Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course about critical thinking and inquiry into the process of knowing, rather than a course about learning a specific body of knowledge. It plays a special role in the IB Diploma Programme by providing 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. It is a core element undertaken by all IB Diploma Programme students, and schools are required to devote at least one-hundred hours of class time to 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; in doing so, they develop an appreciation for the value of that question. This encourages students to nurture an enduring fascination with the richness of knowledge.
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 one’s own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible, and purposeful lives
- Understand that knowledge brings responsibility, which leads to commitment and action