Theory of Knowledge

A core requirement of the IB programme, to study and develop a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is to analyse the nature and scope of knowledge. Chief among its concerns are

  • defining what knowledge is,
  • explaining if and how knowledge differs from non-knowledge,
  • better understanding and evaluating the methods by which we come to knowledge,
  • and addressing the challenge posed by scepticism (i.e., that we can never have knowledge).

To that end, the subject teaches students to

  • reflect on things that they have previously taken for granted;
  • critically re-evaluate previously trusted sources of information;
  • challenge previously held assumptions, prejudices, and biases;
  • and become more aware of the factors that have influenced their perspective and the perspective of others.

Discussion forms the backbone of the TOK course with TOK tutors mainly assuming the role of facilitator. Students are invited to consider knowledge questions not only against the backdrop of their experiences in their other Diploma Programme subjects, but also in relation to the practical experiences offered by the CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) programme and the formal research that takes place for the Extended Essay (EE). The experiences of the student outside school also have a role to play in these discussions, with an exploration of TOK seeking to strike a balance between the shared and personal aspects of knowledge.

Years 3 and 4 IP students undergo the Disciplines of Thought (DOT) programme as part of their preparatory course for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Years 5 and 6.