This morning I ran a TOK training session with two of my magical colleagues, Rob Dale and Tim MacMahon. This was aimed at teachers who were new to TOK or only taught MYP, to demystify the subject. It also gave them activities and ideas for bringing TOK into their classes, (including their MYP classes).
We started off by showing teachers five objects and having them guess what they were:
The teachers put their guesses on pieces of paper and placed them in a bowl. We read out the guesses, then explained what the objects were.
1. An object to cut segments of a grapefruit
2. A grole - an object for sharing coffee.
3. Opium weights from Myanmar
4. A ceramic object for cooking bacon! ("The Baconator")
5. A Victorian mourning ring (this was my object!)
After this, we introduced the different ways of knowing: Faith, Reason, Imagination, Emotion, Sense Perception, Memory, Intuition and Language and discussed how we used this in guessing what the objects were. We also talked about the ways which stopped us from guessing what the objects were, and we discussed the difference between shared and personal memory.
(I also shared the History of the World in 100 Objects - and had people think about who selected these objects and would they select the same).
He then revealed the truth! This objects were bought for a few dollars each at thrift stores - they then had writers create fake stories for each object - and they put them on eBay. On eBay it clearly said that the stories were fictional, and that it was part of the Significant Objects project. Even with knowing they were fake, people paid a hue amount for the objects! The average cost of each object was $1.50, but one of them even sold for over $500! We then discussed why the value increases. Other questions that came up were 'what is worth more - my iPhone or the people who make them?' an 'is this the same sensation as buying designer clothes? Does the limited number of items available make it more exclusive and does this increase the value?' Again we reflected on the different ways of knowing that we used and those that were at odds with each other.
Finally we had teachers do this map activity. They had to divide the country, using the outline map, with the knowledge of the different religious, mountains and volcanoes and languages. This also led to a great conversation with people showing the different ways of knowing they were using - for example personal knowledge and memory (an example, one of our teachers is from Switzerland, so didn't even think about diving up the country by language!)
We ran out of time then, but shared with them these 'What if?' prompts:
and lastly we shared that the rest of the presentation described TOK's relationship with the Learner Profile, and then gave them a serious of prompts related to each subject group (aimed at getting MYP teachers to bring a little TOK into their classroom).
Here's the full presentation! Enjoy!