conversation!
Links for some of the theatre references discussed:
Another thank you to Vyvienne Schapel for the quick little riffs taking us in and out of the podcast!
This is the first in a series exploring the TOK Exhibition Prompts. In these episodes, I don't intend to answer the questions, but rather explore them and get you thinking. I hope you enjoy and find it stimulating!
To explore Prompt 1: What counts of knowledge, it was helpful to think about the following Types of Knowledge: