Research Study Public Document


The reason why I have chosen to write a blog is because it allows me to easily communicate my research study and my findings in a more creative, yet in an academic way. Given that the research study is something of a more formal nature, I thought that writing a blogpost would be the most appropriate for a school work assignment. My intended audience is the class because they are the ones with understanding on the topic, given that they are too doing service learning and taking the course with me.

Research Study:

For this research study I focused on the first prompt which is essentially about how out communities and cultural experiences affect or influence the way we see our surroundings and our attitude towards life. Before deciding on which prompt I would focus my research study on, I had a short conversation with one of the students I was mentoring at the 826 headquarters. In this conversation we talked about how the seventh grader did not enjoy school and “hated” doing homework. I then went on and explained to her that we often dislike school because we are forced to attend. Therefore, this conversation opened my eyes and encouraged me to focus on the first prompt and come up with the research question of “How do different academic systems and communities affect the motivation of students?”

I am a student who has had the opportunity to study in two different academic systems throughout my academic life, that is the Spanish academic system and the international academic system and while studying in such systems, I have been able to see differences between them and how well students performed or how motivated they were to attend school. Therefore, my past experiences gave me the perfect stance.

While doing my research I came across a variety of sources that talked about motivation and the one that stood out to me the most was one of an American teacher who moved to Finland. At first he tried to incorporate the same schedule as he would have in the US, that is long periods of teaching time, followed by a 3o minute recess. However, he noticed that one of his students began to get a rash and kept on complaining saying that he was not used to that schedule. Usually, in Finland students and teachers are in class for 45 minutes and then have recess for 15 minutes, something the American teacher believed was soft on the students. However, he decided to change the schedule back to the Finnish way and noticed that the students were happier and performing better academically. During my time at the site I saw that students had class for two consecutive ours without having a break in between, which caused them to drag their feet, be less motivated and as the girl told me “hate” school.

Overall, this research study allowed me to understand that different communities and societies choose a specific academic schedule or system depending on their values and experiences. In Spain, for example, the material is memorized rather than learnt because there is a lot of social pressure to do well in school and students are usually not encouraged to seek help, while on the other hand, the international system encourages students to apply their understanding in real life situations and understand the material. There are clearly some systems that motivate students more than others and what my research study has taught me is that students need freedom and support in order to be motivated and perform to the best of their abilities academically. This is why I believe that 826’s idea of creating writing rooms and tutoring centers is the way to go, because it gives students a space where they can be free to be creative and express their ideas, while at the same time receiving support from people in their communities.


Three Sources of Knowledge – TOK

There are eight ways of knowledge people use to gain a better understanding of our surroundings. These ways of knowing are: emotion, reason, imagination, intuition, language, faith, sense perception, and lastly, memory. All of the eight ways of knowing are all very important and they all play a role in our lives. Given this, one has to ask “which sources of knowledge are the most important?’ which then arises the knowledge question of “To what extent can a source of knowledge provide us information on whether what is in front of us is true?”. I believe sense perception, language and reason are the most reliable sources of knowledge.

Sense perception is a very reliable source of knowledge because; although our senses can be deceived, either by perspective or something else, which affect our interpretations of our surroundings, they are something which provides us an immediate connection between us and what is out there. Sense perception contributes to the formation of shared knowledge because mostly everyone can see, touch, smell, taste and hear. By combining all of our senses with others, we can gain a greater understanding of the world because we can combine all of our perspectives to come to a more extended solution. A good example of this is the elephant and the blind men. Even though these blind men did not recognise that what they were touching was an elephant, through the combination of all of their opinions gathered through their sense of touch, they were able to gather a better understanding of the thing that was in front of them.

Language is also very prominent as without it no one would be able to gain knowledge on the information and discoveries written or spoken by previous generations. Language provides a “bridge” between the source and the receivers, such as the philosopher and the society. Through the use of language, people have been able to communicate and pass down knowledge so that future, for example, scientists are able to expand and continue investigating further the previous knowledge communicated.

Lastly, reason is one, if not the most important source of knowledge because it can be easily used to evaluate knowledge. Inductive and deductive reasoning can, through the use of information or facts, come to a conclusion on whether the hypothesis or the big idea are true or not. Reason plays a prominent role in shared knowledge as through the use of once again, deductive and inductive reasoning, scientists or researchers can come to a “true” conclusion, which in the end will be beneficial for society.


