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The assessment criteria: KNOWERS PERSPECTIVE

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Hi everybody out-there!

I am concerned about how exactly I should get the knower's perspective points.

When I consider writing my own examples of how I've experienced things in the different ways like: 'with this teacher we..., but that teacher blah...', then it just sounds lame.

But on the other hand our TOK essay is not suppose to be a source-based investigation (like the historical IA).

What do you guys do?

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Don't go and write about stuff you've done with your teachers or stuff you've done in general. They key thing in getting your own experience across for the knower's perspective is that you link your studies to the knowledge problem, not link what you have done to the knowledge problem. The knower's perspective is something more implicit rather than explicit, so throwing a personal example in the examiner's face is not likely to benefit you very much. What you want to do is have smooth references that shows that your studies have led you to consider this perspective of the problem. Instead of saying "I've come across this", you can just link the problem to your studies (they have to be linked, though) by saying something along the lines of "my studies of Economics led me to consider the problem for this perspective bla bla". I suggest you take a look at May 2009 essays (earlier ones had different criteria) that did well. (You'll need VIP, though)

I, for example, was never good at ToK but still got an A for the essay. I remember paying detail into hiding clues about how this comes from my studies, so you might want to take a look at my essay if you have no other examples. Here is something I said in my essay, based on title 5 of M09, "In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance. -Henry Miller. Is this true?"

"In my studies of Economics, I have come to question whether the discipline provides us with an example of how gains in knowledge might make us ignorant in a negative way. The field of economics has undergone significant development within the last hundred years, and it is safe to say that knowledge in economics has expanded"

I assume no responsibility if what I've said above makes no sense. :rolleyes:

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Or like:

In my SL Physics class, I was taught how global warming is caused because humans release greenhouse gases which absorb IR. However, I can't see for myself these carbon dioxide molecules floating around, absorbing the IR. As a result, blah blah blah...

Just talk about your perspective of certain knowledge in a class. In this case, I would talk about perception and how it tells me that there's no such thing as CO2 molecules because I can't see them.

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Hi everybody out-there!

I am concerned about how exactly I should get the knower's perspective points.

When I consider writing my own examples of how I've experienced things in the different ways like: 'with this teacher we..., but that teacher blah...', then it just sounds lame.

But on the other hand our TOK essay is not suppose to be a source-based investigation (like the historical IA).

What do you guys do?

Well, first off, you don't want to be worried about "getting the perspective points", otherwise your essay has a good chance of turning in to a partially successful shopping list, which is not something an examiner wants to read. Basically, you have to show that you understood what was going on during TOK class, and if you do it well, you'll get the marks. Of course, that needs a bit of justification, so here's why:

The knower's perspective is the sum total of everything that an individual can discern from their environment. Now, you might say that it's a dumb concept, because, well, I just described everything a single person knows, but the key here is that in TOK, you learn to take your perspective and analyze it, critically and as objectively as you can. A few things to avoid, when doing this, are the use of any simplistic references, or references made in such a way as to suggest that the person writing the essay was determined to get the points by adding in whatever they could. Recognition of your own limited perspective should be a key point in how you approach writing your essay, and how you analyze different knowledge issues, but should absolutely not be explicitly defined by personal examples. Just as a note, while the two posters above do have valid points, I'd avoid such direct references, simply because in the field of philosophy, it's not considered appropriate to say "when I studied this, I learned this", when you should really be saying that "research in this particular field has the potential to raise these questions about this subject", which doesn't really imply you've studied the field, but provided you know what you're doing, it can really improve readability and maturity in your work.

Either way, considering I don't know which topic you picked, I can't offer specific advice, but if you're worried about displaying the perspective of a knower, remember that the entire point of your TOK essay is to show that you've come to terms with your own perspective as a knower, so subdividing it and throwing the concept in for marks is simply a bad idea. Instead, focus on evaluation and questioning. A successful essay demonstrates perspective by looking at a new idea, posing questions about that idea, and evaluating means of answering them, before, possibly, coming up with an answer, or at least a further question. If the question is of an empirical nature, don't forget to mention that although sense is our primary means of perceiving the world, it's definitely not the only faculty we have, and that humans are able to take advantage of the natural ability to second-guess what our eyes tell us.

Anyways, in super short, don't get caught up with trivial examples, don't treat any one point of evaluation as if it needs it's own little closed off section in your essay (that only shows lack of ability to broaden your scope of knowledge, which is a major no-no), and consider how and why you know what you know, and think what you think.

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Thank you all so much for these long and well-thought answers!

I will now sit down, think a bit more and try :rolleyes: I really appreciate that for once I'm not told to read the assessment criterias and work as a machine.

btw I am working on title 1: To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts and ethics?

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To what SharkSpider said, our TOK teacher gave out TOK essays for us to read that scored really high (in the high 30s) and all of them contained personal and direct references. I think, that's what IB actually wants you to do in order for them to know that you really do understand what TOK is about, and how you can apply it in your different classes.

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Well, in response to KLSmash, I was able to receive a 36 on my own, and most definitely didn't use any personal references, so if that's the case (didn't see any examples, myself), then it would really come down to a matter of style. You're definitely correct in saying that the IBO wants to know that you're able to understand the purpose of TOK, but my point would be that unless such examples came to mind, naturally, and without needing to go over each piece of criteria in detail, you really aren't doing that. If an example of that nature seemed forced or thrown in for marks, I'd argue that a good marker would penalize it more than they would an example that appeared to be generated exclusively by the topic at hand, but fell short for whatever reasons.

If you took physics as an example, the major TOK topic in that field is the questioning of the legitimacy of Empirical observation, which can be referenced in much smoother ways than simply stating "In physics class we look at real world things and try to explain them with theories", namely replacing physics class with a more general, world-view of the study of physics. Likewise, if you're looking at mathematics, instead of limiting yourself to what's been gone over in math class, you could consider what someone means when they say, in math, that something is an axiom. If you're looking further in to that field, one could even argue that an advantage to mathematical thinking is that due to the definition of these axioms, we arrive at truths that are not self-evident, which is pretty big. I mean, you can prove that there are only as many rational numbers as there are natural numbers, since both are infinite, but you can't say that there are as many irrational numbers as natural numbers. As an example that would take 2 years in university to prove, it's possible to make the assumption that "every set of natural numbers has a smallest element", and go, from there, making no nontrivial assumptions, to the declaration that some infinities are bigger than other ones. While I do know for a fact that unless you've got prior knowledge, you probably won't know what I just said, but that's up to the person writing the TOK essay to figure out, but the long, roundabout point is that going in to philosophical understanding of a science or math course often means moving beyond the IB curriculum, and that if you actually go to the trouble of pondering and researching, you should avoid limiting the perspective of your writing to the content of courses that are designed for engineers.

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