Some Key Questions:

· What are the differences between the following: information, data, belief, faith, opinion, knowledge and wisdom?

· How much of one’s knowledge depends on interactions with others?

· To what extent does personal or ideological bias influence our knowledge claims?

· Does knowledge come from inside or outside? Do we construct reality or recognise it?


Task 1. Look at the following picture. Generate a single sentence headline statement to describe / explain what has happened here.

Source: Photo courtesy FEMA (Public Domain)

Task 2. We will now discuss / share our headlines, and identify any bias.

What assumptions / presuppositions do you include so that your statement / headline makes sense? Why are these presuppositions good? Why can they be disadvantageous?

What is the most neutral statement that we can arrive at as a class?

Task 3 – Explore how things / ideas / concepts might be viewed differently in different cultures.

View this slideshare, which contains the very clever infographics by Yang Liu and take it in turns to explain what each slide is trying to imply about cultural assumptions:

Discuss any examples you know of, perhaps between the different cultural backgrounds of the students in this class.

Task 4 An excellent article on Critical Thinking by Richard van de Lagemaat

Access his article by clicking here – – and going to page 15. Read it carefully and be prepared to discuss.

Task 5 Avatar.

Most people have seen this movie. To remind …

Avatar is about an entirely different world, set in the future. It is not about our world right?

Or is it? Perhaps an imagined world like this is filtered through the creator’s experiences of this world.

Discuss. What (cultural) assumptions are made in the movie? What biases? What might the audience be learning / accepting about our world by watching this that might in fact not be true / accurate / fair?

Task 6 Find an online article, video clip, image, or other source that reveals cultural bias and messages that seem to be easily accepted by society, especially if we don’t apply some critical thinking.

Some ideas on the sort of resources you can include:

  • A youtube trailer to a movie
  • An advert
  • A poem
  • A news article

Some ideas of the sorts of things which the resource gives some biased ideas about:

  • Role of men / women
  • Ideas of beauty
  • Status / jobs / money
  • Assumptions about different nationalities / ethnic groups
  • Assumptions about proper behaviour – right and wrong
  • Hierarchy / Power

Make the resource easily accessible – a short youtube clip, an image, an easy to read news article. You can take this from any culture.

Share a link to the resource. Include some text to explain the discourse and bias that is contained inside the resource:

The link to the resource.

  • What messages are conveyed that may in fact not be real are conveyed.
  • Why are these messages accepted by society even if they don’t match reality?
  • How do these messages / assumptions/ biases continue to survive?
  • Extra: can you link this to the filters mentioned in the article (task 4) – perception, language, emotion,  and reason? (Don’t worry if not at this stage, we will go into these inn much more depth later in the course).

Task 7 – Reflect

·Describe in your own words what we mean by the term ‘filter’ in TOK?

· What do you think is the most important / influential / powerful filter that affects you?

· Why is it important to know about the filters and how they affect the way you view the world?

Much credit goes to Mr Kevin Hoye, originator of many of the ideas contained in these tasks.