There is no general method or
formula which is "correct." You can probably ignore some
of this advice and still do a good presentation
but following these
suggestions may help.
1. Familiarize yourself with the assessment criteria. Notice,
for example that whatever your topic, the focus must be on knowledge
issues and that you should choose a contemporary issue (or at least
one that is contemporary to you: a historical event that you're studying
in History class qualifies).
2. Choose a concrete topic that interests you and find the TOK in
it. TOK can be found almost anywhere, so use the opportunity to
do something that you will enjoy doing. Do not just choose, say, the
death penalty just because you have a book on it. Your presentation
will come across much better if you choose something which means something
to you personally: your own school, recent events in the news, cartoons,
books and films are often fertile ground for presentation topics. Some
of the most effective presentations start with an everyday story and
go on to draw out the TOK aspects.
3. You should be exploring an issue; this means that you should
present different points of view, even if they contradict each other
and even if you disagree with them. You can try to reconcile different
points of view or explain precisely why they are incompatible. You do
not have to choose one point of view as "correct," but you
should avoid the rather vacuous "so there are different points
of view all of which are equally valid" approach. Do not be afraid
to give your own opinion; you can point out that there are problems
with your opinion, but be honest and say what you really think!
4. Try to cover the facts quickly and get on to the abstract TOK
principles. If you have chosen a topic where there are important
facts that the audience needs to know, then you should get through these
quickly--there are no marks for dissemination of information! The focus
of the presentation must be analysis, not description. If you can't
summarize the facts in a couple of minutes then you should distribute
to the audience a summary to be read beforehand.
5. Once you have drawn out the abstract TOK principles you should
try to see what the implications of these principles are, and perhaps
use these implications to reflect on the validity of the principles.
For example, if you are considering the argument for the death penalty
that states that murderers lose the right to life, the underlying principle
seems to be "an eye for an eye." But what if you were to ask,
"What do we do with a thief? Or a rapist? Or a kidnapper?"
a different underlying principle might have to be used, possibly leading
to a reformulation of the original principle.
6. Consider carefully how you communicate the structure of your
presentation. The structure may be clear in your mind, but the audience
may not find it so easy to follow. Having one or two overheads with
the main points in bullet form (using a large font for clarity) can
keep both you and your audience on track.
7. Try to state explicitly the problems of knowledge that you are
looking at. This will help you retain clarity and make it easier
for an examiner to give you high marks in criterion A (Knowledge Issues).
If you use an overhead, list the problems there.
8. If appropriate use a film clip, slides, photos, newspaper cutting
or any other prop. Your presentation will probably be far more interesting
if you can use something other than your voice! But make sure that the
props serve a specific purpose, and that they don't replace the analysis
that will earn you high marks in criterion B (Quality of Analysis).
9. In your conclusion try to summarize (briefly--only a few sentences)
what you have said, and try to end with a forward-looking view.
This might be a summary of the main principles you have identified or
some issues which have arisen and which have not been answered. Do not
just reiterate your arguments. The end should "feel" like
a conclusion and not like "well, that's it."