Welcome to my iFolio! My name is Janice and I have been a student in Canadian International School of Hong Kong for 12 years. I enjoy playing sports, such as volleyball and tennis, reading, baking and cooking and also exploring the great outdoors. This iFolio is a glimpse of my learning experiences throughout PYP, MYP and DP!

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Introduction into Natural Sciences

Recently, I watched a TEDTalk by Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science who firmly believes in using reason to fight climate change denial within current society. Within her TedTalk ‘Why we should trust scientists’, she asked the question ‘Scientist’s tell us stuff, but why should we believe them. From this talk, I had three takeaways; firstly, understanding that science and faith are different however belief is the attribute that ties them together. Faith is understanding and trusting an ideology meanwhile science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Belief enables us to trust the science behind each living or non living physical matter in our world and forming facts to sustain the knowledge we have today. However, there are three main problems with common attitudes towards scientific inquiry. Firstly, most of us were taught in school that the reason we should believe in science is because of it’s scientific method. The scientists follow a rigid and specific method which guarantees the truth to their claims. The method we were all taught at school was textbook method; involving a independent variable, dependent variable and a few controlled variables to reach an understanding of our data. Through science, we understand that prediction does not work as hypothesis are only a guide to what we sense will occur. The real working aspect of science is the hands on experimentation of the real life situation. Adding on, science does not fit a textbook as it is forever innovative. Ideas and creations are built off of the textbook knowledge however have no limit to discovery.

Ethics, history, religious knowledge systems, indigenous knowledge groups, mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences and the arts are the eight areas of knowledge which people use to investigate upon. Natural Science is different from other areas of knowledge as it requires information drawn from experimentation.

Arts does not require experimentation before a final ideology is presented as it is a creative form. Art can go into many paths and the output of the creation can be drawn from multiple directions. For example when drawing an abstract piece about gun violence, there is no definite way of completing this piece, if you were to ask two people to accomplish this task, they would both have infinitely different pieces due to the creativity within each of their minds. This is the opposite to the Natural Sciences as natural sciences follow a methodology to accomplish a theory they have planned in advance.

Meanwhile within the subject of maths, it requires for a formula or a theory to be constructed. This theory is constructed through a process of trial and error or a build up of previous knowledge. Patterns and investigations are similarly used within the natural sciences when experimentation is done to reach a conclusion.

 

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Faith and Intuition

Faith is an ideology one abides and follows closely with their morals. For example, some’s idea of faith may be the intention of a religious group such as their faith in the Western God: Christianity. While there are others who believe in a certain ideology or logic but do not abide to that specific ‘group’ or religion. Another concept of faith is commitment, once faith is instilled upon a certain ideology or theory, their ideas and actions expand upon it and their morals build off of their faith.
To better understand the world, faith is used to help us interpret things. This is an individual personal way to looking at the world and the situations that arise. This perspective will allow you to reflect upon how much each situation resides with you and to what extent you agree and believe it to be true.

Meanwhile, similar to faith, intuition is defined as a process which helps with the consumption of knowledge. It is a sense of knowing without any prior thinking required. For example, when putting your hand above a hot stove, through intuition, we know it will hurt therefore we don’t do it. It is a form of common sense which is collected through experience. It is described as a gut feeling for what will happen or the solution to what a problem can be.
This is a way of knowing as it is often classified as a sense of awareness. This way of knowing allows us to have an idea of what will happen through our subconscious mind. Computers do not have senses of intuition therefore it is what makes living organisms such as animals and humans os unique because we have the ability to answer or act upon a ‘I just know’ as justification.

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Memory and Imagination

Imagination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagination is the ability to construct a mental idea of an experience with or without mental stimulus. Another form of imagination is to imagine things different from the way they are and either not accepting the truth or imagining another alternative. Imagination is a common way of knowing, we use it in our daily lives when dealing with situations or as forms of motivation. We use it during the pursuit of knowledge to help extend our thinking and abilities to imagine different scenarios. Without imagination, there would be no extension of further investigation and humans and creatures would be left with the same  extent of knowledge as before. Many classify imagination to be a form of creativity, problem solving or a form of originality however it is often distrusted as it is highly subjective. However, there are a few forms of where medical conditions or special conditions can inflict bias towards the way of knowing, Imagination. People with autism lack an idea of what imagination means to others because of their inability to perceive means through a structured perspective. Their form of imagination is exploding within their minds causing them to be unable to sort their ideas logically. Also, forms of delusion and extreme examples of imagination can cloud one’s judgement disallowing them them to logically think. The form of imagination can be expressed through many forms of language. Media, cultural languages and writing can all aid in our ability to express our imagination and ideas.

