TOK Presentation Reflection

Amongst our presentation for TOK, my partner Sarah and I, have done thorough preparation and researching for our Oral. First of all, we did not really know what to focus our topic on. As I was just learning about ‘media’ and their manipulations in my English L+L class, I had made use of the knowledge I learnt from the topic; how media may intentionally change our perception. Therefore, I suggested what if we focus on how media may manipulate our minds, which I thought was a success because we were able to structure our debate to our knowledge question (open question); To what extent can advertisements manipulate our perception?. It was really good that we both lived very close to school, because on weekends we were able to meet up and share our ideas, practice, and we also stayed after school working on our presentation (even if we got kicked out of the library and had to work in the foyer), which really helped us prepare for our presentation skills; our time usage, the flow of the presentation (smooth, not ‘uhm….’) and this really affected our presentation in a good way in order to engage the audience. Also, the merit of our topic is that it is something we encounter on a daily basis, we can see advertisements every where, and this made it easier for us to involve real-life situation and make statements from our personal experiences to answer the question, such as, our situation with the Starbucks. It was a coincidence, non-intended, about our experience of when we talked real-life situation using Starbucks as an example. We decided to work on our presentation at Starbucks on our weekends, since we figured it was easier to just meet than talking on Facebook. So we went in, and then I saw the product on the poster, and Sarah recommended that it was tasty, so I bought it, and then I realized how this may apply to our knowledge question. Also, how we came to choose the Subway Super Bowl commercial was also a great coincidence, I had been thinking how my friend was a great fan of Super Bowl, and how he would get really excited and passionate over the season. Therefore, I was searching through Super Bowl commercials amongst YouTube, and I came to find a Subway Commercial, which was a perfect fit for us because Subway was right down in Motomachi, so it was easy for us to film. The fact that I always use Subway, and how I knew it wasn’t as healthy as it actually is portrayed as, helped me come to recognize a knowledge question on how advertisements may portray a certain image to make products and services look better than it actually is. So considering all of this, I thought that although we came up with our knowledge question after a while of time, it was good because our research and the creation of our presentation was very easy because we knew what we had to talk about to answer the question, from our very own life experiences. I think that however, the first video where I go buy a sandwich, was pretty long as suggested by Ms.Wilson, and the classmates, and I could have suggested for a cut in the editing. The music we put for the video was my favorite song, and I thought it was good because it fit the tempo of the visual, which did engage the audience, which we could say that it was one of our ways to persuade the audience in similarity to what advertisers do in reality. However, I think as stated in the reflection rubric, we could have discussed more about how the sports athletes in the Ad may have influenced the audience, which I did include in my research but was cut down on the presentation. We could have also included how the use of the character ‘Jared’, which the Subway commercial has been using him for about 15 years, may have influenced the audience as well (For example, every year the audience watch Super Bowl, they see Jared every time. This can create familiarness, and become more close in terms of distance with the audience and engage). Overall, I think to the point that we were organized and we had planned due dates for every part of the project let us stay on track however, we could have associated more relevance in between the Subway commercial analyzed in the beginning, cut down the Superbowl Statistics video (maybe just mention the scale of the event) and associated more amongst the real techniques used in the commercial. The perspectives amongst answering this question however, was good I thought, as we achieved on talking amongst two views of the topic; the advertisers’ view, and the audience, the consumer population’s view. We were able to mention views in a style of ‘debate’, which means, we had two slides each for presenting ‘not our responsibility’, and ‘our responsibility’. Therefore, we were able to discuss, so we can smoothly lead into our conclusions, where we answer our knowledge question. As mentioned in our feedback rubric, we should have also included an image of the product rather than our stairway photo, had I thought it was good to include as much real-life experience/situation so we can engage the audience by bringing familiarness, and also smoothly introduce the audience to our topic through the topic we had learnt, ‘forced perspective’ however, it may have been irrelevant, and may have been better to put a photo of the product.

The presentation:

Source Article: McKenzie, Jethro Mullen. David, David McKenzie, and Steven Jiang Reported from Beijing. “5 Dead after Jeep Crashes and Catches Fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2013. <>.

Summary: This article reports the fatal incident of the crash of a jeep into the guardrail of Jinshui bridge, and put flame on one of China’s most politically sensitive landmark, the ‘Tianamen Square’. It states that 38 people were injured in total, with 5 people including 2 passengers, a driver, and 2 tourists were killed in this crash. This incident was not only reported by CNN because of the large numbers of fatalities and injuries it has caused however, it is also reported due to a greater concern. The Tiananmen Square has a great history in political wise, the entrance part of this square, the Tiananmen Rostrum stands as an entrance to Mao Zedong, a city closed from Beijing. The square itself has also faced political issues, such as in 1989, where the government and civilians faced against pro-democracy demonstrations, in which case the square had set on fire. From the following history the Tiananmen had faced, it is reported in great consideration due to the political tension built by the fire from the jeep.

