Senior Seminar ScriptStudent: Hello my name is Preston Fernandez. I am 17 years old and I have attended ISB for over 11years. Today I will be speaking about how different ways of knowing has shaped me into the kind ofstudent I am today, especially biology.Interviewer: What is a specific example of a learning experience you had, that has affected you inthis area of science?Student: A specific example of my learning experiences in biology is the course itself: IB biology. Iwill be talking about how this class has affected my knowledge in this subject area.I have taken IB biology for the past two of high school and it is an obvious experience which has ledto my growth as a student scientist. The science department here at ISB thrives to engage studentsto ask new questions, and carry out experimental investigation to answer the question and compareto their hypothesis. In these classes, no matter how different the science or level/difficulty of thecourse they share many things in common, in terms of accumulation of information, organization ofinformation and analysis of information as well as many other aspects.Interviewer: Why did you choose your career as an IB biology student as your learningexperience?Student: Over the past couple years my compassion for this subject has tremendously grown and itis a subject that I wish to continue as I enter college. I really enjoy the field work that the course andscience has to offer. There is almost a certain thrill about carrying out investigations to answer yourown personal question about the topic that you are doing the research on. I think this course hasexpanded my knowledge about the science, solving problems and even workin together with others.It has been an awesome, and meaningful experience!Interviewer: What does this experience say about you?Student: I guess the experience says I have a curiosity about the world, and I find thrill andadventure in answering problems through trial and support. It also could show other things I guess,perhaps that I work as a team player, because often at times investigation are carried out by two ormore people.Interviewer: How do ways of knowing connect to your experience as a biology student?Student: Although there are four ways of knowing, reason, perception, emotion and language;reason, emotion and language better link to my experience as a biology student. So I will talk abouthow these three ways of knowing have interacted and affected my experience as a biology student.Reasoning plays a large role in biology and carrying out experiment investigation. To understandhow it plays a role in my experience as a biology student one must first understand what thescientific method is. The scientific method is the procedures carried out to investigate a situation
that help in the acquisition of new knowledge. There are five main aspects of the scientific method,there is: o Observation o Hypothesis o Experiment o Law o TheoryAs well within an experimental activity there must be - Controllability: you can only vary one factor at a time so that you can determines its effect. - Measurability: You can measure the relevant variable. This adds precision and objectivity to your experiment - Repeatability: Your experiment can be repeated by other people who will be able to confirm your results.An individual must be able to reason what he or she wants in her experiment to provide the mostaccurate and least biased data and hence end result. When planning out an experiment reasoning isused to determine several things if certain factors in the lab are controllable, usually outsidevariables which affects the one individual factor being investigated during the research; measurable,to make sure that what is being investigated can be described by numbers or a form of unit, as thisgenerally help to find relationships by viewing mathematical patterns; repeatability, the proceduresof this investigation must have the ability to be carried out by others and achieve similar results.As well inductive and deductive reasoning plays a major role in carrying out these investigations asthey are used in the observation and theory areas of the scientific method. Inductive reasoning isused to theorize characterstics; the trends and patterns displayed by the data are theorized andused to apply the characterstics identified in this specific situation to apply them to the world.Deductive reasoning is used in the hypothesis to predict the outcome of the investigation by takinggeneral areas of knowledge about the topic and applying it to the specific situation beinginvestigated.Interviewer: Are there any problems or conflicts with using reason?Student: Although reasoning appears to be the most straight forward way of knowing there are stillareas of uncertainty and problems with reasoning in the scientific method. There problems withinductive and deductive reasoning in the hypothesis and theory areas of the scientific method is thatthey apply the ideas of one situation to another. This can be problematic as at times there may beno correlation between the two, there is just an assumption that they share similar characterstics.Interviewer: What other way of knowing was most relevant to you as a Biology student?Student: Another way of knowing that applies to biology is emotion. Emotion is the basis of humanintention and it gives reason for human action. Essentially it is an emotional connection whichallows us to determine what kinds of labs that we want to carry out. Emotions, whether is itcuriosity of thinking it’s cool can motivate us to ask different questions and investigate differentprocesses.
Now because natural sciences are very objective rather than subjective, motivation for doing the labshould be the only sort of feelings involved. However some of the down falls of investigationsthrough the scientific method are flawed because of emotions.Interviewer: I asked earlier if there were any problems with using reason, do you think there areproblems with emotion as well?Student: The problem is that science is based off of observation, which isn’t as straightforward andaccurate as it sounds. Because the topic we investigated are motivated by emotions, we alreadyhave a certain stand point on the topic. This causes more than one problem. First of all, since wealready have a set of ideas on the topic, we tend to overlook various factors that are involved oraffect the processes. This is hazardous, as the relationship of the processes being investigatedmaybe dependent on the factors that we overlook and the attempt to acquire knowledge is a hencea failure, as the theory created at the end by the data is overlooked from its true processes.Secondly our stand point already has hopes for the end result of this investigation because we areemotionally attached to it. Essentially we would rather here of the process working one way ratherthan another, either because you don’t want your hypothesis to be proved wrong or you think itwould be “cool” if the process would act in that manner.Interviewer: You have identified two ways of knowing do you think there is a third way ofknowing involved in biology?Student: Yes. I think all four ways of knowing play a role, but others are more powerful and affectinvestigations more so than others. However I think there is a third and equally important way ofknowing that is present in biology, and that is language.Interviewer: Why do you think language is important to biology?Student: Well quite simply because language gives us a medium to disperse our finding to the restof the world. Without language there would be no common grounds of science because therewould be no common way of expressing ideas and explaining processes.Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to add to that?Student: Like the previous ways of knowing there are some limitations to language. And thelimitations seen in language are affected by another way of knowing, emotion. Because we areemotionally preset and have bias ideas on topics, our emotions and biases can be seen in thelanguage we use in writing up a report. This bias may cause us to describe things more powerfullythan others which can deceive either on purpose or accident the end results of the investigation.Interviewer: Now that you recognize the limitations of reason, emotion and language how will ithelp you approach learning in the future?Student: Well now that I understand the limitations of the ways of knowing, I will try to be aware ofhow different things affect my opinions and interpretation. I think this is especially important forbiology because when dealing with serious topics like medicines, and drugs, having preset biasescan make data appear differently then how it is, which in turn could possibly cost the lives of people.
So I will definitely think twice and read over all statements in my investigation before handing it inand try to prevent my own filters, and presets from contaminating knowledge.