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TOK Presentation Tips

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by Jeff Taylor on 7 November 2013

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Transcript of TOK Presentation Tips

TOK Presentation Tips
According to one TOK Examiner:
"The vast majority of presentations I viewed were simple recitations of two sides of a controversial issue, with no attention to how the contrasting beliefs had been formed as a result of a process of learning. Many of these would have been competent -- even excellent -- presentations in another course (politics, history, sociology), but they were not appropriate for TOK, and in some cases were almost entirely irrelevant."
"The TOK presentation is...
If the focus is not on Knowledge Questions, then it is not a TOK presentation.
NOT a descriptive research project.
NOT a social studies "report" on some subject of general interest."
TOK Presentation in a nutshell:
6. Also, the application should extend beyond the original RLS to other areas.
5. The product of this reflection will then be applied back to the RLS.
4. While analyzing, other KQs will be identified and analyzed.
3. Analyze the Knowledge Question (not the RLS)
from your own perspective
from other perspectives
using ideas and concepts from TOK
2. Extract a Knowledge Question (KQ) from the RLS.
1. Take a real life situation (RLS).
Typical TOK Presentation Pitfalls
Example topic: If everyone in the world could kill one person, what would happen?

This is an entirely hypothetical question. There is no real-life situation or knowledge issue to focus the presentation.

Philosophical thought experiments are interesting to pursue, and may add insight to the TOK course, but are not likely to result in a presentation that relates to the lives, interests, or knower's perspectives of students.
Problem: the presentation is not grounded in real people and real life
Problem: the presentation is focused on a description of a real event or situation to the exclusion of analysis
Example topic: Post-traumatic stress disorder in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide

How is this topic related to TOK? In what ways will the student incorporate an analysis of the acquisition or application of knowledge?

A topic such as this often leads students to a largely narrative description that excludes analysis.
Problem: the presentation uses TOK concepts and vocabulary entirely superficially, or simply as “markers” for TOK
Example topic: The logic behind the school’s security policy

The student who presents on this topic is likely intending to summarize the arguments for and against the school's security policy.

One examiner wrote: “in many cases it seemed that the students did not have a grasp of their real-life situation and spent much time thrashing about in unclear and waffling exploration, with students seemingly pulling ways of knowing out of a hat and attempting to insert them into their presentations. It was as if they knew that they had to mention TOK terms but really had no idea of how to do so, having minimal grasp of their concepts”.
Problem: the presentation concerns itself with an ethical topic introduced as a two-sided debate in which the presenter in the end abstains from judgment
Example topic: Is the death penalty ethical?

Often students are tempted to treat presentations that relate to Ethics as an opportunity to recite arguments "from both sides." Listing reasons or arguments does not fulfill the requirements for high marks on a TOK essay. Rather, students should develop "an investigation into how one came to believe in those reasons, and stating that the controversy is a matter of ethics does not constitute an investigation into how the ethical stance was developed and internalized”.
Helpful Presentation Tips
Have organized notes!
This is a major assessment for TOK. Plan and practice this presentation so that it is seamless, smooth, and well-organized.
Save the discussion for the Q & A time!
Audience interaction is OK, but it should be well-planned and not take the place of your own analysis of your KQ's.
Take it easy with YouTube!
Don't use videos as a substitute for your own thinking and analysis.
Use the TOK
Presentation Planner!
Follow the progression of RLS, KQ, Analysis, and Application in your presentation.
Make sure your
KQs are clear!
Use TOK vocabulary and concepts. KQs should be explicitly about knowledge and open-ended.
Use Diverse Viewpoints!
Approach every KQ from multiple viewpoints.
Examine Yourself!
Subject your own view to critical examination.
Use Sources!
You don't need to use in-text citations, but if you make a claim, you should tell your audience where the idea is from.
Updated for May 2015 Examinations
How is my presentation assessed?
Your teacher will ask these questions:
Wiki Leaks and the publication of secret information
To what extent is emotion a better guide to what is ethical than reason?
See the full transcript