ToK - Theory of Knowledge

  • IB Theory of Knowledge                                                                 -Stagg, Room 1435

    Course Syllabus                                                                         randolph.stagg@spps.org

    Harding 2016-17                                                                        randolph.stagg@stpaul.k12.mn.us

     

    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, creating a record of their experiences in TOK. The purpose of TOK is to engage students in thinking, ultimately shaping them into well-rounded, open-minded, critically reflective lifelong learners.

     

    AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

    Aims

    The aims of the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) program are to engage students in reflection on, and in the questioning of, the bases of knowledge, so that they:

    • develop an understanding of why critically examining knowledge claims is important;
       
    • develop a critical capacity to evaluate beliefs and knowledge claims;
       
    • make interdisciplinary connections;
       
    • become aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge including personal and ideological biases;
       
    • consider that knowledge may place responsibilities on the knower;
       
    • understand the strengths and limitations of individual and cultural perspectives; and
       
    • develop a concern for rigor in formulating knowledge claims, and intellectual honesty.

    Objectives

    Through taking the Theory of Knowledge course, candidates should be able to:

    • demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the various Ways of Knowing and of the methods used in the different Areas of Knowledge;
       
    • demonstrate a capacity to reason critically;
       
    • make connections between and across Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge;
       
    • make connections between personal experience and different Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge;
       
    • demonstrate an understanding of knowledge at work in the world (in real life situations);
       
    • identify values underlying judgments and knowledge claims pertinent to local and global issues;
       
    • demonstrate an understanding that personal views, judgments and beliefs may influence their own knowledge claims and those of others; and
       
    • use oral and written language to formulate and communicate ideas clearly.

     

    IB TOK ASSESSMENTS:

    * External Assessment: One essay of 1300-1600 words that is developed from a list of prescribed topics that the IBO sends out in the Fall (your choice from five or six questions, usually). This essay is due in the early Spring. The essay will include analysis of a question, the use of at least two Ways of Knowing (WOKs) and two Areas of Knowledge (AOKs), as well as a consideration of real life situations (RLSs) and personal and shared knowledge.

    * Internal Assessment: One presentation, for 10-15 minutes, that uses several RLSs to explore TOK topics, at least two AOKs, and at least two WOKs.

     

    IB Theory of Knowledge Course Outline 2017-2018

    Lee Stagg, Harding High School

    Junior Year: Semester 2 / Quarter 3 [January to March]

     Introduction to TOK: Building Vocabulary; Knowers, Ways of Knowing

    • What are the types of knowledge?
    • What are the Ways of Knowing (WOKs)?
    • What are Areas of Knowledge (AOKs)?
    • What is a knowledge claim and/or knowledge question?
    • How do we receive, produce, and verify knowledge?
    • What is a Real Life Situation (RLS) and how is it specific to TOK?
    • What counts for evidence in diverse disciplines / AOKs?
    • Assessments briefly covered (big picture)
    • Vocabulary includes (but is not limited to): knowledge, justified(-ification), true, belief, claim, practical, factual, shared, personal, evidence, proof, paradigm, correlation, coincidence, causation, knowledge development, tacit

    Focus on the Areas of Knowledge: Group A; Math, Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, History

    • Students pick 2 AOKs from this group for personal focus, though all 4 are covered
    • Some big questions:
      • What does the Knowledge Framework for each area look like?
      • How do we gain knowledge in each area?
      • What is each area’s strength? Weakness?
      • What WOKs are most useful in each AOK?
      • What are the limitations of some WOKs for a given AOK?
      • How do the AOKs allow us to explore RLSs?
      • How do we understand knowledge claims in light of each AOK?
      • What does personal and shared knowledge look like for each AOK?
      • How are the AOKs related to each other (and to those in Group B, below)?

     

    Jr. Year: Semester 2 / Quarter 4 [April to June]

     Focus on the Areas of Knowledge: Group B; Arts, Ethics, Religious Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge

    • Students pick 2 AOKs from this group for personal focus, though all 4 are covered
    • Some big questions:
      • First eight, same as Group A above, and,
      • How are the AOKs related to each other (and to those in Group A, above)?
    • Introduction to assessments:
      • The TOK Presentation
        • Assessment criteria covered
        • Examples provided by teacher and the IBO OCC
        • Examples assessed by students
        • Presentation Planning Document PPD introduced
      • Brief intro to the TOK Essay (more in senior year)
      • Brief review of the research process and citing sources

     

    Notes:

    • Methods for Jr. Year TOK sections include (but are not limited to): a combination of journals, interviews of school staff, activities shared in small groups, some whole group instruction, small group presentations on students’ choices from Groups A & B, out-of-class explorations for RLSs
    • General Class Assessments for Jr. Year include (but are not limited to): short practice essay reflections on previous years’ prescribed titles; practice presentations in groups requiring connections between RLSs, AOKs, and WOKs; practice using/understanding the rubrics for both the essay and presentations

     

    Senior Year: Semester 1 / Quarter 1 [September to November]

    Review of AOKs from Junior year:

    • Review of vocabulary and questions covered at end of Junior year (above)
    • Bringing it together: Knowledge Framework applied across several AOKs, for example:
      • Arts and Human Sciences
      • Sciences and Indigenous Knowledge systems
      • History and Ethics
    • Guest speakers and presenters invited in to cover each AOK in specific details from a professional’s point of view
    • Review of roles of personal and shared knowledge within the AOKs
    • Some focused questions to review:
      • What is the scientific method and methodology?
      • Does the scientific method look different for different AOKs?
      • What roles have intuition and imagination played in the scientific process historically?
      • How are arguments constructed?
      • How are knowledge claims helpful in developing knowledge questions?
      • How do we account for bias? When is a point of view helpful? When not?
      • Can fiction tell the truth? How?
      • Can we come to understand Truth? The meaning of life? How would we know?
      • Do we construct meaning, or discover it? What does this mean?
    • Narrowing down of AOKs students will focus on for presentations and essays

    Essay in more depth:

    • Prescribed Titles considered and discussed / clarified
    • Planning and Progress Form (PPF) reviewed and started

    Presentation topics and RLSs considered:

    • Practice RLSs in small groups and move from basic to more complex (i.e., related to AOKs and WOKs more thoroughly)
    • The structure of the presentation is considered
    • Differences and similarities between the essay and presentation are covered
    • Practice PPDs are drafted and peer reviewed

     

    Sr. Year: Semester 1 / Quarter 2 [Late November to January]

    Presentation:

    • Topic / RLS for presentation narrowed
    • PPD finished
    • Presentations scheduled for Late November to early December

    Essay:

    • Two ‘pre-draft reflections’ of about 500 words are written on at least TWO titles for class discussion and to help narrow focus for eventual essay
    • Drafting of essay starts by November and is ready for review by mid December
    • PPF is completed
    • Essay is finished in December or early January

    Notes:

    • Methods for Sr. Year TOK sections include (but are not limited to): a combination of journals, interviews of school staff, activities shared in small groups, some whole group instruction, small group presentations and discussions around deeper connections between AOKs, WOKs, personal and shared knowledge, RLSs; out-of-class research spent on gathering drafts of RLSs to use for presentation; practice grading with rubric TOK presentation examples from the IBO
    • General Class Assessments for Sr. Year include (but are not limited to): short practice essays on previous years’ prescribed titles and discussion of how the rubric applies in grading these; assessment and grading of IBO TOK essay examples; practice presentations in groups requiring connections between RLSs, AOKs, and WOKs and applying rubric to practice sessions