Memory:

Memory is the recollection of the things we know, it is how we recall our prior knowledge to use in distant situations. Adding on, the psychology of memory allows us to imagine nostalgia as a tape which can be played back any time. Experience is also encoded within our memory and the remembrance of an experience is indeed not the original experience recalled, but rather an access of the memory altered during the last time it was accessed.The importance of memory during the pursuit of knowledge is also quite significant. Our past experiences affect how our new experiences are interpreted. Memory plays a big factor in how we gain knowledge in any moment of any time. We do not gain new knowledge through a vacuum, instead we gain knowledge based on our past experiences. For example, when you are in the midst of dating a person, your memory of them is positive however, when you break up, your perception of the guy is different due to the change in memory since the time you experienced the break up. However, memories are not completely reliable because they are inflected with subjective opinions. An example would be the disease Alzheimer’s and how it affects people as they grow older. Particularly, Alzheimer’s affects a growing proportion of countries with ageing population. Although it is an unreliable ‘Way of Knowing’, billions of people rely on their memories within their everyday lives. Memory relates to mathematics because memory is relied upon in order to recall formulas or other mathematical concepts. Without the recall of these concepts, there would be no grip and no connection build upon the previous ideas.

Despite the imperfections of imagination and memory as ways of knowing, the Areas of Knowledge have developed in such as way as to overcome them. Discuss this claim with reference to at least two AOKs.
Despite the imperfections of imagination and memory as ways of knowing, the Areas of Knowledge have developed in such a way to overcome them. For example, in History, the ways of knowing of memory is required to help the future understand the past and how to improve in the future. It also acts as a historical account to help with the current study of the world. Adding on in ethics, imagination helps us determine right from wrong. it controls our ability to control our actions. Imagination sorts right from wrong by eliminating limits for possibilities of the future.

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Reason

The validity of an argument is non-reliant of the truth or falsity of its premises. The premises are used as evidence to back up a claim. Premises are used to create conclusions which are statements proving the point of the deductive. The deductive does not have to follow regulations of being ‘common sense’ however the premises have to build off one another and not conclude upon assumptions.

For example:
1. All mushrooms are fungi [True]
2. Some fungi are poisonous [True]
Conclusion: Some mushrooms are poisonous [False]

Deductive: Invalid

Within this example, the first and second premises are statements of a claim the writer has established. In the conclusion, the statement was an assumption of both the first and second premises. The conclusion generalised the statement by simply linking a property both premises obtained. This conclusion is not exhibited as a valid statement however, through logic and common sense, this statement would indeed be coined to be true. Pure logic is only concerned within the structure of arguments. Within this argument, although it is somewhat possible logically that some mushrooms are poisonous, however, given the structure of the arguments and the two premises mentioned above, the conclusion statement is not valid.

In another example,
1. No one under the age of 18 can drink [True]
2. Jen is under 18 years old [True]
Conclusion: Therefore, Jen cannot vote. [Valid]

Deductive: Valid

In comparison to the example above, this deductive is valid due to the conclusion taking both premises into consideration. The conclusion is also not using partial properties or features of the premises. This serves the purpose of the conclusions hence making the realistic link between both premises and their relation to one another. This whole argument is logical and is deemed valid. 

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Language

“The vagueness and ambiguity of language always limits the production of knowledge”.

Language is used to communicate and express our perception of an ideology or thought. However, due to the vagueness and ambiguity of language, it limits the way it is communicated and the way the message is perceived by others. While some areas of knowledge result with clear cut and dry reasoning, others may have multiple ways of expressing conclusive ideas which are opened for interpretation.

In maths, the way people derive answers are through intuitive thinking and or conscious reasoning. Intuition in maths is achieving the final solution through the solvers ability to utilise their personal knowledge to solve equation. Although intuitive thinking in maths is not recognised as mathematical thinking or logical procedure, it is still a method where the answer can be derived. In contrast to intuition, conscious reasoning is commonly used and created by mathematicians. Logarithms, equations, formulas were all found through the method of conscious thinking. It guides people through a step by step procedure to solving the equation which is clear and concise. The way one’s intuition communicates the knowledge it entails is usually filled with ambiguity due to it’s reliance on prior knowledge to understand the piece as a whole.

