Getting the facts, changing your mind
(by Eileen and Theo Dombrowski, from OUP blog) Today, it’s time to lighten up – with a TOK cartoon and a smile. In recent months, we’ve been heavy on a cluster of inter-connected topics: confirmation bias, fake news (variously defined), fact-checking, “pushback” to opposing views, and class activities for self-awareness of cognitive resistance to changing our minds. But today – as May exams descend on IB students and teachers of the Northern Hemisphere — today we pull these threads together in way that should tax nobody’s mind!
Best wishes from Theo and me for a fine month of May! — Eileen
(by Theo Dombrowski, from OUP blog) Here’s a challenge for your students. Are they open to changing their opinions if faced with contrary facts? Today we offer a class exercise – ready for you to download, to use directly or to customize – whose goal is student self-awareness. It demands reflection, research, and discussion, and should raise discussion on facts, feelings, values, opinions, and confirmation bias in accepting or rejecting knowledge claims. The formatted version is available for download at the end of this post. Continue reading
(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) Good news: counter-argument with factual support may not be doomed after all. The “backfire effect”, as widely discussed in the past few years, was a truly disheartening phenomenon for anyone who cares about critical thinking or reliable knowledge. However, recent studies illustrate how the human sciences work as they offer revised conclusions – and at the same time give us back some reasons for optimism.
(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) History, it often seems to me, isn’t essentially about the past. In so many ways, it’s about the present and the future – the afterlife in records, interpretation, and impact on thought. In current news, I’m struck by what lives on from bygone days in three seemingly unlike examples: a controversial law (Poland), yet another statue (this one in Canada), and a day of national commemoration (Australia). What they share is an eerie sense that we’re watching a troubled past in afterglow – and hearing in echo the resonance of TOK knowledge questions.
Here we go again? History is one area of knowledge that is keenly attuned to repetition, with variation! The knowledge questions from the current TOK Guide take another turn upon the stage: Continue reading