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How is TOK taught in IB History?. Shannon Leggett History Paper 2 & 3 examiner International School of Prague , 10.08. RATIONALE. Examine the TOK syllabus + History Choose some of the questions and examine them with concrete, applicable examples

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how is tok taught in ib history
How is TOK taught in IB History?

Shannon Leggett

History Paper 2 & 3 examiner

International School of Prague,


Shannon Leggett 2008

  • Examine the TOK syllabus + History
  • Choose some of the questions and examine them with concrete, applicable examples

(The power point’s info starts on pgs 175 of your workbook & I have added material…)

Shannon Leggett 2008

tok syllabus history 4 strands 19 questions
TOK syllabus & History:4 strands, 19 questions

I. Nature of History (5 questions)

II. Methods of Gaining Knowledge (7)

III. History and Knowledge Claims (4)

IV. History and Values (3)

I will examine 12 of them.

Shannon Leggett 2008

1 nature of history i
1. Nature of History (I)

•“What is History? Is it a study of the past or the study of records of the past? “

EH Carr

•EH Carr debate only a start…how do each of us broach this topic?

•My overview of the topic has changed ( package from myself & Timothy Kane from the OCC)…

•General Knowledge quiz!

*Reinterpreting assumptions using data

Shannon Leggett 2008

2 nature of history i
2. Nature of History (I)
  • “What is the significance of Carlyle’s view that ‘The history of the world is but the biography of great men?’”
  • Time magazine’s recent response in their “Person of the Year” issue,9171,1570810,00.html
  • “Great man” Socratic seminars: Napoleon, Alexander II, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler
  • •Why not Hitler as “Man of the 20th Century?”

Shannon Leggett 2008

3 nature of history i
3. Nature of History (I)
  • “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. “ George Orwell

“Corrupting the minds of a generation…” UBC B.Ed 1992

•Exercise: William Jawitz, Understanding Mass Media & Stroodle forums

•The role of a press secretary/govt decisionmaking ie. US--Season 5 episode “Access” (PBS Frontline mock doc) on The West Wing

•Movies & media: The Insider (+interview LB)

Control Room, Good Night & Good Luck, Wag the Dog

IHT 2.4.07 Japan rewrites textbooks on Battle of Okinawa

  • "The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke us and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.” Milan Kundera

Shannon Leggett 2008

4 methods of gaining knowledge ii
4. Methods of Gaining Knowledge (II)

•“Can one talk meaningfully of an historical fact? How far can we speak with certainty about anything in the past?”

•Witness to the event: “The Limitations of Memory” & reenact an event/notes

  • •The Rashomon effect

•Death and casualty statistics ie. WWII Serbia Jasenovac massacre in Croatia (US Holocaust museum vs parallel site in Bosnia Donja Gradina (Republika Srbska/Bosnia)

•History Lessons-How History Textbooks from around the world portray US History by Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward.

Shannon Leggett 2008

5 methods of gaining knowledge ii
5. Methods of Gaining Knowledge (II)

“In what way has technology affected the study of history…?”

•MANY changes ie. Forensics/CSI…

•Bloggers as 21st century pamphleteers:

•CBC doc 9/11 24 hrs media around the world: “As the Towers Fell”

• A History of the Evolution of the Internet:

•Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, MySpace/Facebook revolutions (3:14 min video): Google’s aims (?) Fake prof Wikipedia,9171,1601837,00.html

10 questions for the head of Wikipedia

•”Web needs to find a way to separate fact from rumor” ISP “Stroodle” Moodle account

Shannon Leggett 2008

6 methods of gaining knowledge ii
6. Methods of Gaining Knowledge (II)
  • “Does the historian record history, or create it? Can the historian be free of bias in the selection and interpretation of material?…”
  • Map projections:

Mercator vs Peters

Clips on this from The West Wing:

  • TOK class map examination exercise

Shannon Leggett 2008

7 methods of gaining knowledge ii
7. Methods of Gaining Knowledge (II)
  • “How does the context within which historians live affect historical knowledge?”
  • AJP Taylor. A famous British historian, some of his writings on various topics are Bismarck, The Course of German History, The Origins of WWII,The Warlords. One of his online biographies can be found at:
  • Lenin: Richard Pipes (Harvard) 3 Whys of History vs. Sydney Hook (NYU) “Could the October Revolution have occurred without Lenin?” -One of Pipes’ biographies:
  • -One of Hook’s biographies:
  • •Mao: Jung Chang vs most other Mao Sinologists (above right)

Shannon Leggett 2008

8 history and knowledge claims iii
8. History and Knowledge Claims (III)
  • “What knowledge of history might be gained by focusing attention on each of the following: historian, historical documents & written history, the readership, and the social/cultural/historical context?”
  • Annotated Bibliographies for every assignment
  • Primary & Secondary source analysis document
  • Causality in History discussions! “Inevitability” discussion ie. See French Revolution debate

Shannon Leggett 2008

9 history and values iv
9. History and Values (IV)
  • “About whom is history written? Are the lives of some groups of people more historically significant than the lives of others?…”
  • Brecht’s play Fear & Misery in the 3rd Reich; Gogol’s The Overcoat
  • Zinn’s People’s History of the US + Zinn On War + “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” doc
  • “Herstory”
  • Female historians in every unit (or try) ie. Margaret MacMillan 1919

Shannon Leggett 2008

10 history and values iv
10. History and Values (IV)
  • “Are value judgments a fault in the writing of history? Should value-laden terms, such as hero or freedom, always be avoided or does exclusion of value judgments deprive history of meaning?”
  • “Terrorist” vs. “Militant” vs. “Freedom fighter”
  • WWII D Day: Saving Private Ryan (Stephen Ambrose) vs. Zinn On War
  • Letters from Iwo Jima vs. Flags of Our Fathers

Shannon Leggett 2008

11 history and values iv
11. History and Values (IV)

•“To what extent can distinctions be made between factual report, biased interpretation and calculated distortion? Can history be used for propaganda? If so, how?”

Analyze the differences between the perspectives of the turn of the century editor of the New York Times, Adolph S. Ochs (“The purpose of a newspaper is to objectively report, not inflame”) vs. Joseph Pulitzer (“The purpose of a newspaper is to expose wrongdoing in high places/social reform”) vs. a key publisher of the day, William Randolph Hearst, found in Charles G. Ungerleider and Ernest Krieger’s Television and Society and “Who won the Great Press War of 1897?”

“smart mob” of donors pay trained journalists to report stories outside of the mainstream media

•Soviet Propaganda Poster in-class tour

Shannon Leggett 2008

12 history and knowledge claims iii
12. History and Knowledge Claims (III)

•“Can history provide a guide to understanding contemporary affairs…a guide to the future?”

I try to immerse every unit with these kinds of links…

•“If truth is difficult to prove in history, does it follow that all versions are equally acceptable?”

Discussion…refreshment time? :-)

Shannon Leggett 2008

key additional resources
Key Additional Resources
  • •Alchin, Nick, Theory of Knowledge
  • Arts & Letters Daily
  • •Carne, Mark C. ed., Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies
  • •O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried
  • •Opposing Viewpoints website:
  • •Modern History Sourcebook:
  • •Woolman, Frank, For Teachers: TOK

Shannon Leggett 2008