Morgan park high school 1744 west pryor avenue chicago, illinois 60643 Instructor

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Instructor: Alban Jervier B.A. Secondary Education w/History Major, Northeastern

Illinois University

M.A.E. Instruction and Curriculum, Olivet Nazarene


M.A. Political & Justice Studies: International Relations,

Governors State University

Course: IB-Theory of Knowledge

Main Office Phone: 773-535-2550



Link to Parent Portal:

Link to Student Portal:
Course Overview:

IB Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary course that asks students to reflect on what they know and how they know it. Students engage in daily discussions, prepare presentations relevant to course content, and write regularly while keeping a journal of their work. The course is 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 affect their perspectives and influence their decisions.  The course is also 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.

The aims of the TOK course are to:

  • develop a fascination with the richness of knowledge as a human endeavor, and an understanding of the empowerment that follows from reflecting upon it

  • develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed, by communities and individuals

  • encourage students to reflect on their experiences as learners, in everyday life and in the Diploma Program, and to make connections between academic disciplines and between thoughts, feelings and actions

  • encourage an interest in the diversity of ways of thinking and ways of living of individuals and communities, and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions, including participants’ own

  • encourage consideration of the responsibilities originating from the relationship between knowledge, the community and the individual as citizen of the world.


Having followed the TOK course, students should be able to:

  • 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.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Key Ideas and Details

  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. RH.11-12.2

  • Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas. RH.11-12.2


  • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of text. (RL/RI.11-12.1)


  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics/texts. (W.11-12.1)

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing that are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W. 11-12.4)

  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, or rewriting text in a way that addresses a significant purpose and audience. (W. 11-12.5)

  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question, narrow the inquiry, and/or synthesize multiple sources on the subject. (W. 11-12.7)

  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (W. 11-12.9)

Assessment Criteria:

Please see external and internal assessment criteria published by the IBO and distributed to students in rubrics that apply to written and oral work for the course, in addition to the grading policies noted below. Please see IBO Diploma Points Matrix for diploma points awarded for successful completion of the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge assessments. The external assessment for TOK is weighted at 40 points, applicable to the final IBO grade in TOK, while the internal assessment (the formal oral presentation and self-evaluation report) is weighted at 20 points. Students may continue to revise their prescribed title and Extended Essay until the deadlines set on our timeline. All graded assignments will be posted in Grade-book every Tuesday and Thursday unless specified otherwise.

Grading Scale Weighting Scale

Letter Grade

Percent Range (%)













Mid-term/Semester Finals




IB Assessments/ Projects






Late Assignments
Students who are absent for excused or foreseen reasons should notify the instructor before the absence and turn in the assigned work before their absence.  Students who need to turn in late work due to an excused absence are given the same number of calendar days that they were absent to turn in the work for full credit. Students who miss class due to an unexcused absence will receive 50% credit for work and assessments completed from the class missed. Late work for unexcused absences is given the same number of calendar days that they were absent to turn in the work for partial credit - 50%.

Grade Recovery Assistance:

Students are advised to maximize their participation in all aspects of the course. Missing numerous classes or assignments will negatively affect class performance and the IB exam outcome. Participation requires thorough preparation of the reading for each class, careful listening, and respectful, meaningful, and productive verbal contribution. * Meet with teacher outside of class to discuss issues of assignments and the curriculum.

Required Course Materials

•    Theory of Knowledge - By Eileen Dombrowski et al.

•    2” Binder with tabbed dividers

•    Lined Paper

•    Writing utensil

Note: Various handouts of primary and secondary resources

  • Students are expected to arrive to class ON-TIME, QUIETLY AND PREPARED FOR INSTRUCTION.

  • Students arriving late to class are expected to provide a written excuse from an authorized school official to be admitted.

  • An absence from school will require a reinstatement to class from the attendance office.

  • Students are expected to wear their Morgan Park IDs at all times.  

  • Students are expected to put all headgear in their locker and keep it there until the end of the school day.  Headgear, including headbands, head scarves and hoodies, may not be worn by males or females in the building.  (Religious exemptions to this rule must be on file in the Dean’s office.)

  • Electronic devices (e.g. iPods, tablets, etc.) are not to be used in the classroom unless incorporated in student instruction.  

  • Students shall be respectful.  Profanity, vulgar language and gestures have no place at Morgan Park High School.  ALL teachers will foster positive student/teacher and student/student interactions including both words and actions.