Planet Fitness, The Fastest-Growing Gym in America Due to its Positioning – Business

Mallory Schlossberg wrote an article for Business Insider called The fastest-growing gym in  America has $10 memberships and gives out free pizza, bagels, and candy, which talks about how Planet Fitness, a gym in America that only charges $10 per membership and offers its customers free junk food.

Planet Fitness is an American franchise in the public sector that consists of fitness centers. Planet Fitness currently has 1000 club locations across the US, with recent expansion into Canada. Due to the fact that it is a public company, it is of its best interest to satisfy the public at its best of ability. To do so, it offers consumers what they need and want, which is a “Judgment Free Zone” where people who are not fit or that do not like working out can do exercise without being judged or feeling intimidated.

Planet Fitness has been and keeps on getting mocked due to its philosophy. The franchise has clearly understood what the wants and needs of a vast majority of Americans are. As the CEO states, “Other brands look at working out as a hobby, and I think personally that working out is a chore, and I believe most of America thinks of it the same way, they know they have to [but] they’d rather go to Chili’s and have a beer and have some chips and salsa, but you know, you have to, you don’t want to, so you kind of wince your way throughout. And I think most of Americans think this way.” In order to make people feel better about themselves and allow customers to have a “judgment free zone”, the American franchise had to work on some of the most important business concepts, which in this case are innovation and strategy.

Planet Fitness had to focus on innovation and strategy because in order to be creative and offer its customers what they really want, it had to be strategic because it had to offer American citizens what other fitness centers do not offer and also be innovative to come up with a product or service that will satisfy its customers.

It first had to analyze the market and discover what the wants and needs are. Planet Fitness first analyzed the market and discovered that people do not like working out and that they do not like to be judged while doing so. Therefore they were innovative and created the “judgement free zone” and rewarded its customers by giving them free pizza and bagels once a month. This way it allows customers to feel more comfortable in the fitness center and build up a better relationship between the employees and customers.

Overall, Planet Fitness has created a space where people that do not consider working out as a hobby can burn off a few calories whenever they feel like doing so through the use of innovation and strategy.

The Gettier Problem and Reliabilism – TOK

Assume Bob is at a tennis match where Federer is playing against Nadal. It is Nadal’s match point and all of the sudden Federer states that the ball went out. Bob is Nadal’s true fan and because he thinks Nadal is the best tennis player, and because he really wants Nadal to win, he thinks Nadal’s hit could have not gone out. Therefore he thinks that the hit was on the line. The umpire knows the ball landed on the line because he has true evidence. The Hawk-eye clearly shows that the ball landed right on the line.

Even though both, Bob and the umpire’s beliefs were correct, the umpire’s belief was justified with actual evidence, whereas Bob’s belief was faulty because he had no real proof for his beliefs and his reasoning was subjective.

This being said, the knowledge question “To what extent does subjectivity influence decision making?” arises. In the example above, Bob’s decision was subjective, as he purely decided based on the fact that he is a Nadal fan and because he believed Nadal to a more skilled player than Federer. In this situation Bob had a lucky guess, the fact that he was right this time does not mean he will be correct in other situations. This is because even though Nadal is a very skilled player, all it takes for the ball to go out is the wrong positioning of the racket.

Overall, Bob’s belief was not a justified true belief, even though he may strongly believe it is true. On the other hand, the umpire’s belief was indeed a justified true belief as he had evidence that fully supported his belief. Answering the knowledge question, subjectivity affects decision making to a great extent as every day humans make decisions that are purely subjective and may not always be the best choice, and perhaps the correct decision would be one made through an objective point of view.

Two Types of Personal Knowledge – TOK

When I was only four years old my parents signed me up for tennis classes during the weekends. This is when I developed my practical knowledge in the specific area of tennis. I learnt how to hold a racket, swing my arms, the moves required to perform a backhand and a forehand, the correct way to place my feet on the ground for each hit. As the years passed by I began to be more confident playing tennis, I started playing during week days after school, my forehand began to gain strength, power, the balls wouldn’t go outside the court as I hit them. I began to gain control over my shots, I slowly moved up from class to class until I reached the point where I was 11 years old, played 9hours a week of tennis and I could fully control all my hits, volleys, backhands, forehands, my serves. These few years of my life allowed me to learn tennis and enabled me to play with accuracy.

