Theory of Knowledge is one out of three core elements of IB and is a mandatory part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP). TOK is not focused on one specific body of knowledge. According to the official IB website, TOK provides the student with, "the opportunity to reflect on the acquisition and production of knowledge, question the claims that we make about knowledge and inquire into the nature of knowledge itself." It involves 100 teaching hours over the two years of the DP.
Theory of Knowledge involves the process of knowing in what way students and learners acquire, produce and gain knowledge. TOK is designed with the purpose of allowing students to analyse and evaluate the process of acquisition of knowledge in the different areas, disciplines or branches of knowledge which are known as the areas of knowledge. All the areas of knowledge are distinct in the understanding that it claims to produce and the methods it uses to arrive at that information. Ways of knowing is the methodology used to examine areas of knowledge.
Areas of Knowledge
Ways of Knowing
Over all, the purpose of TOK is to for students to participate in the Diploma Programme by analysing the key characteristics of the six streams they study. Students are expected to think about how the knowledge in different disciplines is concluded and whether disciplines differ in their methodology and the various aspects they have in common. Students are motivated to compare different areas of knowledge and the ways of knowing that they use against each other in order to gain knowledge. They are expected to be critical and evaluate the success of the ways of knowing in acquiring knowledge and the different claims that the areas of knowledge make.
The TOK evaluation is split in two parts:
1. TOK Essay
A 1600 word essay is to be writeen which will be evaluated by external examiners. Each student gets to choose one out of six topics issued by IB. A student is expected to put forth claims and counterclaims, interconnecting knowledge issues to areas of knowledge and ways of knowing and substantiating original sense of thinking. Essays should not exceed the 1600 word limit. In the event it does, the essay will not be read by the examiner and one mark will be deducted as penalty. The essay has four criterion of evaluation.
2. TOK Presentation
A 10 minute oral presentation is to be delivered in the class. It can be in the form of a debate, interview, skits, etc. The only exception being reading aloud which is not permitted. The topic should be realted to real life situations and can be done individually or a team of either 2 or 3. The student should explain the significance of the topic and connect to a knowledge question and examine the implications of approaching the question from a different angle. The oral presentation is internally scored using four assessment criterion.
The total score is converted into grades between A* to E. If an student does not submit either the TOK essay or TOK presentation, or receives a failing grade of E for either the extended essay or theory of knowledge, they will not recieve the diploma.
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