TOK 2.3 Reflection

Matthew Yan

Mr. Idigo


19 January 2021


I do not consider myself to be very political, because although I might be interested in politics, I do not often engage myself in political discussions or political activities. I think being political is to have a strong political identification. This means to have a strong identification as for example, a liberal or conservative. Not everything is political, because some things viewed in a political sense will simply not make sense. It is quite important to be aware of the current political climate as politics is a huge factor in how the world develops, which directly affects the lives of everyday citizens. The political issue that I believe is right now is the polarization of politics. Many people identify too strongly with a belief, causing consensus, the ultimate goal of politics, to be very difficult to achieve.

Reflection of the First Semester

Matthew Yan

Mr. Idigo


14 January 2021

Reflection of the First Semester

I think learning how much design goes into the technologies that we use on a daily basis stood out to me the most because I found it shocking that technologies such as our phones are designed at such intricacy to keep users addicted. The fact that we use it so often without ever taking notice also amazed me.

My perspective on the technologies that I use the most has changed after this course. Previously, I viewed the technologies that I used most often as without ill-intent. However, I learned in this course that these technologies are designed to keep us addicted and can manipulate our thinking and opinion. Essentially, I learned that things are not always what they seem, as there can be hidden processes that we never know about.

I want to keep in mind that I must select the correct object, or else I will have a hard time writing the rationale. This means selecting objects that is related to the chosen prompt.

I can continue to hone my critical thinking skills by reading more in the future, which allows me to be introduced to more information that can guide my thinking. This helps me to practice my critical thinking skills as reading allows me to evaluate and to think deeply about the implications of the information in the book.

Differences Between Times

Matthew Yan

Mr. Idigo

Theory of Knowledge

1 November 2020

Differences Between Times

            In the 1970s, which was when my parents went to school, students all around the world did not have access to the internet; thus, they relied on many methods that students today may consider obsolete. According to my mother, the textbooks used by Chinese schools provided her with all of her knowledge, and there was rarely a case where an outside book was required. My father also learned about electricity and wiring by reading related books and magazines from libraries. In areas other than education, real life experience was a method of acquiring knowledge. According to my father, he learned a lot about nature, and specifically in the field of catching bugs, by simply playing outside. Essentially, the methods that my parents used to gain knowledge can be condensed into two categories: books, for school related knowledge, and life experiences, for miscellaneous knowledge.

The school experiences of my parents also were drastically different from my own. At ISB, there is an emphasis on student engagement; students are encouraged to conduct their own learning. There are hardly lectures, and students often engage in group activities to develop their own learning. Mastery of knowledge through problem-solving is also preferred over mastery of knowledge through repetition. Essentially, education at ISB develops the creativity of students and promotes independency. However, in the 1970s, there was a heavy emphasis on the teacher and less emphasis on students. According to my mother, a typically class was a lecture, where the teacher talked about the knowledge the students only had to soak up the knowledge and to master the knowledge through heavy repetition. The focus of schools in the 1970s was pump all of the knowledge to students instead of allowing students to discover the knowledge for themselves.

To summarize, both methods to acquiring knowledge and school experiences of my parents when compared to me are quite different. Nowadays, most students gain knowledge from not only books and educators, also the internet. It implies an rise in personal knowledge and fall in shared knowledge as time passes due to developments in new methods of gaining knowledge independently, such as the internet, and less of a reliance on gaining knowledge through others, such as lectures in schools.

Are Some Ways of Knowing that are Closer to Truth?

Matthew Yan

Mr. Idigo


23 October 2020

Word Count: 497

Are there Ways of Knowing that are Closer to Truth?

The eight ways of knowing will be broken down into two groups for this essay; memory, sense, reason, intuition, and language will be to referred to as facts-based WOK, while faith, imagination, and emotion will be referred to as emotion-based WOK. In reality, there are no ways of knowing that are closer to the truth, because each way of knowing has their strengths and weaknesses.

The both fact-based WOKs and emotion-based WOKs have their respective strength and weaknesses. Fact-based WOKs are logical and fact based but are subject to fallacies and manipulation of facts; emotion-based WOKs can be extremely accurate the more experienced someone is but can be easily subjected to manipulations. This essay will provide an example relating to fact-based WOKs due to a limited word count. Statistics, for example, is a type of fact that can be easily manipulated. In order to attract investors, a company may claim that their size doubled in a certain year. Assuming that this statistic is correct, a doubling in company size is a very attractive statistic for investors, and fact-based WOKs would suggest investors to invest in the company, which can make the investors a lot of many money. However, the company may have been very small to begin with, meaning a doubling in size was not a significant improvement. In this scenario, all information used was correct; yet the information was manipulated to be misleading. This example demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of fact-based WOKs. Similar examples can be used to display the strengths and weaknesses of emotion-based WOKs.

Many may believe that fact-based WOKs are closer to truth because it employs logic and reasoning, which are generally perceived as more reliable than the “gut feelings” that emotion-based WOKs rely on. Essentially, fact-based WOKs are used more often than emotion-based WOKs because it is perceived to be more reliable. For example, when picking between school courses, a student can either pick courses according to his or her feelings or pick courses based on an analysis of his or her strengths and weaknesses and passions. A typical student will pick the latter, because they believe it is more accurate. However, emotion and feelings may also play a large role in analysis. In general, “[emotions] [are] part of the mechanism of reasoning and inform even our most logical decisions. It’s not enough just to know what should be done; it’s also necessary to feel it” (the Drum). In other words, logic and reasoning is heavily affected by emotions, which suggests that humans may be using emotion as a method of knowing while being under the false impression that they are using logic and reasoning. Therefore, fact-based WOKs are not superior as they are not necessarily used more often than emotion-based WOKs.

