Excellent Examples Of Knowledge Issues For Oral Presentation

Once students identify their overall topic for the Oral Presentation, it’s sometimes a challenge to develop the Knowledge issues to explore in the presentation.

The trick is to create broader knowledge issues — questions that relate more to the “Big Picture.”  Then, use the idea of your topic to illustrate your Knowledge issues.

As you decide on both your topic and the knowledge issues, please remember that a key criteria for them is this:  It must be something you are genuinely interested in learning about! Life is too short to pick something that you just think IB and your teacher will like, or one that you think will be easy.

Now, getting back to topics and knowledge issues…

Wendy and Yovanna, two students in our TOK class, have graciously agreed to let me publish their original knowledge issues — which were narrow — and then how they changed them to more “Big Picture” ones.  Their overall topic is human cloning, and they will be able to incorporate that topic in their exploration of the broader Knowledge Issues they ultimately developed.

First, you’ll read their original Knowledge Issues followed by the new versions:


How can human cloning cause a double standard morally? [REASON & ETHICS]

-Human clones are like having a slave

-Human clones are like having a robot

How does human cloning change what we may perceive as life and humanity? [PERCEPTION]

-Human cloning is awesome because we are progressing scientifically and we can change the population easily and change the clone so that it is smarter, stronger, and more capable

-Human cloning is bad because humans aren’t naturally created in a petri dish and flaws are what make humans human. To tamper with how people have sex to create babies is to ruin the definition of humans.

How can human cloning affect the clone? [EMOTIONS]

-Human clones have no emotions

-Humans have emotions


How does reason and ethics intertwine with morality?

-Reason and ethics can cause us to more thoroughly understand a situation, thus making a better decision morally in the end.

-Reason and ethics can cause us to over think a situation, thus making a decision not on your own morals but other alternatives/morals that may have came to mind.

How can culture/religion determine what we perceive as life and humanity?

-Culture/religion can dictate what we may perceive as life and humanity.

-Our personal beliefs may differ from what our culture/religion commonly perceives as life and humanity.

How can emotions affect what we believe to be morally wrong?

-Emotions can overtake our judgment on morality.

-Emotions may play a role in what we believe to be morally wrong, but ethics play a more vital role in what we believe to be morally wrong.

Oral Presentation Outline Model

Here is a model for what your Oral Presentation should look like. Note that, though I list three Knowledge Issues in the introduction, for the purpose of this model example I only use one of them in the body of the presentation.  Feel free to have different opinions on my topic — I’m just using this to show that in your presentation YOU must demonstrate your opinions on your topic.

In addition



Introduce Yourselves & Your Topic

My name is Mr. Ferlazzo, and the topic of our presentation is “war on terrorism.”

Why You picked your topic

I picked my topic because everyday for over six years I have read and seen images of people dying in Iraq.

List your knowledge issues (Make sure your knowledge issues are “big picture.”)

How is language used in war to encourage hatred of another country or guerrilla group?

How can reason be used by combatant groups in country to rationalize destructive acts of war?

How are emotions manipulated by wartime leaders to encourage nationalism or fanaticism?


Take each Knowledge issue one at a time

How is language used in war to encourage hatred of another country or guerrilla group?

For each one, share the real life example that got you thinking about it.

In reading about the controversy behind wanting to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, I was struck by the hateful language used against Islam by some people.

List various claims and how they connect to knowledge issue.

When President George Bush began the war on terrorism, he was very careful to point out that it was not a war on Islam – he was focusing on a small percentage of Muslims.  For example,………………  On the other hand, al Qaeda was very clear in their language to try to portray it as a war on all of Islam.  For example, …………..

Things changed, however, with the Ground Zero Mosque controversy.  There, the language used by opponents was much more clearly directed against the Islam religion.  For example……..   However, they denied it.  For example……… Others said the opponents language played right into the hands of the Islamic extremists.  For example………  al Qaeda said………

Identify linking question to Area of Knowledge & connect to Knowledge issue.

Historically, how has language been used to encourage hatred? Using language like this is no stranger to wartime.  For example, in Roman times………… In modern times, in World War I and World War II……

Research has been done on which language can be most effective in generating strong support for a particular cause.  For example………

Religious language has played a role in the use of language in wars as well.  For example……


What do you think, and relate it to a knowledge issue.

I believe that language can often be used to manipulate the truth in times of wartime.  In the war on terrorism, I believe that  many proponents have inappropriately turned the war on terrorism into a war on Islam, and played into the hands of Islamic terrorists because…… Researchers have found the best way to combat this kind of effort is to do…………………………………………

Also, review this advice for oral presentations.

TOK Presentation Schedule

TOK Presentation Schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 18th: Prepare Contrasting Claims

Wed, Jan. 19th: Linking Questions & Areas of Knowledge

Thurs, Jan. 20th: Introduction & Conclusion

Friday, Jan. 21st: Prepare Lesson on Language

Monday, Jan. 24: Practice Lesson on Language

Thursday, Jan. 27th: Give Language Lesson first hour, complete Outline for Oral Presentation. HARD COPY & ELECTRONIC COPY DUE AT END OF CLASS — THIS IS YOUR SEMESTER EXAM — NO EXCEPTIONS.

Friday, Jan. 28th: We will pick names out of the hat to determine dates for oral presentations.

Monday, Jan. 31st: I will meet with each group to discuss outlines

Tuesday, Feb. 1st: Revise outlines

Wednesday, Feb. 2nd: Final outline is due at end of period

Thursday & Friday: Prepare PowerPoints

Monday, Feb. 7th, Tuesday, & Wednesday: Practice presentations

Thursday, February 10th: Oral Presentations Begin — two each day

Friday, February, 11th: Two Oral Presentations

Monday, Feb. 14th, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,

Friday, Feb. 18th — Class discussion of presentations and decisions by any groups if they want to redo it. If your group decides they want to redo it, the second presentation much be made no later than March 4th. There will not be much class time available for revising your presentations.