Arts is a form to express one’s ideas through expressive forms such as writing, singing, painting, dancing etc. However, with many creative methods, each one has a broad range of perception associated with it. The perception of what the art piece is as well as the way it is communicated and expressed to others also differs. Gestalt is the ways of which an image can is perceived through multiple means. For example, this image below.

Some may argue they see a white vase in the picture, however some may also argue they see two human heads facing one another. Both pictures are right, but it just depends on what the person sees and the order to which one they see first. There is also another perception associated if the person told you to look for something and you find what they told you to look for or you find something else along the way. Therefore this image communicates that the method of communicating through language, as well as how broad each individual’s perception is is in art can limit the production of knowledge from one to another.

However, some see Natural Science as the area of knowledge with the most accurate method of communication. Within a lab, conclusive and detailed methodologies are usually expressed to the reader to strictly follow. Although there are some steps which will result with uncertainties of data, most of the procedure will be clear and concise. A lab report is designed for audience’s with the similar ‘textbook’ background information on science to interpret and understand. If I mention a graduated cylinder needs to be filled with NaOH to 100 mL in a step, one with background information on the instruments of laboratory equipment and knowledge about what NaOH is would be able to apply that knowledge to achieve that step. Therefore the accuracy of language used in natural science is often quite accurate due to the clear and universal language communicated to those with common knowledge on the topic.

In conclusion, the vagueness and ambiguity of language usually limits the production of knowledge not regarding the lack of detail within one’s concept but rather how every individual pertains to their own perceptions and everyone has different abilities to communicate something resulting in the misunderstanding of an idea.

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Emotion

A claim states that ‘Ethical problems are created because people get too attached to their point of view. Without emotion the world would be a more moral place.‘. Ethical problems arise in our world today, due to people’s difference in opinion. Problems as well are subjective; what one may find a problem may not be reciprocated to another as a problem.I n regards to making our world a moral place, there would be rules and regulations for every single situation, meaning no grey area. The grey area is where humans allow for their emotions to sway their judgement and rely on their intuition to create conclusions. However, more-so, we require emotion to evaluate situations to classify them as right or wrong. We need our ethical logic to decipher the definitions society finds right or wrong. To find right and wrong, we require emotion.

An example would be an atheist human like myself, finds beef a really good source of protein to consume as used in tacos, stews and curry. However, a Hindu perceives Cattle as a sacred being which leads them to believe that the consumption of beef is morally incorrect. Therefore ethical problems like these arise when one strong belief clashes with another. It is due to their emotional connection with their god that they feel obliged to obey their beliefs and pursue their opinions.

One of the worlds most controversial societal subjects is if abortion should be acceptable. Abortion is the act in which one chooses to terminate a human pregnancy during the time in which the baby has not been live birthed. In countries such as Ireland and Brazil, abortion is illegal in all circumstances except if needed to save the woman’s life. However, in other countries such as China and the United States, abortion is legal upon request. Therefore within both corners of the spectrum, there are claims made by each countries as to whether this action is justified or not; meaning the issue is either black or white. This topic is considered an ethical problem to many as many consider this as murder of a human life which in their terms is ‘morally unacceptable’. These people believe this claim because of their individual beliefs on murder and perhaps their beliefs within religion on the ethics related to murder whether it is live or not. Within the other side of the spectrum, some may support abortion due to their situation be it the maternal’s impoverishing health, cases of mental health issues, fetal defects or even nonconsensual sex. Therefore these two examples show without emotion, the world may be a place with more morally ruled justice and less controversial situations of debate.

On the other side of the table, ‘Ethical problems are created on it’s own and not due to subjective opinions or emotions.’ concern people. With those currently living with less than one U.S dollar per day, they struggle daily with paying their wages, eating a meal and even financing for perhaps their children’s needs; these people live under the poverty line. Every single country in the world has a poverty line, based of the poorest most underprivileged population of the country. The ethics of poverty is created based on the creation of the wealth gap and the way the economy fluctuates. The issue of poverty also has factors of greed involved within it however, the ethical problem of poverty doesn’t have a relation with the emotions they have or the beliefs they obtain; ie. theres a low percentage of someone believing that living an underprivileged life is good for them. This questions the ethics within society and with morals associated, is it right to have people living on the streets? Starving without food? While others celebrating with wine, having a lot of choice within their lives? This has no relation towards how one’s attachment to their emotion affects the ethical issue of poverty, because poverty is not a choice, it’s a reality.

