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My name is Aaron Au and I’m a student at Canadian International School of Hong Kong. This blog contains everything that I’ve done both inside and outside of school that I believe is important to share and impactful towards the community. Feel free to take a look. Thanks!

Areas of Knowledge: Methodology

In what ways does this quote help us understand the methodology in Natural Science?

“At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.” – Carl Sagan

I think this means that in Natural Science, a balance between faith and uncertainty is needed in order to thoroughly confirm and make sense of scientific statements. This means that though it isn’t wrong to try and prove something right, at the same time being skeptical of these ideas is also essential to truly understand the nature of science.

What is Karl Popper’s theory of Falsification?

Falsification is when scientific statements have the possibility of being proven false. An example of one is ‘All swans are white’. Until, another swan of color is seen it can be held as true, but once it is claimed to be false, it cannot. Essentially, Falsification is used to help understand that not all scientific information is true and that there is always (to some extent) a level of unreliability.

How is it different from the way most people view Natural Science?

Natural Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics) are all seen as subjects in which all data related is 100% true. This is often the case because the data is supported by evidence through trials and data collection. As a result, we don’t really question whether the data could be wrong but instead that it’s right. Karl Popper however, believed that nothing is never necessarily 100% right and that everything must have some uncertainty to it.

My Definition of Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences are a group of sciences which are used to better understand how we perceive and comprehend the various aspects of the world around us. However, Natural Sciences should make use of both reasoning and imagination to further make statements or laws about the natural world. The reasoning is needed to create factual and concrete based evidence to support these claims. Nonetheless, imagination is just as important as it allows us to question what we know and as a result uses our curiosity as motivation to further establish these principles.

 

Intuition

What is intuition?

Intuition is a decision made based on self-trust. To have intuition is to agree with your internal feeling and continue with that choice made. It may or may not require some thought, but in the end, all comes down to personal decision.

What is System 1 and System 2 thinking?

System 1 thinking is a fast, unreliable, and instinctive based way of thinking that is usually used during everyday situations. System 2 thinking, is however generally much slower, requires more effort, and used when encountered upon uncommon situations.

How could you incorporate System 2 thinking into TOK?

In TOK, System 2 thinking is required to think out of the box and focus on the larger concepts and ideas revolving the topic. It helps us better understand the context of the situation which is useful in questioning our knowledge.

Do you trust your own intuitions? Why or why not? If your answer is “It depends”, then what does it depend on?

Based on personal experience, I have made a lot of mistakes by trusting my intuition. In that after making the choice, I will quickly regret it. Therefore as a result, I have adapted and learnt not to trust my intuition.

Is intuition a convincing justification for shared knowledge?

Intuition is incredibly subjective and relies completely on one’s self-knowledge.

Language

What are the characteristics that you feel best describes language?

I believe that there are two characteristics which best define language, with them being that ‘it is a system of sounds and gestures’ and ‘it can be changed, developed, or expanded throughout time to adapt to situations’. I believe that these are the best characteristics because it is essentially a standard guideline that all languages must follow. For all language must be communicated in some way (physical or verbal) and that they can be changed (take an example: slurs and slang).

What might be some of the weaknesses of language?

A language can only be understood amongst those who actually use and understand it. Therefore, it can only be interpreted and communicated within a certain extent. In addition, language can have many synonyms to a singular word, which as a result can create confusion in what is actually being conveyed.

Do you think that language changes the way you think and therefore perceive the world? Why and what are the implications of this idea?

I believe that between all language, there is no such thing as a direct translation or connotation between each word. Because of this and one’s cultural background, it could affect what they view as ‘unethical’ versus someone from somewhere else. A common example of this is the difference between an Eastern and Western perspective.

Reason

1. In your own words explain the difference between deductive and inductive logic.

Inductive logic is reasoning that is based on personal knowledge, through previous experiences that help to create a prediction to what will happen in the future (if it were to happen again). Deductive logic however, is much more ‘concrete’ as it utilizes a general rule during most situations. Though there can still be uncertainty, unlike inductive logic it is usually more reliable and certain.

2. What are the problems with each of these kinds of logic and what we can do to overcome some of these problems?

As stated previously inductive logic comes from personal experiences/observations such as placing your hand over a flame (pain tells you that it hurts- as a result, you don’t do it again). Though Deductive logic may be more trustworthy, there are still uncertainties to it and could contain errors (is 1+1 really equals to 2?).

3. Rabindranath Tagore said that’ A mind all logic is like a knife all blade- it cuts the hand that uses it’, what do you think he meant by this?

I think this means that a mindset that is entirely based on logic isn’t always to best way to take on situations. Instead, it may actually be even better to have an equal balance between logic, intuition, and possibly emotions when making decisions.

Sense Perception

Do you agree more strongly with perceptual realism or perceptual relativism?