As I began to play matches and compete against other tennis clubs, I continued to extent my practical knowledge. I recall the day when I first sliced my shot. It was a tough match, the girl I was playing against was clearly more experienced than me, she made me run from side to side, front to back, there was one shot that I barely reached, accomplishing my first sliced shot ever. However, during the matches is when I started to develop a different type of knowledge called knowledge by acquaintance. It is when I began to learn to be strategic, I learnt to focus on the weaknesses of my opponent and use them for my benefit by, for example, if her weakness is the volley and she is a slow runner, I just have to hit the ball close to the net and then I would have a guaranteed point.

The knowledge of experience, or by acquaintance I have developed by doing tennis is something I can use in other areas. I have learnt strategy, and I, a person who wants to be a business woman, strategy is key to succeed. Whether I need to come up with a strategy to enter a new market as a company and many different other aspects in life.

Truth, Modernism, and Postmodernism – TOK

To what extent do you “care whether your beliefs are true”

-Bob Korn

Through out my whole life I have been told what is right, what is wrong; some people have tried to guide me into believing something I do not believe in. If I were to tell my grandparents that I do not fully believe in God, they would tell me that I am wrong, that I went to a Catholic school until I was 11 years old, therefore it is imposible for me not to believe in God. Imagining this scenario has allowed me to come to the conclusion that no belief is true, as Bill Kynes said in the video, “there is no unified perspective on truth”. The meaning behind this quote is, everyone has different believes and the concept or idea I may think to be true could mean the opposite to others.

A personal example is, I believe Spain is better than other countries in many aspects. However, even though this statement feels very true to me, the fact that it is a subjective ideology based on the emotional connection I have with my country, does not make it an universal agreement. In fact, a great percentage of the world’s population believes their own country is better than others; this is due to the fact that we are all proud of where we belong. Merkel, the German presidents said to believe Germans are the ‘superior’ race, there were Crusades because people believed their own religion was true and wanted to induce others to believe the same. We all have different beliefs, and it makes each one of them true, as long as they are morally and ethically correct.

Everyone is born in different countries, grow up in different cities, surrounded by different people, learning different things. We are all perfectly capable of discarding information we believe to be false and accepting what feels to be true to us. We all have different morals, perspectives, paradigms and ideologies. Therefore I care whether my beliefs are true to a lesser extent because it does not matter if what I believe in is not true to others, it is true to me.

Perspectives, Biases & Paradigms – TOK

“We see the world not, as it is but as we are”

– Talmud.

I agree to this statement by the Talmud to a great extent as it applies to many different situations in life. Every individual has different unique experiences, therefore every individual’s knowledge and the way they see the world is determined by one’s past experiences. As Stephen Covey stated in his talk, everyone’s experiences and culture and being projected to the outside, therefore having an impact on each individuals beliefs and opinions. Therefore I agree with the statement by the Talmud, as everyone’s paradigms are influenced by the different aspects of their past experiences.

We do, however keep in mind everyone’s paradigms because every individual has a different background where they have experienced completely different things, therefore everyone has different paradigms. People can get to be very self-centred and do not take other’s paradigms in consideration. A very good example of this situation was conveyed by Covey in his talk about his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. In his example, Covey was sitting in a train when a father walked in with his kids. The kids were running around being really loud and disturbing everyone around them. Covey, who was annoyed at the children, asked the father if he could tell them to stop as they were disturbing everyone. The father then explained that his wife had died an hour before and he did not know how to manage the situation and neither did the kids. Covey’s paradigm then changed completely and started being more empathetic towards the father. It is interesting to see how someone’s paradigm can change so fast, if Covey would have been aware of the tragic situation the man was in, then his paradigm would have been completely different and he would have acted in a more appropriate way towards the situation. Another example, also discussed by Covey in the same talk where he was giving a talk and there were two people constantly talking throughout the whole talk and his mother was sitting two rows behind them. The mother was outraged, because they were not paying attention to her son. After the talk she commented what had happened and she found that the woman was Korean and the person she was talking to was her translator. Once again if Covey’s mother would have known about all the details, her paradigm would have been completely different.

