TOK Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge

I want to keep this section simple – I had a chance to teach half of the TOK course and really enjoyed it, the net has so much on this and the course has so much potential that for myself, and maybe for others who are looking for material or pondering the questions the course explored I’m going to build some of what I used, and some of what I might of used had I not transfered into these pages.  If you have “stuff” you’d like to share and see included anywhere in the general pages, the “ways of knowing” or “areas of knowing” sections feel free to pass them over and I’ll add them quick as I can.

How do I know, what I know? Do I really know what I think I know or is it a belief?

Mahatma Ghandi

“My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question but to be consistent with the truth as it may present itself to me at a give moment” Gandhi


Key Questions: (drawn from Theory of Knowledge by Richard van de Lagemaat)

What is knowledge?

How does knowledge differ from belief?

What is the difference between knowledge, information and wisdom?

Should we seek the truth at any price, or are there some things we don’t need to know?

What is TOK?

It is a course of reflection and question – students are encouraged to be critical about what they know and how they have come to know it.

It is a course that challenges our beliefs, calls for an examination of our biases, assumptions, and prejudices

It is a course that should invite us to explore other perspectives and become more aware of our place in the world.

It is not a philosophy course – even though philosophy is discussed we are working to build understanding from what we are experiencing  in our life (the presentations require real world connection)

Assessment: While there is formative work, discussion posts in the online classroom, and expectations for considerable active participation that includes a need for reading, writing, and suggestions of maintaining a personal ‘journal’, the assessment is limited to two items. The TOK essay in April/May of the grade 12 year and the TOK Presentation targeted for completion at the end of the first semester of the grade 12 year.

Requirements: Students are required to study TOK for a total of 100 hours over the two years. Classes may be scheduled within the timetable, at flex, special Saturday morning “seminars” to best meet the busy schedule of our IB students and provide the best opportunity to cover the material. Online discussion time, though not significant contributes to the TOK conversation and is expected of all students.

Benefits: Participation in TOK should provide you with an opportunity to explore, to be curious, to push yourself to consider a different possibility and reflect on where you are and where you would like to go. Like most things in life your effort to ponder and explore, look beyond the parts that have been freely given to find more for yourself will determine the depth of the TOK benefits. Those who put in little, will take out little.

There are benefits in the IB program as well – of course. Completing TOK earns you points toward your IB diploma in conjunction with your extended essay.

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