Having a perceptual realism mindset suggests that you can view multiple perspectives even if it comes from the same object. As a result, it means that not a single individual will be able to view the world as a whole but instead through their personal mind. Where as a perceptual relativism mindset is the idea that seeing is believing (in that perceptual/visual sense is a reliable way of knowing the world around us). What does

I personally believe that I have a balance of both. If I were under a circumstance in which I needed to make a quick decision, I would use perceptual relativism as it provides myself with an adequate understanding of knowledge. If however, I was given the opportunity to further analysis and discuss the topic, it would change to a perceptual realism mindset as it enables myself to figure out the in-depth meaning behind.

Personal vs Shared Knowledge

Explain the Map Metaphor

Information is broken down into smaller chunks so we can better understand them before looking at the larger picture. For example, MTR maps only include the stations and not the geography or landmarks because that’s the only information that passengers require to use the service.

What is the difference between Personal Knowledge and Shared Knowledge?

Shared Knowledge is something that is usually universally and globally agreed upon. Unlike Personal Knowledge in which is intimate to themselves and objective to a certain extent.

If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it. Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why?

Disagree. Just because someone cannot explain a concept, it does not necessarily mean that they do not understand or know it.

Service as Action Reflection

This year, I was able to create an impact on society by providing action to the community through various events. Below, are two events which capture some of the things I’ve done.

#1: Visiting and helping a local school in Northern IndiaIMG_2994

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Kids4Kids Session at Tung Wah Lei Tung Integrated Services Center

1. How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth?

After participating in a variety of service activities over the course of the year, I was better able to pinpoint what type of service I enjoyed to do and whether I considered it to be a strength. An activity which I found to be my greatest strength was by helping those in need. This was evident a few times during the year, which included my involvement with Kids4Kids (where I went to a school and taught children to learn and read). Since I found it to be such a rewarding experience, I’ve decided to continue on the sessions for the years 11 and 12.

2. How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?

This year, service has become a completely new experience for me. This began with a beach cleanup service which I believed helped develop my enjoyment towards service activities as well as collaboration skills by working in a team. In addition, my time-management skills also got better as I had to dedicate and organize my time during after school hours in order to fit in sessions for service. However, I believe that the key takeaway skill would’ve been open mindedness. As it allowed me to view the world in another perspective and truly understand the importance of helping those in need.

3. How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?

During the Kids4Kids Sessions, each volunteer is given the opportunity to handle and teach the content needed for the child. This was important because, during the time frame of a couple of hours, I needed to plan and lead the lesson for the child. In addition, since their level of English was different to mine’s, it was also important to evaluate and discuss how I could match their level of understanding in a friendly way.

4. How did you persevere in action?

To begin with, all the service activities that I took part in required perseverance. It was important that I was committed to visiting each service activity at least monthly and did it to my best of my abilities. This was even more evident during my service trip to India because since the environment itself was so different to Hong Kong, it was incredibly difficult to adapt. However, through perseverance and resilience, I was able to overcome this and do my best.

5. How did you work collaboratively with others?

During my service trip to India, we visited a local school. There, our team was split into smaller groups, with each including 4 people. From there, we were given the time to work with another group of students from the school ranging from 10-12 students. This proved to be a difficult task in the beginning because we were outnumbered and had another factor to get through, which was the language barrier. However, by collaborating with the team, we learned that staying with the basics by using simple sentences and gestures made the task much easier to communicate and work with.

6. How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?

Over the course of my MYP years, I have completed many service activities and trips to develop my international mindedness and intercultural understanding. This has ranged from a variety of activities (both global and local) that I’ve participated in, including trips to multiple third world countries such as Sabah, India, and Inner Mongolia. Through this experience, I was able to open up and understand the language and cultures that connected to help create the global community. I found this to be important because it opened myself up to new ideas which I had never known before.

7. How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?

To me, I find enjoyment in giving back what I learn to the community. Whether this means through reading and educating children to physical labor and building houses, all types of service prove to have a positive impact in some way. Because of this reason, I believe that the ethical implications of my actions in service have taught me to respect and understand the importance of helping both the local and global community.

Healthy Habits Final Reflection

Were you able to continue with your selected habits for the entire semester?

Overall, I believe that my dedication towards weekly healthy habits was a little inconsistent. For example, on some weeks I would work extra hard and surpass the original expectations whereas for other weeks I would be slacking a little. In addition, there were some days where I decided not to accomplish the goal (such as sleeping earlier) due to a number of assessments assigned.

Was this experience useful in promoting health and wellness into your life.

Personally, I think that the idea of the constant reminder of health and wellness was useful in promoting a positive attitude/mindset in terms of the goals I wrote out. However, the technology bit (Instagram) was a bit of a fuss.

Will you try to continue to implement some of the habits into your daily lives?

Yes, I believe that receiving enough sleep would be the most useful to my everyday life and allowing myself to stay more awake during class. Furthermore, weekly exercises would be great as I would have a chance to stand up more often and move.

If you were to do this again, what would you change? 

No use of Instagram. I don’t see the point of it and most of the time, I forgot to post nearly all my photos.