Theory of Knowledge
(TOK) is a critical thinking course that teaches students how to analyze information and to clearly justify their opinions. The focus of the TOK course is to help students express their beliefs while examining, but not condemning, the beliefs of others.
TOK students study the effects of four key elements:
How do each of these four ways of knowing influence the decision making process How do they impact our actions? How do they shape our knowledge in mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, art, ethics, and politics? Bias, prejudice, propaganda, and faulty reasoning are also closely examined and thoroughly discussed in TOK. The TOK course is required of all IB Diploma candidates.
Unique to the IB Program, TOK in not another name for philosophy. The course reflects only one aspect of the study of philosophy, the goals of TOK are to encourage a philosophical cast of mind and to promote clarity of thought and good judgement. The TOK course is taken second semester of your junior year and first semester of your senior year.
TOK encourages students to reflect on all aspects of their work throughout their junior and senior years. TOK is intended to stimulate critical reflection on the knowledge and experiences that students gain inside and outside the classroom. The class challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, be aware of subjective and ideological biases, and develop the ability to analyze evidence.
TOK includes four categories:
- Knowers and Knowing
- Ways of Knowing
- Areas of Knowledge
- Linking Questions
In addition, TOK encourages students to become aware of themselves as thinkers, be conscious of the complexity of knowledge, and recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected world. TOK is a key element in encouraging students to appreciate other cultural perspectives. Students must submit one twelve hundred to sixteen hundred word essay, choosing a topic from a list of essay titles supplied by the IB Organization. The TOK teacher and an outside grader evaluate the essays.