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Theory of Knowledge +TOK

Theory of Knowledge, course 1 (+TOK1)

Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. It provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, to make connections between areas of knowledge and to become aware of their own perspectives and those of the various groups whose knowledge they share. 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. Students are required to study four ways of knowing and six areas of knowledge during the courses of TOK.

During the first course of TOK we will examine what is knowledge and what is critical thinking. We will introduce the basic concepts needed in studying TOK, and also focus on two ways of knowing; we will see how emotions and intuition affect, influence and shape what we know and how we know it. We will also practice using Moodle as an electronic learning environment during the course.

The aims of the TOK course are to:

  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
  • develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions
  • critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives
  • understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action.

Assessment: Active class participation (exercises, discussions, group work, presentations). An oral presentation.

Theory of Knowledge, course 2 (+TOK2)

During the second course of TOK we will continue with exploring the nature of knowledge, knowing and critical thinking. Our emphasis during this course is on three ways of knowing: sense perception, reason and language. We will for example try to unravel how language is used to influence and shape ideas and understandings, and how our sense perception may sometimes mislead us. We will also focus on one area of knowledge, namely ethics. We will explore different theories of ethics and contemplate on how ethical knowledge is used and understood. We will also take a look at several ethical dilemmas, including euthanasia, in trying to understand how these kinds of issues are resolved. We will also practice using Moodle as an electronic learning environment during the course.

The aims of the TOK course are to:

  • Identify and analyse the various kinds of justifications used to support knowledge claims.
  • Formulate, evaluate and attempt to answer knowledge questions.
  • Examine how academic disciplines/areas of knowledge generate and shape knowledge.
  • Understand the roles played by ways of knowing (focus on language, emotion, sense perception and reason) in the construction of shared and personal knowledge.
  • Explore links between knowledge claims, knowledge questions, ways of knowing and areas of knowledge.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of different perspectives and be able to relate these to one’s own perspective.

Assessment: Active class participation (exercises, discussions, group work, presentations). A test.

Theory of Knowledge, course 3 (+TOK3)

During the third course of TOK we will continue with exploring the nature of knowledge, knowing and critical thinking. Our emphasis during this course is on different areas of knowledge; how is knowledge built in mathematics, natural sciences (e.g. physics), human sciences (e.g. economics) and in arts. We will explore what makes each of these areas unique, how knowledge is constructed in them. We will also practice using Moodle as an electronic learning environment during the course.

The aims of the TOK course are to:

  • Understand the differences and similarities between the areas of knowledge discussed (mathematics, art, natural sciences and human sciences). Understanding how these areas of knowledge generate and shape knowledge.
  • Learn about the TOK essay writing process: how e.g. the different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge can and should be used when writing a TOK essay
  • How can knowledge questions be formulated, presented and discussed in a TOK essay.
  • Demonstrating critical thinking and knowledge claims in writing.

Assessment: Active class participation (exercises, discussions, group work, presentations). TOK essay. In the essay students will get to practice for the final assessment of TOK.

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