A week and a half ago, me and four friends taught our IB Theory of Knowledge class as apart of the Ways of Knowing unit. We were assigned the topic of sense perception and thus, went into deep research on the five senses- hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste. Our PowerPoint included extended notes with little videos in between so that the information we wished to convey was fully grasped by our intended audience- the class. Teaching almost twenty kids for 90 minutes seemed like a chance for catastrophe. After all, we are teenagers and lecturing children seems like a job reserved only for adults. Despite my initial dread when walking through the door of Mr. Brewer’s room that afternoon, I came to realize how prepared and effective we were in presenting our W.O.K. project.
The curiosity that was expressed by the other IB Diploma students encouraged us to be more confident and thus, the rest of the class period went by with ease. Our demonstrations of how the senses are necessary to obtain knowledge but can also deceive us provoked many class discussions, especially when we listened to the several examples of auditory illusions and mentioned the power of other senses when one is impaired. These brought up first-hand experiences from kids, which developed into higher-level questions in the spirit of the Theory of Knowledge. Even though the class would sometimes talk out of turn or rampant ideas were being thrown across the room at once, it was fantastic for me to witness the wheels start to turn in everyone’s minds.
Some parts of the lesson which we didn’t expect to stimulate interest did, like the socio-geographic affects on people’s sense perception. And others we were certain would succeed did not, such as our evaluation of empiricist philosophy. This was a new experience for us in expecting the unexpected. I believe that tying all of the senses together in a conclusion could’ve helped the students to reflect upon what they learned from our presentation. However, I don’t think that our discussion questions at the end were bad either because it conveyed a general sense of ambiguity for sense perception. These were just experiments that were to be done through trial-and-error because we now know what is and isn’t effective for our audience.
Communication was a key factor in making this experience successful. What I believe diminishes education in a classroom environment is the lack of interaction between teachers and students. After every lesson in our PowerPoint, we sought out to clarify any misunderstandings and make sure that everyone was on their feet. And because we are all the same age, there was not a difference in power dynamics and we were able to listen relate with each other on the same level of authority. This entire ordeal was valuable for me because teaching the class improved my confidence, strive to educate others, and my view of how important teamwork can be.