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Tackling Nov 2011 Questions

Tackling Nov 2011 Questions

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Tackling Nov 2011 & May 2012 TOK Questions 
Please note that the suggested interpretation is one of various ways possible. There are many ways toapproach a TOK essay.
Q1: Knowledge is generated through the interaction of critical and creative thinking. Evaluate this statement in two areas of knowledge.
 The
command term
³evaluate´ would require you to argue to what extent you agree with the statement.
Understanding the question
± In order for knowledge to be generated, does it require the interaction of critical thinking and creative thinking? Are both equally important? Is one more important than the other?Or is critical thinking alone enough? Or is creative thinking alone enough? Each scenario should belinked to either one of two AOKs. They need to be linked to several WOKs too. Not all of the scenariosneed to be discussed due to the word limit. Neither do you want to focus on only one or two scenarios.
What not to do
± an extensive treatment of what knowledge is all about, the philosophy behindknowledge etc. Likewise, an extensive treatment of critical thinking and creative thinking is not required.A light treatment is essential, but not more than that.
What to do
± focus on ONLY two AOKs. Choose contrasting AOKs. Suggestions are:
y
 
natural sciences and human sciences
y
 
natural sciences and arts
y
 
natural sciences and history
y
 
natural sciences and ethics
y
 
math with any of the AOKs above (except natural sciences)
L
inks to WOKs
± ensure that at least two WOKs are used. The obvious choices are logic and perception, but given proper treatment, language and emotion will work well too.
Some ideas
± one would generally equate natural sciences/math with critical thinking. Don¶t stop there please. Question the relevance of creative thinking in natural sciences/math.Likewise, whilst you argue about how important creativity is important for the arts/human sciences, donot fail to question the relevance of critical thinking in those areas.
Some examples
± Could Victor Hugo have written
 Les Misérables
(1862) without a massive interactionof critical and creative thinking? Obviously not!Here¶s an example where critical thinking alone is enough. When scientists discover a new species of animal (say a frog with fangs?!), is there much imagination involved? They need to use critical thinkinghere ± check various sources before announcing this as a new find. By the way, this is not myimagination ± WWF scientists discovered frogs with fangs in New Guinea in June 2011. Note: This is not to say that scientific thinking does not involve creative thinking as it does, really (seecomments thread). What I gave here is just an example.
 
Q2: Compare and contrast knowledge which can be expressed in words/symbols with knowledge that cannot be expressed in this way. Consider CAS and one or more areas of knowledge.
The
command term
³compare and contrast´ would require you to discuss the similarities and differences between knowledge that can and cannot be expressed in words/symbols.
Understanding the question
± this is a shift towards a more engaging trend of TOK titles with your lifeas an IB student. For the first time, we have a question that asks you to consider CAS.You need to consider knowledge that can be expressed in words/symbols ± this you will not have a problem with as you have had many years of studying such knowledge! What about knowledge thatcannot be expressed in words/symbols? Clearly CAS is one area as it involves emotions, feelings, self-discovery, creative ventures that may be quite difficult to put in words.
What to do
± Highlight how knowledge can be communicated with or without words/symbols. Talk about it can be equally powerful and damaging both ways. Most importantly, find similarities anddifferences between these two types of knowledge.
What not to do
± To claim that knowledge can only be communicated via words/symbols, OR that itcannot at all be communicated via words/symbols.
L
inks to AOKs/WOKs
± You MUST use CAS as one AOK, and at least one other AOK (werecommend two more). It must be linked to AOKs/WOKs/TOK concepts. Any AOK is good here, but Iwould recommend Arts (novels/plays) where words do wonders. Science works well too ± cold hardfacts, systems, hardly any room for nuances or feelings here.
A few ideas
± think of a few CAS activities where you felt that the knowledge gained was receivedwithout words/symbols. Use your language A1 texts to convince the reader that knowledge can be veryeasily transmitted via words/symbols.
A few examples
± Maybe you played music for residents at a home for the elderly and their reaction wasnot easily captured by words/symbols.One similarity is that both types of knowledge make use other Woks and do not operate on their own i.e.there is a need for perception and/or emotion and/or logic to be present.One difference is that knowledge that can be transmitted via words/symbols is easily disseminatedwhereas without words/symbols, it is quite difficult to do so. Think about using print media versus usingword-of-mouth or personal contact.
 
 
Q3: Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible toattain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection.
The
command term
³examine´ would require that you analyse the statement in detail and consider various perspectives. In this case, it would mean consider for and against the claim.
Understanding the question
± the common notion is that most ( if not all) historical sources or textssuffer from bias and selection, and as a result, provides us knowledge that cannot be trusted. There is atendency to dismiss such sources due to elements present. This would be a mistake as in most cases,knowledge is still present, albeit slightly twisted. The question is pushing you in the direction of ³knowledge is still attainable´.
What to do
± Highlight that knowledge is still attainable despite bias and selection. Then discuss areaswhere knowledge may not be attained when the duo are present. Remember history MUST be used. Thenadd one or more AOKs.
What not to do
± To claim that knowledge cannot be attained at all when bias and selection are present.
L
inks to AOKs/WOKs
± You MUST use History as one AOK, and at least one other AOK (werecommend two more). It must be linked to AOKs/WOKs/TOK concepts. Any AOK is good here, but Iwould recommend Arts (e.g novels that are biased) and Science for the contrast to history.
A few ideas
± Despite being biased or selective, one can still gain knowledge about what happened.Maybe the numbers can¶t be trusted, or the description is biased, but the basic idea should be there inmost cases. And then there are times when the fundament al message is twisted out of shape«
A few examples
± The Cold War ± surely very different views are presented depending on whether USor Russian writers produced it. Maybe go a for a neutral country writer?The Tiananmen Massacre ± good to check records from various years and see whether the number of casualties mentioned have changed, also the way the incident is described.Please do not go with ³History is written by the winners´«

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