As part of the IB Core assessment, all Lower Sixth students are required to explore a real-life/contemporary situation from the perspective of the Theory of Knowledge in the form of a 10-minute oral presentation (or longer within a group). Whilst argumentation not presentations skills per se are at the heart of the assessment, it is a good chance for students to build their confidence when speaking in public. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for our pupils to display and extend their passion about a particular topic they may have already learnt in one of their chosen subject disciplines or one that they are passionate about outside of the classroom. Essentially, it is a critical thinking task that requires students to identify and analyse the various kinds of justifications used to support the knowledge claims they may come across in their daily school lives or from the wider global media. We hope that it serves as a platform for students to begin to reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives.
This year’s Lower Sixth tackled the task with gusto and imagination. Each pupil must present on a different topic and this year’s cohort covered an interesting range of topics from the science and ethics of GMO crops to Van Gogh’s artistic style; the nature versus nurture debate of elite athletes such Usain Bolt and the Brownlee twins; Gregor Mendel’s unorthodox but accurate methodology; understanding ‘The Great Gatsby’ through modernist conventions and the importance of context; revisionism of the Nanjing Massacre; and the language of “climate breakdown”; and this was just a fraction of the diversity on display.
We congratulate the Lower Sixth pupils for managing their time so well and handling the pressure of producing many excellent presentations at a time when they are also focusing on end of year exams. IB Learners are truly balanced, reflective and prepared to take risks.