IB Learners Strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced, and Reflective. . .
“I know what I know, but how do I know it?”
Welcome BACK to Theory of Knowledge (TOK)! This course is designed as a “flagship element” of the IB Diploma Program by providing students with an opportunity for critical reflection and insight. “What makes TOK unique, and distinctively different from standard academic disciplines, is its process. At the center of the course is the student as knower. Students entering the Diploma Program typically have 16 years of life experience and more than 10 years of formal education behind them. They have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge, beliefs and opinions from academic disciplines and their lives outside the classroom. In TOK they have the opportunity to step back from this relentless acquisition of new knowledge, in order to consider knowledge issues.”
Course Description The course is the questions. The interdisciplinary theory of knowledge course is designed to develop a coherent approach to learning that transcends and unifies the academic areas and encourages appreciation of other cultural perspectives. The TOK course, encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself, to try to help young people make sense of what they encounter. Its core content is questions like these: What counts as knowledge? How does it grow? What are its limits? Who owns knowledge? What is the value of knowledge? What are the implications of having, or not having knowledge?
TOK activities and discussions aim to help students discover and express their views on knowledge issues. The course encourages students to share ideas with others and listen to and learn from what others think. In this process students’ thinking and their understanding of knowledge as a human construction are shaped, enriched, and deepened. Connections may be made between knowledge encountered in different Diploma Program subjects, in CAS experience or in extended essay research; distinctions between different kinds of knowledge may be clarified.
TOK’s interdisciplinary approach asks students to reflect on what they know and how they know it. Students engage in daily discussion, prepare presentations relevant to course content and respond to knowledge questions through their writing. The purpose of TOK is to force students to THINK, ultimately shaping them into well-rounded, open-minded, critically thinking lifelong learners.
Objectives: Having followed the TOK course, students should be able to:
Analyze critically knowledge claims, their underlying assumptions and their implications
Generate questions, explanations, conjectures, hypotheses, alternative ideas and possible solutions in response to knowledge issues concerning areas of knowledge, ways of knowing, and students’ experience as learners
Demonstrate an understanding of different perspectives on knowledge issues
Draw links and make effective comparisons between different approaches to knowledge issues that derive from areas of knowledge, ways of knowing, theoretical positions, and cultural values
Demonstrate an ability to give a personal, self-aware response to a knowledge issue
Formulate and communicate ideas clearly with due regard for accuracy and academic honesty