Knowledge Claims:

In such article, following knowledge claims have been made by the authors denoting all this information.

“Tiananmen Square is China’s most politically sensitive landmark as a result of the events of June 4, 1989, when government forces opened fire on civilians to quash pro-democracy demonstrations.”

The authors state to know that the Square is China’s most politically sensitive however, the statement made here is very vague and vigorous because there is no way for one to tell/no index that measures how politically sensitive a building is. However, the statement made afterwards in the sentence, ‘June 4, 1989…’ provides evidence and gives a backup to the statement made previously.

“Authorities moved quickly to tackle the blaze and clear up the scene.”

Here, the author states that the authorities moved quickly however, this, we can not also tell how quick the authorities moved, and therefore this is also vague. The response of the authorities to this crash might have been slow and inefficient however, this sentence claims to know, and persuades the reader that they (the authorities) had done its best.

“The square is often closed or put under heightened security before and during major events.”

Here, the author claims to know that the square is at all times, closed due to security.

Knowledge Questions: Following knowledge questions can be come up from the concern raised by the incident of the crash.

Central Knowledge Question: To what extent should the government and the civilians be concerned about the tension brought up by the Tiananmen caught on flame?

Associated Knowledge Question: How effective were the authorities when involved in solving for the crash that blocked off the busy area?

Associated Knowledge Question: In what situation will conflict may be brought up between the government and the civilians?

Evaluation and Identification of the News Source:

The origin of this text is the authors of the CNN news publishing company, and the purpose of this article was to inform the audience especially those who are going to travel to China, are already their tourists, to keep them conscious of the political situations Beijing is facing, for their own securities. It may also be to inform those who study politics, and keep watching over China’s political situation at the moment, to be able to analyse and or predict of events that may happen/occur in the future times. I believe that this article is not biased because the three authors only report of the situation of the crash, and the fatalities/aftermass the incident has caused, with providing numerical data such being, ’38 injured’, and or ‘5 killed’. However, some may argue over this article that it may be biased in when claiming knowledge claims at stated previously in the above paragraphs such as, ‘



TOK Ethics

Do any of the views described fit with Aristotle’s view of ethics?

Aristotle’s view on ethics was that happiness is the aim of all actions. I think that Alfred North Whitehead’s opinion on ethics was very similar to Aristotle’s.

What is morality in any given time or place? It is
what the majority then and there happen to like
— and immorality is what they dislike.

Whitehead perceives ethics as a moral judgement made by the people depending on, how happy the person will get after making that choice.

How would these different views of ethics affect someone’s behaviour?

There were several statements made on ‘what is ethics’, and some of them stated that it is a code of values, which help guide our choices and actions. Others also stated that ‘it is a device for leading the mankind’, or ‘help shape a character and ethical convictions of a culture’. Likewise, the majority of the statements written in Nicolas Alchin’s book define ethics as an option/device/a way that helps humans guide their way throughout their development by giving guidance for making the right decisions-what is right and what is wrong (justice). However, the views stated here are all different and these views can affect one’s behaviour. For example, ‘A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.’ by Manley Hall can cause a person to think such like, ‘without living in accordance to ethics, I will be viewed by the society as a beast loosened up, which is not a good thing, so I will desire to live in accordance to ethics as much as I can’. or on the contrast, it can make a person think that living without accordance to ethics will mean a wild beast, which may give a cool impression on them, because some people may perceive as living against the rules are the society will make them special and this can shape how a person will act.

Considering the different views on what is meant by ethics, make a list of all the possible Areas of Knowledge and Areas of Life where ethical issues could occur.

How broad is this Area of Knowledge?

-History: A history textbook noting different occurrences within the world history may be biased depending on the country it was published in, and this may cause ethical problems.

-Literature: Some literature books may include racist or stereotypical issues as a part of their artwork.

TOK Knowledge Issue Questions

Response to:

What observations and experiments done on quantum mechanics so far, have made the theory that the empty space itself form the fabric of the cosmos, more convincing?

Response to:

To what extent will the attempt in making a computer act more ‘human’ than a person, benefit our lives, and to what extent will it change the way we live?