Theory of Knowledge across the curriculum



“In all teaching, the teacher learns the most.”
[ Martin Heidegger, 1889-1976 ]

The aim of the IB Theory of Knowledge course - which is centred on the question “How do you know?”- is to help students to develop their critically thinking skills.TOK works most effectively when colleagues understand how it relates to their day to day teaching. Using a range of focussed examples and hands-on exercises, this one day INSET seeks to demonstrate the relevance of TOK to all IBDP teachers and to help schools to develop an integrated strategy to implement the programme. The workshop consists of four sessions:



Topics covered


1. Why Critical Thinking Matters

When we consider the difference between education and indoctrination, it quickly becomes apparent that teaching is by its very nature teaching to think. The cultivation of critical thinking skills is particularly important in the information age as an antidote to the mindless use of the Internet. It also serves the broader goals of international education by encouraging students to reflect on their cultural assumptions and develop an openness to other ways of looking at the world.


2. Double-Edged Knowledge Tools

According to the TOK diagram, there are four main “tools” for acquiring knowledge: sense perception, language, reason and emotion. However, each of these tools is double-edged and has both pros and cons.  We will look in detail at two of these tools and consider the role they play across the range of subject areas.


3. Subject Specific Examples

A key requirement for a successful TOK course is to use examples that students can easily access and relate to their own educational experience.  To capture the spirit of TOK, we will look at some examples of typical TOK activities in the various “Areas of Knowledge” - Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, History, the Arts, and Ethics.


4. Implementing the Programme

Once teachers are aware of, and sympathetic to, the aims and objectives of TOK, it is easier for them to support and contribute to the course.  In this  final session, we focus on some specific strategies for integrating TOK across the curriculum.  We conclude by relating TOK back to the broader goals of education.