TOK Class 1: Knowledge and Explaining

The question that we have been provided for this first Theory of Knowledge class is: With reference to the class activity today about knowing and explaining, in what ways might it be reasonable to suggest that people who disagree can both be right?

In class today we looked at an activity which was based around the quote “If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it” and we had to think about this quote using the different areas of knowledge such as maths and history. These two areas of knowledge are what my partner and I looked at in relation to the quote we were given to comment on. I honestly found this activity very difficult because I felt that each area of knowledge was too broad to make a clear response to this quote. Each area of knowledge combines so many different ideologies as well as was of learning and knowing that in some cases, people may not be able to explain the roots of a piece of information or a technique, but will still understand and know this information or be able to apply that certain technique. We had a long discussion in class talking about this quote and our interpretations, and also different ways that one can “know”. An idea came up in this discussion that was can we really know something, or is it our perception of events or information that makes up what we believe that we know. In terms of the question we have been given for this reflection, I think that the exercise shows that it might be reasonable to suggest that people who disagree can both be right as what they are thinking could be right to them or a certain group of people, who perceive this idea as being what they know and therefore right to them, where as others would disagree for the same reason. I think that what you “know” is definitely based on your experiences and background, a reason why some may suggest that people who disagree could both be right, as it could depend on who’s perspective you look at the situation from.


MYP Service as Action


Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to be involved in 2 different service projects. The first service project that I took part in was in Sulawesi in Indonesia. The trip I was on lasted 2 weeks, and we were in the jungle one week and diving for the other reef while helping scientists from an

The first service project that I took part in was in Sulawesi in Indonesia. The trip I was on lasted 2 weeks, and we were in the jungle one week and diving for the other reef while helping scientists from an organisation help to conduct research that will strive to help the Indonesian government to start protecting certain parts of Sulawesi benefiting both the environment and the people. While in the jungle we were out deep in the jungle for most of the time assisting the scientists in their research, but also helped to teach little locals kids English in one of the nearby villages. While diving on the reefs the research being conducted was to measure the impact of fishing and to try and give reasons for tighter fishing regulations to try to preserve the populations of fish in the area which will again benefit both the ecosystem and the local people.

The second opportunity to engage in service as action that I had in this year was over CAS week in Fiji. For two days we were at a local school close to the city of Nadi helping out to build walkways between buildings to help keep the children dry during the torrential rains that often come in that part of Fiji. We worked alongside members of the local community while building these covered walkways and this was a very rewarding and also enjoyable experience!

Seven Learning Outcomes:

  1. Throughout these opportunities to participate in service projects, I became aware of my own strengths and areas of growth through the teamwork and communication required to complete these activities and also the hard work required to complete service projects in a way that will be positively impactful for the community you are trying to help.
  2. Both service projects were physically and mentally demanding and I was able to enhance my collaboration and communication skills as both were group activities that required good teamwork in order to be completed successfully.
  3. The activity that I did with the school children in Indonesia was completely planned out by myself and others on my trip, and this would be evidence of how I planned a student initiated activity.
  4. I persevered in action by putting myself in situations where I did not have proper sanitation or comfortable living space, like in the jungle in Indonesia, in order to complete the project I was participating in.
  5. As previously mentioned, both of these projects were group projects and therefore I had to constantly be working collaboratively with other to complete them.
  6. I developed international mindedness through my interactions with local people both in Fiji as well as Indonesia, and also when working with a school from Taiwan on the project in Indonesia.
  7. We were given permission and even helped by the locals in all the tasks we were completing, and all were done for free as well in order to assist the local communities where we were working.


Inspired Composition Crit C and D Reflection


A photo taken by myself of South Cinque island in the Andaman Islands which is the inspiration for my piece.

The final composition that we have to complete this year is a more traditional composition than the previous one we had to complete. The compositions must be based off an image or video of our choosing and must include a variety of nonchord tones and other elements of composition writing that we have been studying in music class this year. The photo that I chose for this composition was one that I took while on holiday on a tropical island in the Indian ocean, and therefore I wanted the theme of my composition to be a relaxed theme with a tropical feel. This photo is shown above this paragraph. To represent this theme in my music, I chose three instruments which I thought would perfectly portray the tropical feel I was trying to create. These instruments are the marimba, trumpet, and piano. My piece is in a 24 bar ternary for, meaning that the layout of sections is A-B-A, each section being 8 bars long.

I had a lot of trouble starting out my composition as I was really unsure of what kind of melody I would try to pursue in this piece. I ended up going with a quite a flowing melody with not too many variations in rhythm, although there are some more complex rhythms in certain parts of the piece. The tempo of my piece is quite fast at 130 beats per minute in four/four time. I selected this tempo as pieces of this genre are often at quite a fast tempo, and I wanted my piece to fit in with other pieces of this genre. The piece is in the key of C major, which makes the transposition between different instruments much easier. I decide to have the music in a major key because I am trying to create quite a jovial mood in my song, and therefore a major key would definitely fit this mood. In my piece, the two a sections are similar as they share the same base chords and also both include the main melody being played by the marimba, and a trumpet and piano accompaniment. There is not much of a variation in the dynamics of the piece, however, the marimba part is by far the loudest as the goal of my piece is to be focused on the marimba part with the other parts just as background parts. This section does include some variation of rhythms as well as articulation, with the majority of the variations creating more disconnected sounds to add some flavor to a piece which is mostly quite flowing. Section B uses a different progression of chords from section A, and also only features marimba and piano. The dynamics of the instruments in this section are slightly different, with the piano part being a bit louder and the marimba part becoming softer in order to balance out the dynamics of the two instruments. The melody played in this section is also quite different from that of section A, as the more common rhythms in this section are different to the more common rhythms in section A. Each section in this song ends with a plagal or perfect cadence, making it obvious where the transitions between different sections are, and both contain a number of different non-chord tones, creating more diversity in the notation of the piece.