There are many situations in life where people have paradigms and they get in massive arguments due to this. This can be seen everyday on Facebook where people start fights in comments, each explaining their paradigms. Each person has some sort of valid argument in their comments and all are right in their own way because their paradigms are being influenced by their past experiences. This can also be seen in sports. For example, soccer. Soccer fans have paradigms depending on the team they support and they have strong opinions and they get in fights to defend their own paradigm.

Overall, I believe that the statement by the Talmud, “We see the world, not as it is but as we are”, portrays society. Each individual has different and unique experiences, beliefs and opinions, therefore their decisions and actions are influenced by the different aspects in their lives.

Media Fair

Last week, on June 4th, the Grade 10s had a Media Fair where each student presented a poster on the topic they had chosen. This topic had to be somewhat controversial, on the posters each student presented five different types of media where they looked at the different aspects of the media for their perspective topics.

My topic was Game of Thrones and how the TV show promoted it through the use of official trailers, and by collaborating in a Red Nose Day video where it promoted both, the TV show and the charity. I also looked at a fan site where GoT fans post news about the show and related to it. On the other hand, there were two types of media I looked at where the Mary Sue Magazine wrote an article stating they would not promote the show due to a rape scene believing it was promoting sexual violence towards women. Another feminist wrote a twitter post saying she was done with Game of Thrones for the same reasons.


In the Media Fair, the first person I went to was Adam. His topic was Versace and his media was a magazine, music video, instagram pictures, news article and a TV advert. Adam’s topic was really interesting because he found out that Versace is being promoted without the company asking famous people to be the face of the brand, instead famous singers like Rita Ora and Rihanna automatically promote the brand by posting pictures of them wearing Versace clothes and tagging Versace by using the hashtag sign (#Versace). We also discussed about how it was interesting that Versace and H&M promoted their brands together in a TV advert. He said it was a really smart way to get people to buy clothes from the brand because by combining the advert with another famous brand they are widening the audience, therefore attracting more people to buy from the brand. There was however an important downside to the brand which is that the New York Times found out that there is no evidence Versace is paying taxes, this however cannot be proved. The New York Times article created a scandal, giving Versace a bad public image.


The second person I went to was Hermanth. His topic really grabbed my attention, mainly because it was about the tennis brand, Wilson. His media was a poster, a commercial, review column page, news article and a twitter post. Hemanth and I had a long conversation about how the brand Wilson promoted its new tennis racket. They used professional players like Nishikori for commercials. He had his laptop open showing the commercial in which it depicted Nishikori hitting balls and a narrator saying the racket increases accuracy and speed. They did not only use Nishikori, but they also used Federer, the great player by using the slogan “Get betterer like Federer”. Even though they used smart ways to promote the famous tennis racket, Hemanth and I discussed how they were using the success of the player by saying it was the racket. Like Hemanth said “he doesn’t have talent but the racket does”.


The last person I went to talk to was Kate who focused on the movie “The Interview”. This is a very controversial topic because of its plot where two North American show creators try to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Sony, who was the publisher for the movie was forced to cancel the release of the movie due to North Korea hacking into the company’s software. Sony ended up releasing the movie for a short period in Christmas diving the people who support the movie and those who do not. Kate looked at the official movie trailer, the official poster, an opinion column, a magazine article and a BBC news report. The official trailer and poster make the movie worth watching as it is a comedy movie, she also said the BBC news report was a positive media because it talks about how the movie is mocking North Korea in a funny way. Kate and I talked about how I thought the movie did nothing wrong as they were only using Kim Jong-Un for comedic purposes and to create a funny and entertaining movie to watch. The magazine article however talked about what if North Korea decided to use President Obama for a comedy movie where North Korean citizens tried to assassinate him?. Overall this topic is very controversial.


As seen above, the Media Fair was filled with a variety of interesting controversial topics and the way each student portrayed their interests and the media they had found was very creative. The media fair was very exciting for me as I had the opportunity to get to know my peers better by listening to their interests and points of view.