Although emotion-based WOKs and fact-based ­WOKs can be extremely accurate, both are subject to manipulations, which includes manipulations of facts and emotions. Thus, there is no singular way of knowing that is more likely to lead to the truth.

Works Cited

Ellis, Chloe. “Why Emotion Plays a Critical Role in Decision Making.” The Drum, The Drum, 4 Feb. 2019,

TOK Pre-assessment

Traditional Chinese medication is a long-established practice in China and is still often practiced today. Nowadays, in light of the breakthroughs in medical science of the past century, traditional Chinese medical practices are being criticized because many experts believe that it is pseudo-science, a set of beliefs that mistakenly believed to be based on the scientific method. This is often the claim of the skeptics of traditional Chinese medical practices. Yet, many still choose to believe in traditional Chinese medical practices; they reason that since the practices were practiced for almost the entirety of Chinese history, the practices must be truly effective, or else, it would not have survived nearly as long. This is one of many examples of how the question of “can knowledge change established values or beliefs?” manifests in the real world.

In recent years, there has been a trend of promoting open-mindedness, which means to be willing to accept or new knowledge. For example, one of the IB’s core values is being open-minded. Therefore, new knowledge should be able to change established values and beliefs and the modern world as people are encouraged to accept new information. This can be observed in many different sections of the world: scientists can change their opinions of the laws of nature overnight due to a single report, mathematicians can disprove theorems rooted in history because a new theory that conflicts with the old theory was discovered, and even extreme cases such as cults are an example of how new knowledge can change established beliefs and values because the teachings within cults often conflict with the moral values of the general populace, yet people still believe them. A common argument against the idea that new knowledge change established values or beliefs is the fact that people’s first reaction to new knowledge is often to question it, such as how scientists often attempt to disprove a new theory before finally accepting it. However, these examples do not indicate that people are not willing to change their established values or beliefs; these examples, instead, show the process of people validating the correctness of the new information. In other words, people are willing to change their established values or beliefs; they just need more time to verify its correctness.

Why I took Tutor Training

My name is Matthew. This semester, I have decided to complete the course of Tutor Training. This is not because I idolized tutors or teachers and wish to join their ranks. I am no teaching enthusiast. In fact, I lost all interest and love for teaching during a “traumatizing” experience when I was attempting to tutor my four-year-old cousin. I reluctantly tutored my cousin for 30 minutes of English and due to my reluctance and her gerbil-like attention span, I achieved nothing yet still demanded the previously agreed 200 kuai payment. When my aunt wouldn’t pay me, I felt robbed, I lost interest and confidence in tutoring for the rest of elementary school.

As middle school became the present instead of the future, the idea of tutoring began to gain traction in my mind once again. It was the renaissance of teaching for me. As high school rolled around, Tutor Training was presented to me and I wasn’t the first to sign up. I still wasn’t very excited despite the rebirthing of teaching the “Middle” ages (get it?). Regardless, I still signed up because I believed that it would help me earn some money during college or university by tutoring and charging an amount of money every hour. A more minor reason I picked Tutor Training was that I didn’t find any other elective interesting or useful.

This semester in Tutor Training I wish to learn to be more empathetic towards others and learn to construct lessons such that the lessons become more enjoyable. However, this would be irrelevant unless I knew how to properly plan lessons and deal with awkward or unexpected situations. Finally, I wish I learn how effectively convey an idea or concept. Being able to master the art of communication would be a huge milestone for me because I always had trouble doing so.

In conclusion, I chose Tutor Training not because I am a teaching fanatic or because I idolize those who spread their knowledge. This doesn’t mean I dislike Tutor Training, rather, I chose Tutor Training because I believe it would be beneficial to me in the future. Rome wasn’t built in one day and my learning wouldn’t complete in a day. There are things I must master during the journey to becoming a successful tutor.


That Wasteful Movie

I learned that food waste is not a small side adventure that China has to beat, it is a major boss battle just like air pollution and overpopulation. By showing this video to the public, I wish to communicate that food waste is no little problem and hopefully, give the public some information about food waste. If I could do this project again, I would first acknowledge all limitations and requirements before I start to plan the video. Some advice I would give to the eighth graders next year is to make a good documentary, have plenty of interviews and real like footages about your topic.

Calculated Bombardment

The Catapult Cup was a challenge at the end of our Module Four in Algebra I class to use what we previously learned in real-life situations. We were to plan and build a catapult following the design thinking process. Then, we were to fire a ping-pong ball using the catapult and analyze the ping-pong ball’s flight path. Once we have analyzed the flight paths of the ping-pong balls, we used the equations to figure where the ball would roughly land and where to place targets during the Catapult Cup.

The most important thing that I learned from this project was that something may work theoretically but may not work in reality due to many outside factors. The most challenging aspect of this project was catapult building part because our original catapult would theoretically work but due to the lack of a consistent weight to launch our ping-pong ball, it couldn’t be realized. Next, I would do research on how catapults worked before I made assumptions about how they work and went straight to the planning.

Final Catapult Design