It was a short week with Year 12 this week for those of us not attending the residential. It sounds like they had a great time though and they’ll all be writing blog posts about their experience next week.
Before they left for residential, in Core classes, we had been focusing on communication as our vital Approach to Learning. We looked not only at how communication is necessary for success at school and work, but also the need for communication skill in any relationship: we were all interested to learn our love language, for example. We discovered that actions really can speak louder than words, as can body language and facial expression.
In focusing on language as a Way of Knowing through TOK we considered the benefits of language to the Areas of Knowledge and in my class this led to a really interesting discussion about the way that language in the Natural Sciences needs to be as precise as possible and so some of the ways of doing that are through jargon, specific definitions and the use of latin or the generation of new words to act as a sort of universal language of science. The Arts on the other hand gain their power from the weaknesses of language in other Areas of Knowledge – metaphor which may be interpreted in many ways, ambiguity and symbolism which may be differently interpreted according to different context are all strengths in the Arts which allow people to make their own personal meaning.
After these discussions we wanted to introduce students to the TOK presentation and to do so I produced a sample presentation to deconstruct with the criteria. Although the TOK presentation is given live, as I was out on training during the lesson, I pre-recorded it:
Our students are now working on planning their own presentation which we are looking forward to seeing after half term.
The other task we asked students to do this week was an assessment to see how well they are able to apply their learning. We asked them to write a blog post exemplifying two occasions of their improved communication skill.
I can only speak for my class but I was so impressed by, not only the quality of the blog posts, but also by the variety of methods by which they were applying their learning. Wilson showed us how to use Skype and What’s app effectively for study. (And, most impressively, posed a TOK question about what he had learned in Physics). Rania showed us how to use screencasting to analyse poetry and share those ideas. Yujin discovered that the glass writeboards we’ve put everywhere can be effective learning tools. Rayhan gave us some excellent examples of study methods through good communication. What was particularly pleasing was the reflections of a number of students on the shared, communicative studying they had been doing. Some discovered for the first time how beneficial it can be to share knowledge and understanding. In our BSJ IB community working together to achieve is a fundamental value!
Next week we’ll be back to awarding blogger of the week, and post of the week for the best (read: most entertaining yet reflective) residential post.