  • Food/Beverages are not to be consumed in the classroom.

  • Dress or grooming which is distracting to the education process is prohibited.  Skirts and shorts must be at least fingertip length and clothing cannot advocate objectionable or illegal activities.   Pants should be worn at the natural waistline.

  • Outer clothing such as heavy jackets and overcoats cannot be worn in the classroom.

Course Outline

Year I (Semester I)

Introduction to TOK

(Knowledge claims and knowledge questions; personal and shared knowledge; introduction to WOKs; introduction to AOKs and the knowledge framework)

AOK: Human sciences

(Spotlight on perception and language)

AOK: Natural sciences

(Spotlight on reason and perception)

Practice presentations

TOK Presentation

Scope: What is the TOK Presentation?, Components of the TOK Presentation - TOK Presentation Rubric, Finding Knowledge, Questions in Real-Life Situations, How to Develop Great Arguments, How Should My Presentation Look?

AOK: Religious knowledge systems

(Spotlight on faith and reason)

Year I (Semester II)
TOK Presentations
AOK: Ethics

(Spotlight on reason and language)

Practice TOK essay

Using four completed knowledge framework summaries to help, answer the following question: To what extent are the various areas of knowledge defined by their methodologies rather than their content?

TOK essays

Final TOK essays on the official prescribed titles

School-based Exam using IB assessment guideline.

Year II (Semester I)


(Knowledge claims and knowledge questions; personal and shared knowledge; review WOKs; interpretation of AOKs and the knowledge framework)

AOK: History

History and the knowledge framework

WOKs and history

AOK: The arts

(Spotlight on imagination and perception)

Sense perception, emotion, reason and language as ways of knowing

How do WOKs work in tandem?

AOK: Indigenous Knowledge

(Spotlight on reason as a way of knowing)

Students develop and practice TOK presentations/projects, individually or in partnership

Year II (Semester II)

Practice TOK essay

Using your four completed knowledge framework summaries to help you, answer the following question: To what extent are the various areas of knowledge defined by their methodologies rather than their content?

AOK: Mathematics

(Spotlight on reason and imagination)

What do we take away from TOK?

TOK Extended Essay/Administrative assessment Exam

TOK (Extended Essay)

Scope: What is the Extended Essay?, What is a Researcher?, Approved Subject Areas, Extended Essay Rubric, Formulating a Research Question, Creating a Working Outline, The Essay Supervisor Partnership, Plagiarism, Credible Sources, and Making


TOK Prescribed Title

Scope: What is the TOK Paper?, Prescribed Question Essay, TOK Paper Rubric, How to Answer the Prescribed Question, Sources, and Deadlines




Dr. Carolyn Epps


Ms. Gail Tennial

Mr. Edward Rosa
TELEPHONE: (773) 535-2550

FAX: (773) 535-2706
Dear Students and Parent(s)/Guardian(s),
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year at Morgan Park High School! This course will be engaging, daunting, rewarding, interesting, and, at times, fun. It is my firm belief that student success can be achieved when we work in partnership: teacher, student, and parent/s.

In order to maximize your teenager’s education, I ask that you view my page once a week on the Morgan Park website, It is at this site that you can view our daily assignments and upcoming projects and tests. In addition, I ask that you complete the attached introductory questionnaire so that I know the best way to communicate with you. I look forward to working with your teenager, and I hope to meet you at our Parent Night or Report Card Pick-Up. If you wish to contact me, please email me at or call me at (773)535-2550.

In addition, please keep up to date with your child’s grade and attendance by logging on to the IMPACT parent portal .
If your child experiences any difficulty in the class, the following steps may be initiated by the parent, the student or the teacher: 1) Schedule a conference to discuss the problem and arrive at solutions. 2) Arrange for the student to meet with the teacher after school for additional help. 3) Enroll the student in after-school tutoring when it becomes available at the school. I ask that you view the attached syllabus for additional support. I look forward to a wonderful school year!

Alban Jervier

Please sign and return this confirmation of having received the Parent Letter.

I have read the IB (Theory of Knowledge) syllabus and Parent letter, and am aware of the objectives, assessments, grading and expectations for the course.

______________________________________ ____________________________________

Student’s Name (Print) Class Period Parent’s Signature


Student’s Signature

Please circle your preferred method of communication.
Parent’s cell # ____________________________________________________________________

If cell phone is your preferred method of communication, would you like to receive text messages (Y / N?)

Parent’s email ____________________________________________________________________

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