In conclusion, emotion allows other people to understand us. When interacting with others, our emotions is what gives clues to how we are feeling. The clues may include emotional expression through body language, facial expressions or the individual subtext we create which are all connected with the particular emotions we experience during that moment. Without emotions, we would obtain no feelings, relationships, friendships, ‘grey area’ or decisions to debate upon; we would be machines who only sort right from wrong. We were given our unique colour, eye colour, personality, geographical setting, EMOTION to make an impact within the world we live in. Us as humans are spawn to love, cry, cuss, which all resonates with our deep desire to feel something. Therefore emotion does create controversy and may make the world we live in a slightly immoral society however, our points of views make us who we are and social emotion should be a major aspect within society because without emotion, how do we differentiate our definitions of right from wrong?

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Sense Perception

Humans use their sense of taste when they drink coffee in the morning; hawks use their sharp visual senses to hunt their prey and dogs use their sense of smell to identify their owners. All three of these living species utilise their senses within their daily lives to achieve daily tasks. However, some organisms don’t have all senses of the norm or the multitude of one of their senses are fairly larger or smaller than the others. There are also organisms with defects within their senses whom are still surviving well without them. How do they differ from those who have all their senses? Are our perceptions (you and I) on for example, the colour blue, the same? How does the senses we have or don’t have affect our perception? Take the example of a originally blind human who’s sights started to improve over time, perhaps due to the shock of his sudden sight, he may perceive situations in a more dramatical aspect. Meaning that when he visualises a murder case for example, he exaggerate the story to fit in with the emotions he felt with seeing that for the first time.

Perceptual systems refer to one’s perception through their senses, via visually, through audio, one’s touch etc.. These senses build up our opinion on certain matters such as if the sky is blue during the day or if Taylor Swift is a good singer. However, these senses are often flawed as emotion assists the explanation to our perceptions. However even though there are problems with our perceptual systems, this doesn’t mean that knowledge gained from our senses is completely unreliable. The knowledge we gained has impacted us due to the different experiences we go through. This means that knowledge each individual gains isn’t necessarily the same however, is the representation of a similar theory. 

For example, in terms of history, we only know what happened in the past due to what we were told by those who came before us. The methods of how our ancestors communicated history to us was through writing, speaking and other modes of communication. However, communication can be twisted to the communicators perspective. Meaning that if someone was reciting what had happened to The Allies of World War Two on D-Day, a perspective from a soldier would be much more exaggerated compared to a high ranked general as they experienced different multitudes of the situation. Therefore eye witnesses may not be reliable within history as their emotion most likely impacted their opinion and ability to communicate the ‘real situation’. But then again what classifies as ‘the real situation’ when everyone has their own perception on situations.

Adding on, within human science, people conduct experiments to conclude upon their findings. However, every trial has it’s own anomalies and people read into situations differently. During an experiment, people usually calculate qualitative and quantitative data. Whilst the quantitative data relies on the accuracy of the experiment, the qualitative data is based off the scientist’s senses and their interpretation of the experiment. Therefore when senses are involved, our perceptual systems are definitely influenced based off our own emotions.

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IB Retreat: Gestalt (17-18 Aug)

What do your teachers throw at you in advanced to two years of hefty work loads, spontaneous breakdowns and a strangle of extra curricular activities? A retreat to teach you how to manage them together. This weekend, my grade and I went on a retreat to the Gold Coast in Tsuen Mun to prepare ourselves for the rigorous IB Diploma Program. The theme of this retreat was Gestalt which means what is organized as a whole can be perceived as more than the sum of its parts. Gestalt represents the DP accurately as each individual benefits differently from the program based on the combination of subjects they have chosen to take or the goals they’ve set for themselves to achieve. During this Retreat, we participated in an array of activities such as a game teaching us how to accept then learn from failure, a movie screening of the 12 Angry Men as well as a crossroads simulation about poverty within our world today. Through this experience we bonded with our peers, understood more about the program as well as learnt different skills and techniques to tackle the DP successfully.

