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"Literature is the question minus the answer."
Barthes' quotation is a useful starting point for students when considering the connections between Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Literature. In studying a wide range of literary texts, we consider many critical questions that relate to the nature of knowledge, certainty, belief and truth. Such questions are relevant to the TOK course, which is a core requirement for any IB student. TOK is all about asking questions, of which the most important may be: "How do I know what I claim to know?"
The new TOK course (first teaching 2020) has some significant changes, although the central principles and aims of the course remain the same. The main differences are the introduction of 12 concepts and an exhibition as an internal assessment, where students present three objects connected to TOK prompts.
Literary 'objects' for the TOK exhibition
The Things They Carried and TOK
Organising the Individual Oral Presentation is no easy task. There are many factors to bear in mind and many decisions to make in order for the assessment to score as highly as possible. Students might well want to know of a 'best' way to present their ideas, but this is of course impossible; there are many different possibilities - none necessarily better than the other. This page is designed to remind both you and your students of the most important factors to keep in mind, however, as well as provide models that might serve as inspiration or a guide.
Sample paper 1 responses
Linked from this page are a range of paper 1 responses with teacher marks and comments. It is important for teachers and students to look at a range of examples so that you become familiar with the expectations of Paper 1 and how student work is assessed using the criteria. While many of these samples could be described as exemplary, they do vary in approach, style and quality; it is important for students to see that there is not one set way of responding to this examination, and it is also useful to look at examples in terms of what they get wrong or could do better, as well as those that do a lot of things right.
Paper 1, the first of two external examination papers, is now called Guided Literary Analysis for both HL and SL students. In this examination students will be given two unseen passages, each from a different literary form and each with an accompanying guiding question. The passages can now be taken from any of the four literary forms listed on the PRL: drama, poetry, prose:fiction and prose:non-fiction. SL and HL students will get the same examination paper with the same texts but there are some important differences in terms of what is required for each level.
It may be a slightly obvious thing to say, but progress in this course depends more on the acquisition of a set of skills than the accumulation of a body of knowledge. And recognition of this carries particular weight in reference to Paper 1 - not least because success in the component derives from elements that underpin all parts of the course. Fundamentally, it is where students' sensitivity...
Questions for guided literary analysis
For paper 1, guided literary analysis, students are given two unseen literary passages which can come from any of the four literary forms on the Prescribed Reading List: drama, poetry, prose fiction and prose nonfiction. Students then write in response to the extract(s) (one for SL, both for HL) and an accompanying guiding question "on a central technical or formal element that may provide an interesting point of entry into the text." As such, it is important students have the opportunity to practice responding to a variety of texts from all four forms, and the types of guiding questions they might face in the examination.
Whether it is literature, music, painting, dance, architecture, or indeed any kind of art, the response you have when you see a work for the first time is a vital part of the way you 'see' it finally. What happens in those first few seconds and minutes can say a great deal about the key elements of style being used by the artist, as well as, perhaps, tell you some interesting things about...
Annotating texts is something we expect students to do by and large throughout the course - but when and how are the associated skills actually being taught? You might well find that some students seem to possess expertise almost instinctively, but many - perhaps most - do not. The notes below are designed to encourage your students to develop these skills by recognising the importance of annotation as a record of reading texts 'actively'. Paper 1 is the ideal to place to focus attention on the importance of this.
30 June 2021
Results 2021In another unusual year, find below an outline of what the release of results and subsequent enquiry upon results services (EUR)... more
5 Aug David White
Preparing the PresentationAre you logged in Lori? When you log in the page should appear.
4 Aug Lori Sterne
Preparing the PresentationHi! I don't see information here.
30 Jul David White
Higher Level coursework essay: a student guideHi Nancy. The guide states that "teachers should give regular feedback on students' work" but "not edit or correct their work directly." So, yes, your suggestion of breaking the process up at these stages and giving regular feedback, probably...
27 Jul Nancy Johnson
Higher Level coursework essay: a student guideWhat are your suggestions on the best way to break up the process of writing the HL essay in order to give proper feedback? For example, do you have them turn in brainstorming, thesis, outline, draft?
26 Jul Mark Beverley
10 steps to help you prepare for the IOHi Rohan: if it was originally written in English then you should be fine. Perhaps - to make double sure the examiner is aware, you might make it clear in the marking notes that you send with the recording.
23 Jul Rohan Vicars
10 steps to help you prepare for the IOHi Mark, one of the authors on the PRL, Khalil Gibran, is listed as writing in Arabic. However their text, The Prophet, was originally written in English. Should this text be considered a work in translation or a work in English? It strikes...
21 Jul David White
HL Essay: final checklistHi Michael. The IB are strict on word count so students should stick to 1500 or below for the essay.
19 Jul Michael Di Ciaccio
HL Essay: final checklistHello, I hoping to seek clarification on the rules for the word count. Typically, most academic institutions accept a 10% leeway on the length of essays. Is that the case for IB? IS the limit absolutely and strictly no more than 1500 words...
23 Jun Brian Taylor
Individual Oral samplesThanks for replying Mark - that fits what I have heard. It seems the samples uploaded here don't all have body of work comments (Lear, Antigone), and none talk 50/50 about the extract vs body of work. IB examination markers seem to have marked...
21 Jun Mark Beverley
Annotating textsHi Sam: this page was written quite some time ago and I am afraid I don't have the essays. The point was to try to highlight more significant features of the annotation process. There is more, however, on this page - - a video for students...
21 Jun Mark Beverley
Individual Oral samplesHi Brian: you are right, and the IB provided some guidance on this in the FAQs document that came out a while back - let me know if you can't find this and I will post it. In short, 'balance' means equal time spent between the two texts, and...
21 Jun Sam Tapp
Annotating textsWould it be possible to see the final essay that came out of these annotations please? Thank you.