Tag Archives: personal knowledge

Signed language, symbolism, and reflections on inclusion

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OUP blog) I learned something important from my friend Lynx – something important for how I think about TOK and knowledge. It was almost seven years ago. I was interviewing her, as an experienced New Zealand Sign Language interpreter, on how signed languages worked and what they tell us about the nature of language. I was keenly interested in the ideas – and on using my laptop to make a video for the very first time. Then, when I had finally edited the interview, I passed it to Lynx for her response. It was immediate. “Can we add closed captions?” she asked. I was mystified. Why would we do that? “I wouldn’t like to talk about the Deaf community and their knowledge,” she explained, “without their having access to what I’m saying.” In an abrupt shift of perspective, I suddenly thought about the function of the closed captions I had always ignored – and realized that she was right. I had anchored my thinking entirely in my own TOK community and relationships of ideas. As an interpreter between hearing and Deaf groups, Lynx was much more fully attuned to the people. She was talking about inclusion and respect. Continue reading

“Really? You don’t know what MATTER is?”: Nobel Laureate in physics uses doughnuts to explain.

(from OUP TOK blog) In just a minute and a half on a comedy show, Arthur McDonald explains the discovery in physics that made him a co-winner of a Nobel Prize for physics this month. Well, actually…..no, he doesn’t. But he does provoke a laugh, perhaps especially for Canadians who recognize the popular chocolate Timbits he resorts to using in a simplified explanation. I recommend this video clip for TOK class for two reasons: first, a class laugh opens discussion of scientific discovery without distancing those fearful of physics; and second, it raises some tasty knowledge questions about the nature of explanation and responsibility.   Continue reading

“It shakes your guts.”: TOK knowing in an adventurous ice climb

(by Eileen Dombrowski, first published in my TOK blog, Oxford University Press) Ice climbing to precipitous heights is not everyone’s idea of a good time. Certainly – most certainly – not mine! But while I find adventurer Will Gadd’s ascent of frozen Niagara Falls essentially horrifying, I’m intrigued at the potential for a stimulating TOK class that emerges from the videos of his climb in January and a video/audio interview he did in June of this year. In this blog, I often suggest fresh material for TOK classes. This time, I’ll go into some detail on how I imagine using it – and please feel free to pick out anything useful to you. Continue reading

Poppies and remembrance: symbolism and perspectives

poppyfield(by Eileen Dombrowski, from TOK OSC blog) Controversy again over poppies and remembrance – or in TOK terms, over symbolism and shared knowledge! In Britain, a headscarf with a poppy pattern has been marketed to Muslim women to “raise awareness about the 400,000 Muslims, most of them Indian, who fought alongside British troops in the First World War.” Condemning this poppy scarf, one Muslim woman calls it one of “the most ill-conceived of the recent spate of ‘we are not extremists’ initiatives.” She adds,  “I also take issue with the fact that a symbol of my religion is being appropriated as a marketing tool for empire.”  (“Brits divided over ‘poppy hijab’”)

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Shared knowledge: a moment of “Wow!”

14-08-01everest-screenshot(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OSC Blogs Aug 1, 2014) You HAVE to watch this video from Discovery Channel! Watch it, and then rotate your screen for the view at the end. First, just enjoy it. And then we can link it to TOK.   Mount Everest in 3D: Experience the Trek to the Summit. Continue reading