Theory Of Knowledge               Mr. Krause

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”  Chinese proverb

Aims of the Course

The overall aim of TOK is to encourage students to formulate answers to the question “how do you know?” in a variety of contexts, and to see the value of that question. This allows students to develop an enduring fascination with the richness of knowledge.

Specifically, the aims of the TOK course are for students to:

1. Make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and         the wider world.

2. Develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically         examined.

3. Develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives and an awareness of personal and         ideological assumptions.

4. Critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful         lives.

5. Understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action.

Materials and methods of instruction:  Lecture, demonstrations, individual or group work, slides, video, magazines, games, activities and resource books will all be utilized during instruction.  Students will keep an accurate record of all instruction in their TOK Journal.  

Attendance:  Students will have 2 days to complete missed work from an absence. Excused absences will be allowed to receive full credit. Unexcused absences will only receive a maximum of 50%. If work is not completed in the 2 day time period the grade will remain a zero. Students are responsible for asking for all make-up work occurring because of an absence. Night Class- Every Missed class will require a written 2 page Make-up Essay.

Tardy students will be asked to do extra clean-up at the end of the period. Continued tardiness will grant further discipline.

Grading procedures:  Based on points earned daily and portfolio:

        30%-Extended Essay Deadlines, Etc. 

30%- Active Class Participation and Punctuality

40% - Journal, Essays and Presentations- Periodic Progress Checks and Completed Assignments

A  = 90% - 100%         B =80% - 89.9%         C =70% - 79.9%         D=60% -69.9%                 F = Below 60%  


Improvement Policy: When project is graded and returned, students will have ONLY 2 weeks to improve their work and re-submit for re-grading!!!  After 2 weeks project grades will not be changed. Projects must be turned in on the deadline date, even if not finished. If nothing is turned on the deadline date, students will receive a zero and not be allowed the 2 week improvement time. Improved grade will then REPLACE the previous grade


Homework:  Outside of class time the student will collect and do research, complete written reflections, update TOK Journal and complete make-up work. Summer Reading will be assessed in the second Semester.   Assignments are carefully constructed for student success; therefore, no extra credit points are available.

Projects:  Numerous Classroom Activities, Updating journal, Reading the course text and journaling “Sophie’s  World” Practice Presentations/TOK Presentations, Practice Essays/TOK Essay (prescribed titles)

Major Assessments: Final ToK Presentation, ToK Essay on Prescribed Title (no more than 1,600 words), Presentation for IB Exhibition Night

In-class unique experiences that cannot be made up:  Guest speakers, demonstrations, and special workshops cannot be repeated.  Therefore, the student is responsible for copying missed notes from a classmate.

Final Exam:  To enhance the academic atmosphere a final exam will culminate this class. You must be on TIME!!

Group Work:  All group members participate in and are responsible for all activities, group members must resolve their own disputes for presentations.  

Engaging with sensitive and/or controversial topics:  Studying TOK allows the opportunity for students to engage with exciting, stimulating and personally relevant topics and issues. However, it should be noted that such topics and issues can also be sensitive and personally challenging. Students and parents should be aware of this.  Engagement with such topics will be conducted in a responsible, appropriate and thoughtful manner by all parties.

Help Availability:  Students have the responsibility to complete missed work and instruction.  Teacher will be available in the art rooms during or before/after school by appointment.  USE THIS TIME!!!

IB Assessment: must be completed and deadlines must be eligible for Matriculation.

No texting or phone calls during class, Use of technology is academic (not social) during class. See student handbook.

Classroom Policies/Ground Rules: Be Courteous and Respectful.

Students and parents please sign after you have read this coversheet and return it to class. This shows your understanding of the expectations for this class.

Student Name_____________________________________        Phone #_________________                                

Student Signature ____________________________ Date        ________________________                        

Parent Name________________________________        Phone # _____________                                

Parent Signature___________________________  Date _________________________________                                        


Summarize and reflect on the Nature of the Subject in your TOK Journal, using writing, mathematical/scientific notation, drawing or other forms of recording.

Nature of the subject

TOK plays a special role in the Diploma Programme by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge. The task of TOK is to emphasize connections between areas of knowledge and link them to the knower in such a way that the knower can become aware of his or her own perspectives and those of the various groups whose knowledge he or she shares. TOK, therefore, explores both the personal and shared aspects of knowledge and investigates the relationships between them.

The raw material of TOK is knowledge itself. Students think about how knowledge is arrived at in the various disciplines, what the disciplines have in common and the differences between them. The fundamental question of TOK is “how do we know that?” The answer might depend on the discipline and the purpose to which the knowledge is put. TOK explores methods of inquiry and tries to establish what it is about these methods that makes them effective as knowledge tools. In this sense, TOK is concerned with knowing about knowing.

The individual knower has to try to make sense of the world and understand his or her relationship to it. He or she has at his or her disposal the resources of the areas of knowledge, for example, the academic disciplines studied in the Diploma Programme. He or she also has access to ways of knowing such as memory, intuition, reason and sense perception that help us navigate our way in a complex world.

It is easy to be bewildered by the sheer diversity of the knowledge on offer. For example:

In each case above there is clearly knowledge at work, although the collection as a whole illustrates a wide variety of different types of knowledge. The task of TOK is to examine different areas of knowledge and find out what makes them different and what they have in common.

At the centre of the course is the idea of knowledge questions. These are questions such as:

While these questions could seem slightly intimidating in the abstract, they become much more accessible when dealt with in specific practical contexts within the TOK course. They arise naturally in the subject areas, the extended essay and CAS. The intention is that these contexts provide concrete examples of knowledge questions that should promote student discussion.

Discussion forms the backbone of the TOK course. Students are invited to consider knowledge questions against the backdrop of their experiences of knowledge in their other Diploma Programme subjects but also in relation to the practical experiences offered by CAS and the formal research that takes place for the extended essay. The experiences of the student outside school also have a role to play in these discussions, although TOK seeks to strike a balance between the shared and personal aspects of knowledge.

Recognizing the discursive aspect of the course, the TOK presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation. The TOK essay gives the opportunity to assess more formal argumentation prompted by questions of a more general nature.

TOK is a course in critical thinking but it is one that is specifically geared to an approach to knowledge that is mindful of the interconnectedness of the modern world. “Critical” in this context implies an analytical approach prepared to test the support for knowledge claims, aware of its own weaknesses, conscious of its perspectives and open to alternative ways of answering knowledge questions. It is a demanding course but one that is an essential component not only of the Diploma Programme but of lifelong learning.