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TOK (Theory of Knowledge)

Course description and aims:

The TOK course

             TOK is a thoughtful reflection on what students claim to know and believe and what others profess as knowledge. It is a course that looks at the nature of knowledge across various fields or disciplines. It also explores the way we come to have that knowledge and how it is used in our personal, professional and political lives. The course is a well-defined exercise in critical thinking, but it is not an activity where, behind closed doors, students criticise their teachers and what they are taught. TOK does often become philosophical in nature, but it neither mean to prepare a student to study philosophy nor to master other people's thoughts.

             In other words, as a centrepiece of the IB Diploma Programme, TOK is an integral and valuable learning experience for all Diploma Programme students. The aims of the TOK course are for IELEV students as mentioned in the IB DP TOK Guide:

  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
  • develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions
  • critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives
  • understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action.

Syllabus outline and content:

Theory of Knowledge is foundational and basic for every student completing the IB Diploma, and it is assessed. Students will be asked to demonstrate their thinking skills on paper with an essay. They will also be asked to show an understanding about "knowledge at work in the world" through a verbal presentation. It is not a course that will be worth "seven points".

Essay on a prescribed title: The essay is a maximum 1600 word essay on 1 of 6 prescribed titles issued by IB.

Presentation: The presentation is approximately 10 minutes in length that can be done in a group of no more then 3 (each group member must present for approximately 10 minutes). The presentation must be accompanied by a planning document.