During the first day, we visited Crossroads, a Hong Kong based non-profitable organisation who’s purpose is to connect people within our ‘broken world’. We were simulated as a family of 7-8 living in slums with the objective to make and sell as many paper bags using newspaper and wet flour for ten minutes straight in three intervals. Every ten minutes, we had to ensure we had earned enough to pay the ‘landlord’ for access to food, water and rent. Adding on, within those ten minutes, many opportunities arose with the sacrifice of money such as a chance to send one child to school, a healthcare class or even to sell an organ of ours. Although my group was successful in surviving within that simulation, we had a reality check which helped us understand how lucky and fortunate we are as people to be brought up and living in Hong Kong. That was one of the highlights of my trip as it not only impacted my perception of the world but it also taught me that even small forms of action can help change the world. Besides from the simulation, I really enjoyed my chance to bond with my fellow peers during the retreat. Whether it was participating in teacher held activities or just eating dinner, I felt it was a great opportunity to get to know my peers better before the DP program.

At night, our grade watched an insightful movie called 12 Angry Men. The plot of the movie was based off the closing arguments of a murder trial and the twelve jury members had to reach a decision on whether the victim was guilty or not. Within the movie, we learned about different forms of logical fallacies such as to ‘appeal to emotion’ meaning to manipulate an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument, as well as ‘special pleading’ which is to create exceptions to the case when the claim is showing itself to be false. I felt that these two logical fallacies were often used within the movie and it was interesting to experience how each one had a different effect within the argument. Lastly, one of the other things I enjoyed the most was speaking to the alumni who have previously been in our shoes. I felt they gave me really give me good advice about the IA, EE, TOK and class itself and how to manage my time properly and how sleep is vital to success in the IB program.

During the course of the retreat, I learnt that the most important trait to have during the DP is to persevere. Like any other major event in your life, there is only one time to get it right and make the most out of it. As cheesy as it sounds, the last two years of High School is not only the most important two years for our future lives but also the two years which we will remember for the rest of our lives. Therefore I feel that whether you are trying to understand a course’s content better, or attempting to make Division one of a sport, you will eventually end up successful with the trait of perseverance. Challenge does shape you as a person and you should face it right on right now if you want to grow.

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Knowing and Explaining

‘If you cannot explain something to someone else, you do not know it.’

Within this statement, a few questions arise such as are there different extents of knowing? Are perceptions of knowing created by each individuals own experiences? What does it means to be ‘right’? Is it reasonable to suggest that people who disagree can also be right?

The Cambridge Online Dictionary states that the noun of the word ‘right’ is “what is considered to be morally good or acceptable”. To determine between what is morally good or bad, the perspectives would take in-account the individual’s morals and beliefs. What feels right to one party may not feel right to the other therefore the ‘who is right’ question comes in to play.

In an example scenario, Emily tells her mother she wants a pet poodle for her 8th birthday. Her argument states she wants a poodle because she thinks dogs are cute and all her friends have pets. However, her mother disagrees with her and argues back that raising puppies are time consuming and expensive. In this scenario, who is right and who is wrong? Or is the situation more complicated than that? So to what extent is the mother right in comparison to the daughter? Does this mean that the mother’s disagreement leads her to also being right within the argument?

In another scenario, I grabbed the first dictionary definition of the noun ‘right’ to feature on my task which happened to be Cambridge’s Online Dictionary definition. Was this definition the most certified of the word or would another be more suitable? What makes Cambridge’s definition more right than for example, Oxford’s one. Just because Oxford disagrees with Cambridge’s meaning and makes another one doesn’t mean their definition is more right or justified in comparison to Cambridge’s vice versa. When people choose a dictionary definition to represent their understanding of the word, they don’t factor in which definition is right and which is wrong but rather which one fits better within their understanding than the other.

In conclusion, I believe that to be right or wrong varies within a spectrum; it doesn’t fit within a clear cut black or white area. There is no definition to if both people are right, if one is right and the other is wrong or if both people are wrong; as all right and wrong have multiple extents determined through the context of the situation and the belief each individual obtains. Therefore it is reasonable and possible for a person who disagrees to also be right however the main argument does not circulate upon who is right and who is wrong but rather what justifies the person who’s argument is more right to be more right than the other.

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