Using Tok in Everyday Lessons

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Bringing TOK into everyday subject teaching

Obtained from experienced TOK teachers working in specialist subject groups at the Madrid TOK conference November 2003.

Compiled by Geoffrey Neuss

Swedish A1
(Reporter: Håkon Kjellin, Täby Gymnasium, Sweden Hakan.Kjellin@tibble.taby.se)

Interpretation:
Are there correct and incorrect interpretations? Or is relativism absolute when interpreting texts? Is there such a thing as over-interpretation? •What factors – individual psychological, cultural, historical, social –deter mine the interpretation? •Comparing different models of interpretation: differences and similarities in the models of interpretation of different disciplines. •Who ‘owns’ the text.? The author or the reader? If the latter: who is the creator?

Language:
Language and reality: What kind of reality does a work of fiction create? What is the ontological status of characters in novels? •The dichotomy: documentary-fiction versus fiction-fiction. •Questions about the basics of philosophy of language: signifier – signified; the nature of hopes (metaphors etc) •What is a symbol? How does a symbol work?

Knowledge:
What kind of knowledge - and about what – do we get from literature (fiction, drama and poetry)? •What kind of authority is the author?

Some questions
Can you talk about good or bad literature?
What is behind the choice of books on the IB booklist?
What does Strindborg have that no other Swedish playwright has?

(Recommended reading: Jorge Luis Borges! In his stories you can find illustrations for every TOK topic!)

English A1
Reporter: Fiona Guertler, International School of Düsseldorf, Germany guertlerf@isdedu.de

1. Become more familiar with TOK
Inservice training days
Observation of TOK lessons
Invite a TOK teacher in to make links at the end (last 15 minutes?) of a lesson • Use the TOK terms more actively (distribution of TOK diagram in classroom) • If MYP school – try to become actively aware of links between homo faber, ATL and TOK • TOK/Literature theme days?

Become aware of how TOK journals can be used for further reflection on themes/assignments arising in English classes. • Read/rewrite subject curriculum noting explicit links to TOK

2. Look for naturally occurring links
Literature
Talk with TOK teacher to highlight TOK ‘themes’ e.g. ethical/scientific/historical etc in essays/assignments/units • Summer reading- set texts which are full of TOK issues • Inform TOK teacher of the texts you are studying to help make links e.g. Death of a Salesman- define success. What paradigms does American Dream come from? This leads to perception/reason /emotion etc. • Think about literature as an area of knowledge

Literature in translation
Define ‘problem of knowledge’ with examples such as "What is UNGEZIEFER in English" : bug/vermin/beetle? • What are the implications if it can’t be translated? • Cultural bias?

Language A1 and World Literature
Study the same text in different languages and consider the implications

Language
Ask TOK teacher to inform you of key vocabulary and terminology as students approach each new unit e.g. inductive/deductive/fallacy/euphemism etc or genocide/tragic/Negro/IB etc. • Metamorphosis/The transformation

Essay writing – like TOK – helps students to focus on what their aims are by using evidence to justify statements- importance of content, arguments etc.

3. Gentle engineer "natural links" – from little acorns….. • Go on TOK field trips with your class to try to put an ‘English’ slant on it • Ask to make ‘guest appearance’ in TOK lessons – drama/role play/debate etc. • Meet with other colleagues to brainstorm TOK ideas every month or sao – or establish school intranet dialogue re TOK.

4. Consult the TOK OCC page
Contribute to list e.g.TOK novesl and which areas of TOK they apply to e.g Calvino: If on a winter’s night. Nabokov:...
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