Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Learning From Peers: Sitting in a TOK Class

A few weeks ago, I sat in a TOK (Theory of Knowledge) class of a colleague to learn something new and to think about my own "unique" teaching roles. This activity is part and parcel of our school's professional development program. Here are my thoughts on the experience.

Highlights of the session (areas, teaching/ learning moments or observation points which strike you and why)

The highlight of the session for me was my colleague's modeling of the thinking process. He identified a real life situation (RLS) and asked the students to convert the RLS to a knowledge issue (KI). Students fashioned a knowledge question (KQ) from the KI. My colleague facilitated this process through group work and discussion.

The exercise he did with his students on the TOK criteria was a practical strategy to hone their evaluation skills. This way, students were made aware of the assessment rubrics as well as the required skills and competence expected of them in TOK.

Short reflection on your own practice: any new learnings gained which you would like to try in your class? Any questions you would like to raise about your own teaching practice as a result of this 'preview' of your colleague's ' teaching and learning event? 

I think the pattern that my colleague used in arriving at a KQ can also be used in helping the grade 11s craft their research question (RQ) in the Extended Essay. However, there is time and class hours devoted for TOK where as in the EE, the time allotment given to assist students is during big group assemblies. In the TOK class, students are guided through the application of thinking across subject areas. I see no difference in the EE, only that, students need to investigate a bit deeper on chosen topics of research.

How can such thinking strategies be transferred to the EE?

Any feedback and comment you'd like to offer?

Since I saw the value in the group's formulation of KQs, I think it would be good to write the finished KIs and KQs on manila paper or cartolina. Have these written KIs and KQs posted on the bulletin board. Teacher and students revisit them as they go through the whole exercise of nurturing this kind of thinking strategy. By doing so, teacher (not necessarily the TOK teacher) can use the written output for a language lesson or a lesson on grammar, vocabulary development and sentence patterns. This can be converted into a mini-lesson on writing. Once edits and revisions are made on the KQs, it can then be finalized and approved as an acceptable KQ based on criterion.

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