As mentioned at the start of the previous paragraph, I really struggled as I usually do to start the piece and actually restarted it complete after having about half of it done around 3 or 4 times, as I was unhappy with the way that the melody was progressing and with the balance of the different instrument parts. But after listening to some pieces of a genre similar to mine, I was able to get some ideas for some of the rhythms and notes that would make a melody that was appropriate for the theme and also was easy for other instruments to accompany. We were given around 6 class periods to work on the piece, and I would say that for the first 2 or 3 I really struggled to get a promising start on my composition because I was being very indecisive in determining what I wanted the piece to sound like. However, in the last few classes, I was able to focus and really start to get a decent composition together.

In my opinion, the strengths of my piece are that it contains a variety of interesting diverse rhythms over all the different instrument parts of the song, has an appropriate selection of instruments for the image that the music was created to accompany and that the melody flows very well over all the sections of the piece. While creating this piece I asked not only some of my peers who also take music for feedback but also my parents as well as my saxophone teacher who all gave their own thoughts on the piece. Their views on the strengths of the piece were very similar to mine, and I think that this definitely helps to confirm that my piece is definitely strong in the areas that I thought after completing it. Based on the feedback I received as well as my own personal views, some things that I need to work on or disadvantages to my pieces are that there is not a lot of dynamic variation over the entire song and also that there is not much of a variety of non-chord tones. In my piece, the dynamics of each instrument stay quite static throughout the piece, and I as well as those who I got feedback from all feel that adding more variation in the dynamics would definitely make the piece more interesting and add more “color” to the piece. Although my piece does include quite a few non-chord tones, there could definitely be more of a variation in the non-chord tones used in order to change up some of the sections of the melody and again make the piece more interesting.

Design Intersections Final Reflection

Our task for this design unit was to in groups create a documentary about a historical event that connected three of our group members family members. In our case, one of each of our group members family members had experienced the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong and therefore we chose this topic as the one that we would focus on in our documentary.

I personally believe that our film definitely has raised our target audiences knowledge and understanding of the outbreak of the SARS virus in Hong Kong, and also of how this outbreak affected/influenced the central characters in our documentary. Our survey results definitely show that the strongest part of the film was its ability to inform people about this disease. We included a lot of factual information about all aspects of SARS in our introduction as well as conclusion in the documentary, and talked about some of the biology about the disease as well as how many people were infected both in Hong Kong and worldwide. This information was key in developing the audiences understanding of this historical event as it gave a good intro and also summary of what was said in the interview section of the documentary. We asked questions in our interviews that would trigger responses from our interviewees that would include not only personal experiences and views, but also factual information about the industries that they were working in and how SARS affected these industries. Our goal through a combination of information from the interviews as well as voice overs and filming done by members of our group was to cover all the information that we could find on the disease and to present this information to our target audience.
Our survey results generally showed that our voice overs in the intro and outro of the video really helped to give the viewers of the documentary a good understanding of the basics of SARS. We received a lot of positive feedback about the content of our film, but I think that to improve the effect on the audience we could have spent more time during the filming and editing stage as a group looking over what we had done and making sure that the film we were using was well related to the scenes that we put them in, and also to make sure that the film we had was good quality when we moved it over from the device that we filmed it on to the computer. A better edited and filmed documentary matched with a good about of relevant and interesting information would ultimately be able to greatly raise the audiences understanding of the historical event portrayed in the film.

SARS Outbreak in Hong Kong from Cameron Seymour on Vimeo.

March Music Reflection

I believe that so far through my commitments to band, what we have played and learnt in music class and also in my preperation for my grade 7 practical saxophone exam I have progressed greatly in my abilities to not only sight read but also play more difficult pieces then I could at the start of the year. In terms of the practical work we do in class, I think that the scales excersies that we do almost every class have helped me to improve a lot more then most of the pieces we have been playing as they not only help me to get to know the scale better, but also the rhythms in these excersises are often quite complex with fast tempos, and the addition of the accidentals from the scales we are playing have really helped to improve my skills overall. Currently, what I am doing to improve my overall skill level is practicing my grade 7 exam pieces every day and also doing complex scale and arpeggio patterns. The grade 7 exam pieces are very complex and difficult to play, and practicing daily has really helped to improve my note accuracy and also has helped me to be able to play much more comple rhythms while staying in time with the music. I have been practicing every day recently because for band we have a few very important concerts coming up very soon and I have also been practicing a lot for my grade 7 exam as mentioned previously. I think that some of the best aspects of my playing ability are my tone quality, articulation and also note accuracy. I have always been quite strong in these sections of playing the saxophone and I will keep improving these aspects of playing as well as others as I practice for band and also for my outside of school exam. I think that the aspect of my playing that is the worst is my rhythm accuracy, as I often have trouble counting difficult rhythms and little rests in between quick sections of the music. Also I sometimes have trouble judging the speed of quicker ryhthms especially when I am sightreading. Overall, I think what I can do to improve as a musician is definitely work on my sightreading skils as this is definitely my biggest weakness and has been for a very long time. I really have trouble often recognising what the melody of pieces actually sounds like, and this weakness is definitely related to my weakness in rhythmn accuracy. I think that the biggest musical inspiration for me is my saxophone teacher who has been teaching me since I was in grade 4. It really is impressive how she is able to play all types of saxophone at a very high level as well as clarinet. She has inspired me to be a more successful musician as she has shown me that with hard work you can accomplish anything you want in music and be a proficient player of many different types of instruments.