Forging Critical Thinkers Through IBDP's Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)

What is orange? Is it the color named after the fruit, or vice versa? How often do you wonder if the things you accept to be facts are actually truthful? Theory Of Knowledge (TOK) provides an opportunity for International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know. Students develop skills for critical analysis and thought. They explore how what we know can be influenced by personal bias, cultural and geographical circumstances, and other factors.

In this 2-years’ long course - TOK - each student examines the Core Theme (Knowledge and the Knower), two Optional Themes (Knowledge and technology, Knowledge and language, Knowledge and indigenous societies, Knowledge and politics, or Knowledge and religion), as well as various Areas of Knowledge (History, Human Sciences, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and The Arts). The course aims to provide a space for students to reflect on themselves as knowers and thinkers. A key theme of the characteristics of the IB Learner.

TOK presenter during 2018 - 2019 school year

At the forefront of discussions and class activities will be the processes of knowledge acquisition, verification, presentation, ownership, reliability, and similar ‘knowledge issues’. Each theme will be explored via four key elements: Scope, Perspectives, Methods and tools, and Ethics. In class, we will use knowledge questions to examine the knowledge claims made from various knowledge perspectives. Some of the core knowledge questions discussed in TOK classes are: 

  • How do we know? 
  • How do we know this is true? 
  • What makes us be certain about what we claim to know? 
  • What are the issues of knowledge (its acquisition/ verification/ justification presentation)? 
  • How is knowledge generated, verified, presented, evaluated in different contexts, such as language, technology, religion, etc.? 
  • What ethical considerations arise out of methods of acquiring knowledge in different AOK contexts and/or how we apply the knowledge that we have? 

Students showcase their critical thinking skills in an essay, a TOK exhibition, and 3 personally chosen real-life objects. The Essay is written in response to one of the 6 prescribed essay titles. Through the TOK exhibition and the chosen subjects, students demonstrate their thinking about knowledge questions. 

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