What is the Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?

Theory of Knowledge, better known as TOK  is one of the three core elements of the IB Diploma Program. It focuses on comparisons and connections between areas of knowledge and allows you to investigate and reflect on the nature of knowledge and the learning process.

This course encourages you to reflect on your knowledge, ideas, and opinions gleaned from your academic studies and think out of the box.

Course Outline:

The TOK curriculum is made up of three deeply interconnected parts.

Core theme—Knowledge and the knower:

This theme encourages students to reflect on themselves as knowers and thinkers and to consider the different communities of knowers to which we belong.

Optional themes:

This element provides an opportunity to take a more in-depth look at two out of five themes of particular interest to students. These themes all have a significant impact on the world today and play a key role in shaping people’s perspectives and identities.

  • Knowledge and Technology.
  • Knowledge and Language
  • Knowledge and Politics.
  • Knowledge and Religion
  • Knowledge and Indigenous Societies.

Areas of knowledge:

The areas of knowledge (AOK) are specific branches of knowledge with a distinct nature and showcase different methods of gaining knowledge. Students are required to explore these five areas of knowledge:

  • History
  • the human sciences
  • the natural sciences
  • mathematics
  • the arts.

Assessment Tasks:

There are two assessment tasks in the TOK course.

The TOK Exhibition:

It assesses the ability of the student to show how TOK manifests in the world around us.

  • This is internally assessed by the teacher and is externally moderated by the IB.
  • This contributes to 33% of the TOK assessment

The TOK Essay:

It engages students in a more formal and sustained piece of writing in response to a title focused on the areas of knowledge.

  • This is an external assessment marked by IB examiners.
  • This contributes to 67% of the TOK assessment.
  • The essay must be a maximum of 1,600 words and must be on one of the six prescribed titles issued by the IB for each examination session.

Assessment Objectives:

Students should be able to:

  • exhibit TOK thinking through critical analysis of knowledge questions
  • produce relevant, clear, and coherent arguments
  • identify and explore linkages between knowledge questions and the world around us
  • identify and explore links between knowledge questions and domains of knowledge
  • display awareness and appraisal of other points of view
  • consider the implications of arguments and conclusions
  • use examples and evidence effectively to support a debate

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