The Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary course designed to challenge students to develop the skills to analyze, reflect upon and critique the bases of their accumulated knowledge and systems for processing and acquiring knowledge. The students will explore the question of how they know what they know.
To achieve this end, the student will be encouraged to analyze the problems associated with “knowing” and recognize the emotional, linguistic and cultural norms that effect their perspectives and influence their decisions. The course is designed to challenge assumptions of truth, knowledge, certainty and evidence. The students will develop the skills to critique sources, develop an awareness of themselves as “knowers” and assume ownership of the course by developing their own coherent approach to learning that transcends and unifies academic areas (mathematics, natural science, social science, history, art and ethics).
The students will examine the impact of the filters of knowledge: emotion, logic, language and perception upon their understanding of the broader areas of knowledge. They will examine their ways of knowing within the context of multicultural beliefs, varying views of evidence, interpretation and intuition.
Analyze critically knowledge claims, their underlying assumptions and their implications
Generate questions, explanations, conjectures, hypotheses, alternative ideas and possible solutions in response to knowledge issues concerning areas of knowledge, ways of knowing and students’ own experience as learners
Demonstrate an understanding of different perspectives on knowledge issues
Draw links and make effective comparisons between different approaches to knowledge issues that derive from areas of knowledge, ways of knowing, theoretical positions and cultural values
Demonstrate an ability to give a personal, self-aware response to a knowledge issue
Formulate and communicate ideas clearly with due regard for accuracy and academic honesty.
Part 1: The TOK Essay: External Assessment (40 points)
The Essay will be on one of six Prescribed Titles (1200-1600 words). Students will be encouraged and supported in writing the essay; however, the work will be their own. The essay is due at the end of December/ beginning of January.
Part 2: The TOK Presentation: Internal Assessment (20 points)
Students will complete a group presentation on topics relevant to TOK and complete a self-evaluation report. These presentations are on a subject of the groups’ choosing, but will follow guidelines as set by the IB programme. The presentation is intended to be a substantial learning component of the course.
NOTE:A student who fails to submit a TOK essay or who fails to make a presentation will not be awarded an IB diploma regardless of diploma points earned or grades in other IB courses. Performance in both Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay of an Elementary Standard is a failing condition for the award of the diploma.
Diploma Points Matrix
Points awarded for the externally assessed component, part 1, the essay on a prescribed title (40 points), and for the internally assessed component, part 2, the presentation (20 points), are combined to give a total out of 60. The grade boundaries are then applied, to determine the band (A to E) to which the student’s performance in TOK belongs.
40% Marking Period 1
40% Marking Period 2
60% Major Assessments
• Tests, Major Alternative Assessments, TOK Presentations, TOK Essay,
• Minor Assessments, Quizzes, Activities, Homework
All assignments are due at the beginning of the period that the particular section meets, or at the given time/date in the case of electronic assignments. Unless there is a legitimate school absence, no credit may be given for late homework or minor assessments. In the event an absence, students should hand in any owed assignments immediately upon returning to school and will have 24 hours to make up any work missed, unless the instructor provides a special exemption. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what it was that they missed, and to make up work or obtain class notes. In the event of a prolonged absence, special arrangements should be made through the guidance department.
Late Major assignments will have a 10% reduction in grade per school day.
Plagiarism can be understood as either the intentional or unintentional use of another’s ideas or words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Academic dishonesty may include handing in another’s work as your own, cheating on an assignment/test/project, or the unauthorized reuse of an assignment created for another class. Both plagiarism and academic dishonesty are serious violations and may result in disciplinary action against the student/s according to the student handbook.
Students are expected to be respectful & attentive in class. Class participation is an essential component of the course. Students must prepare before class to be able to successfully contribute to it. Participation is a significant part of the course grade.
To be counted as on time to class, you must be in your seat with what you are required to bring that day (binder, assignments, pens/pencils) and be ready to work when the bell rings. Otherwise, you will be counted as late to class.
Follow all school rules at all times within the classroom. Respect everyone and always follow your conscience when making a decision or participating in a discussion. Always allow me to teach and others to learn.
Students are expected to check the wiki and/or their email regularly for any assignments given.
Many of our assignments will be submitted electronically this year. Please be prepared to satisfy those requirements.
Questions & Concerns
If you have a question or concern about class work, want to schedule make-up assignments, or have a question about a grade, I am always available to meet with you by appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Listed below are a series of personal, educational principles I believe to be paramount to success for this class and its students.
I believe that education and learning are ways of life, and do not simply occur from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
I believe that all students can learn, but not all students learn in the same way.
I believe in an active, democratic classroom where students feel respected by their teacher and their peers.
I believe that learning takes place on an individual and group level, that cooperation and collaboration are hallmarks of a successful environment.
I believe that the material engaged throughout this course is meaningful and influential to a student’s growth and development.