TOK IA #1; Language-related

As we embark on our first “stab” at the official TOK presentation, there are some helpful planning documents that will keep you on track. ALL ARE LOCATED TO THE LEFT IN THE MENU SECTION. Remember that officially, a Planning Doc must be turned in via Managebac to the IB (we’ll go over this in class). You will not be dismissed for summer until your planning doc and all presentation files are posted to your blog.

Basically, you will be asked to evaluate yourself according to the criteria rubric.  We’ll also add the “backchannelling” component via Twitter, so that members of the audience can give you feedback and become more engaged.

The planning doc includes these questions:

1. What is the real -life situation? (in this case, it will be a video or article related to Language as a Way of Knowing, or you might simply be inspired by a real-life issue related to Language in general)

2. What are the knowledge issues or isse? (Must be BROAD and OVER-ARCHING and in the form of an open-ended question; it is helpful to include “TOK phrases” such as “To what extent…” or “How can we know…”). ***The question must be inherently ABOUT KNOWLEDGE rather than the topic.

3. How do you plan to deal with/ treat the knowledge issues? Use the Presentation Checklist linked here or in the menu to the left to help you figure out Criterion B.

Of course, there is much more to this, so I hope these will help. Your TOK textbook, pp.276-281 can also help.


“Presentations may take many forms, such as lectures, interviews or debates. Students may use multimedia,
costumes, or props to support their presentations. However, under no circumstances should the
presentation be simply an essay read aloud to the class. While pre-recorded inserts within a presentation
are permissible, the presentation itself must be a live experience and not a recording of the presentation.”

“Participants in a group presentation must be given the same marks. In a group presentation, not every
student need speak for the same amount of time, but it is the presenters’ responsibility to ensure that all
members of the group participate actively and make comparable contributions”


1. View samples from the class of 2013 and critique them (we will do this in class)

2. Decide if you will be in a group of 2-3 people or do this alone

3.  Get inspiration:

a. Peruse DIIGO and DELICIOUS LISTS of things I’ve curated about Language. These might help inspire you to develop a knowledge issue question or questions to center your topic around.

b. Check out the Language Unit questions to see if any of these can drive your presentation.

c. View the topics and questions of the Class of 2013 AND the class of 2014

4. Start planning your presentation with the presentation planning document (this is mandatory). You will be given feedback prior to embarking on your presentation construction (download this as a Google doc from the left menu)

5. After feedback, build your presentation. Stick to the criteria. You may use any sort of presentation tool such as Google Slideshow, PowerPoint, film, skit  Prezi, etc. You can engage the class in activities, incorporate video or demonstrations, etc. (note it can no longer be entirely a movie, it must be LIVE)

You should do the following in your presentation:

a. give us an overview of the article or video that inspired you, or briefly introduce the topic

b. identify at least 1 knowledge question or issue in the article or video (***should be in the form of an open-ended question, with the question about knowledge itself- use the KNOWLEDGE ISSUE ESSENTIALS in the menu to the left. You can also use BLURS (Bias, Limitations, Uncertainty, Reliability, Subjectivity)

c. icorporate examples from personal life (knower’s perspective), or show clear personal involvement

d. discuss the implications of knowledge

e. show different perspectives and/or connections to other subjects (Areas of Knowledge) or Ways of Knowing – the linking questions above have some categories

f. try spend at least 10 minutes per person talking/presenting (that is a TOK requirement)


Language Samples from Class of 2013:

Hashtag (3 vids)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


Samples topics and questions from the Class of 2013:

Other Samples:

Vegetarianism (film)

Devon’s Aesthetics (awesome!)

The Ethics of Robots (animated film)

Technology and Behavior (film)

Entitlement (film with drawings)


You should check out these from Larry Ferlazzo, too


ToK–Presentation Planning Document

Candidate Name:

Candidate Name:

Title of Presentation:



Directions: This should be presented in skeleton or bullet point form, typed in standard 12 font and not exceed 500 words. It is acceptable to include diagrams, as long as they are clearly related to the text.

Describe your real life situation:

State your central knowledge question (this must be expressed as a question):

Explain the connection between your real life situation and your knowledge question:

Outline how you intend to develop your presentation, with respect to perspectives, subsidiary knowledge question, arguments, etc. Responses below can be presented in continuous prose, bullet point, or diagrammatic form.

Show how your conclusions have significance for your real life situation and beyond:


Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.34.08 AM


Twocratic Circle Talk (socratic + tweeting): Language

On Tues., April 29 and Wed., April 30 we will have a revamped SOCRATIC CIRCLE guided discussion on LANGUAGE as a way of knowing.

There will be an outer circle tweeting, a moderator to interject with the discussion points from the Twitter circle, and an inner circle discussing out loud.


Your responsibility is to come up with at least 2 good questions or topics – POST THEM TO OUR G+ COMMUNITY under “Discussions” with the hashtags #socratic #language

Here are some of the questions from last year, which gives you a good idea:

Here is the Storify of our Twitter backchannel:

For research, please check out any of the posts AND my Diigo:


1. you devise at least 2 questions on time

2. you actively participate in a relevant way to the Twitter backchannel (outer circle) OR discussion (inner circle)




Nonverbal Communication and Body Language

It has been concluded by scientists that between 60-70% (some even suggest 90%) of our communicaiton is NONVERBAL, and is derived from BODY LANGUAGE and PARALINGUISTIC cues.



BODY LANGUAGE= posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye movement, proxemics (personal space)

PARALINGUISTIC CUES= pitch, volume, intonation

Nonverbal Communication is a language of sorts, and because it gives clues as to the state of mind of the person (the communicator), study of body language leads right into our next unit on EMOTION AS A WAY OF KNOWING.

Here is a Wikipedia overview:


We know there are cultural differences and even gender differences in the use of body language, but did you know that Charles Darwin described “Universal” facial expressions in his The Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals (1872)? ***which outsold Origin of the Species!

VIDEO: Gestures around the World

VIDEO: The Human Animal: Gestures, Meanings, and Cultures

Link: List of Gestures from Around the World (yes, some viewer discretion advised)

Here’s a great link to explore what he was talking about: – let’s TWEET a photo of yourself doing one of the proposed cues and hashtag it #tokbodlang

and a YouTube: 

Picking up on body language symbols, and being aware of the ones you put out, is an important and useful life skill. You will probably need it most when interviewing for a job or other position, meeting new people, and, of course, flirting and dating.

More on that here:

Here’s a great video about “tells” in flirting.

Our good friend Charlie at the BBC again explores the Science of Attraction. How does our NONVERBAL communication play a role in our first impressions of others. Watch carefully for the cues or “tells”.


More useful links:

Psych Today article: Body language links

VIDEO: Gestures and Body Language

VIDEO: Science in Action: Facial Expressions (are they learned or innate?)

VIDEO: Microexpressions

VIDEO: Lie to Me show clip

VIDEO: How to tell if a guy is attracted to you (mostly about nonverbal communication)

VIDEO: How to captivate people when you speak

Article: How to read Body language

Article: How waiters judge you!

Article: Exploring the various types of body language based on emotions

Article: Nonverbal Communication basics

Wiki: Nonverbal Communication (all about)

Article: Top 10 Nonverbal Communication Tips

VIDEO: Are facial expressions universal? What stories can a face tell.

This is an hour long and excellent!

TED talk! Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are