Duration: 15 minutes. (10 minutes: student delivery of the oral; 5 minutes: teacher questions)
Weighting: 30% for SL, 20% for HL
The nature of the task
The individual oral addresses the following prompt.
Examine the ways in which the global issue of your choice is presented through the content and form of two of the works that you have studied.
Explanation of the task
The individual oral is based on the exploration the student has carried out in the learner portfolio. During this exploration process, the student will have investigated a series of works and a variety of global issues. In the lead-up to the individual oral, the student needs to make a decision about which global issue and which works will be explored in the task. Two works must be selected: one of them must be a text written originally in the language A studied and the other one must be a work in translation. An extract of no more than 40 lines should be selected from each work, which is representative of the presence of the global issue in it. In forms where the number of lines may not be applicable, teachers should be guided by the volume of text that can be discussed in sufficient depth in the time available.
Selection of works and extracts
The works selected must have a clear connection with the global issue. The individual oral should be a well-supported argument about the ways in which the works represent and explore the global issue. Students must select two extracts, one from each work, that clearly show significant moments when this global issue is being focused on. Normally, these extracts should not exceed 40 lines or present an unmanageable amount of material to be analysed. As the student brings unannotated copies of these extracts to the individual oral as supportive detail, extracts that are too lengthy may hinder the student’s ability to effectively expand the discussion to the work as a whole. An extract may, of course, be a complete text in itself (a whole poem, for example).
When the extract is taken from a literary text which is part of a larger work studied (for example, a short story), or when it is a complete text which is part of a work studied (for example, a poem), students should discuss relevant aspects of the broader work as a whole in their individual oral.
The extracts are meant to help students focus their responses, remove the need to learn quotations and enable them to explore more precise issues, such as style, specific devices and other distinct techniques used by authors to present the global issue. The choice of extracts should show the student’s understanding of the relevance of the extracts to the whole works and enable coverage of both larger and smaller choices made by the writers to shape their perspectives on the global issue.
Determining the global issue
A global issue incorporates the following three properties.
It has significance on a wide/large scale.
It is transnational.
Its impact is felt in everyday local contexts.
Students may look to one or more of the following fields of inquiry for guidance on how to decide on a global issue to focus their orals on. These topics are not exhaustive and are intended as helpful starting points for students to generate ideas and derive a more specific global issue on which to base their individual oral. It should also be noted that there is the potential for significant overlap between the areas.
Culture, identity and community
Students might focus on the way in which works explore aspects of family, class, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender and sexuality, and the way these impact on individuals and societies. They might also focus on issues concerning migration, colonialism and nationalism.
Beliefs, values and education
Students might focus on the way in which works explore the beliefs and values nurtured in particular societies and the ways they shape individuals, communities and educational systems. They might also explore the tensions that arise when there are conflicts of beliefs and values, and ethics.
Politics, power and justice
Students might focus on the ways in which works explore aspects of rights and responsibilities, the workings and structures of governments and institutions. They might also investigate hierarchies of power, the distribution of wealth and resources, the limits of justice and the law, equality and inequality, human rights, and peace and conflict.
Art, creativity and the imagination
Students might focus on the ways in which works explore aspects of aesthetic inspiration, creation, craft, and beauty. They might also focus on the shaping and challenging of perceptions through art, and the function, value and effects of art in society.
Science, technology and the environment
Students might focus on the ways in which works explore the relationship between humans and the environment and the implications of technology and media for society. They might also consider the idea of scientific development and progress.
In selecting the global issue for their oral, students must be careful not simply to select from the fields of inquiry above (which are too broad), but to determine a specific issue for discussion that can be reasonably explored in a 10-minute oral. The global issue chosen for consideration should be significant on a wide scale, be transnational in nature, and be an issue that has an impact felt in everyday local contexts. The issue should be clearly evidenced in the extracts/works chosen.
For example, within the field of “Culture, identity and community”, the theme of gender in itself might be unsuitably broad for an individual oral. A student interested in this theme might explore instead how gender bias manifests itself in different contexts, how this can be evidenced in many ways in works of many sorts, and how different authorial choices will determine what is meant by “gender bias” and whether or not bias should be viewed positively or negatively, allowing the students to evaluate the writer’s choices and the impact they might have on the different readers’/viewers’ understanding.
The oral itself will only be concerned with the aspects of the global issue relevant to the two works chosen. The student should ensure the oral offers a balanced approach, giving approximately equal attention to both works. Thus, it is important that the student selects extracts/works that offer equally sufficient material for the discussion.
The learner portfolio and the individual oral
The learner portfolio is not specifically assessed but it is an important place for students to explore and reflect upon their works in relation to global issues.
In relation to the preparation of the individual oral, the learner portfolio provides an opportunity for students to:
keep an ongoing record of the different global issues that could be related to each of the works they read
explore links that could be established between different works on the basis of common global issues they address
explore how key passages in the works they have studied represent different or similar perspectives on one global issue through both form and content
trace the evolution of their thinking and planning in connection with the global issue and how its cultural value, its definition and application to the works they read have changed through their inquiry
reflect on the challenges that the internal assessment poses for them as individual learners.
Conduct of the individual oral
Students have the flexibility to use any of the works from their course of study up until the time of the assessment. It should be remembered that texts chosen for the individual oral cannot then be used for any other assessment component. Students should select their own oral topics. Teachers should monitor and guide students in their selection of viable global issues, relevant works/texts and effective choice of extracts, but they should not suggest topics to students nor tell them what to do. Although teachers play a critical role in helping students prepare, this must be a student inspired and created oral.
The oral may be conducted at any time after a significant number of the works have been studied in the course (for example, seven of the thirteen works at HL and five of the nine works at SL). All of the works used for the oral need to be featured as part of the teaching of the course. It is recommended that the oral takes place either in the last part of the first year of the course or the first part of the second year of the course.
The place and time of the oral is chosen by the teacher. Teachers may, if they wish, conduct all the orals on one day or over several days. Students must be given adequate notice of when the oral will take place.
Schools will be provided with a form for students to create an outline of their oral. Students should prepare the outline in advance and this will provide a springboard for their oral. Students may not read the outline as a prepared script. The form will allow students to note a maximum of 10 bullet points to help provide structure to their oral. Individual bullet points must not be excessively long. Schools will be required to keep all copies of the outline form on file until after the issue of results. In order to determine authenticity of student performance, schools may be required to submit these forms to IB.
Copies of the extracts chosen by the student must be provided to the teacher for approval at least one week before the individual oral assessment takes place. Teachers will then have their own copies of the extracts during the assessment and these may help the teacher frame suitable questions for the student.
The extracts must be clean, unmarked copies; the student may only take the extracts and the outline into the room where the individual oral assessment will take place.
The individual oral takes place between the student and teacher. The teacher asks questions to probe further into the student’s knowledge and understanding of the extracts/texts and their analysis of the choices made by the authors in relation to the global issue chosen. In the case of less confident students, teachers must encourage them to give them the opportunity to expand on unsubstantiated or inadequate statements.
The individual oral lasts 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions by the teacher.
The individual oral is internally assessed and externally moderated by the IB. Audio recordings of the oral, together with the relevant extracts, are required for the purpose of moderation. To this end, all materials and recordings must be clearly and accurately assembled and kept. Care must also be taken to provide a suitably quiet environment for the recordings.