11th Graders to Begin New IB Theory of Knowledge Curriculum in January 2021
November 30, 2020
The International Baccalaureate Diploma is unique amongst international education systems in part because of its "core." One key component of the core is a course in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and starting this January, Grade 11 students will be following the newly published Theory of Knowledge curriculum. This course aligns perfectly with Léman's mission, vision, and our work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The new TOK course is made up of three interconnected parts. Students will explore the core theme of knowledge and the knower, reflecting on themselves as knowers and thinkers, and considering the different communities of knowers to which they belong. Teachers select two additional themes - such as 'knowledge and indigenous societies' and 'knowledge and technology' - which will provide students an opportunity to take an in-depth look at topics that have a significant impact on the world today and play a key role in shaping people's perspectives and identities. Finally, students will explore the interconnectedness of five compulsory areas of knowledge (history, the human sciences, the natural sciences, mathematics, and the arts) each of which can be seen to have a distinct nature and sometimes use different methods of gaining knowledge (IBO, 2020).
Assessment for the new course will take the form of an externally graded, 1600-word TOK essay on one of six questions prescribed by the IBO. The essay will require students to show both depth and breadth of understanding issues of knowledge. Students will also create a TOK exhibition comprising three objects and an accompanying written commentary that assesses the students' ability to show how TOK manifests in the world around us. The exhibition is an internal assessment component; it will be marked by the teacher and be externally moderated by the IB.
What hasn't changed in the TOK course is the emphasis it puts on diversity and richness of different perspectives. Through their explorations in TOK, students are encouraged to share their ideas with others and to listen to and learn from what others think. TOK also challenges students to be intellectual risk-takers and to question what they hold to be true. In this way, it encourages students to gain and apply their knowledge with greater awareness and responsibility. Reflecting on how they may be wrong and how the world may seem to someone else helps students to become more aware of the assumptions and values that influence their thoughts and actions. In this way, the course helps students to reflect on their growing understanding of themselves and of the world around them (IBO, 2020).
Congratulations to all our current IB Diploma candidates for their hard work on all their IB courses including the core.