Perspectives and significance
It’s very important to include a consideration of different perspectives, and stress the significance of your real life situation and knowledge questions, in your presentation (just as in your essay). This links in with the Learner Profile’s aim to encourage students to become both open-minded and caring, and develop skills of empathy.
What do we mean by different perspectives?
So what do ‘different perspective’ actually mean? Again, it’s a fairly simple concept: you should simply try to consider how the knowledge issues in your presentation might be seen by those looking from a different perspective. By perspective, we don’t mean merely a different opinion, we mean something more fundamental. This could include the following:
- Geographical location
- Religion/philosophical position
- Historical era
- Cultural tradition
- Socio-economic position
- Educational experiences
Let’s put this in context by referring to a couple of actual presentations.
a. Mobile Wars
Real life situation: The wars (generally in the Congo and other central African states) associated with controlling the supply of minerals used in mobile phones and other technology devices.
Knowledge question: Can the suffering of developing countries be justified by the socio-economic well-being of developed societies benefitting from it?
b. Art versus censorship
Real life situation: The ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’ initiative, started up to combat death threats against South Park and other writers and media figures who have depicted the prophet Muhammad.
Knowledge question: Should there be a limit to freedom of expression?
In terms of the first presentation, how might your perspective depend on your geographical location, and whether you are from a developing or developed country? Has this issue changed over time (for example, think about European colonialism)? How might your opinion on this matter depend on your socio-economic position?
In connection to the second presentation, how might your perspective change according to your religious affiliation? Whether you belong to a liberal democratic state, or not? Your cultural tradition?
Stressing the significance of your knowledge issues
All of the knowledge issues you include in your presentation should be meaningful and important, and your real life situations, even if they are taken from your own personal experiences, should be significant. In other words, they should be issues and examples we can all identify with and understand, and perhaps even have experienced for ourselves.
To put this in context, we can look again at the two presentation titles above. Given the scope of the first – ie modern technology such as mobile phones, laptops, and basically every single device with electronics in it – the implications are clear, and as the students who gave the presentation correctly pointed out, every single person in the West should be aware of what ensures the supply of minerals in the devices they take for granted.
The significance of the second presentation is no less far-reaching. We live in a world where fear of terrorism defines our daily life, and a great deal of this is due to the religious tensions between Islamic and secular states. Anything that touches on the issue of freedom of expression, and sympathy for religious sensibilities is clearly topical and profound. In short, both are excellent presentations in terms of bringing in different perspectives and considering the implications of the knowledge issues at stake.
Ask a question about the TOK presentation
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