Teaching theory of knowledge for the first time is a daunting task. A high proportion of TOK educators are not involved with it because they’ve chosen to teach it, and some educators even view the course as drawing the short straw.
There’s no clear examined curriculum; it’s mandatory – so students in your classroom are there because they have to be, rather than because they’ve chosen to be; the nature of TOK itself is nebulous – is it philosophy? Critical thinking? Content-based or skills-based? How should it be approached?
The opportunity of TOK
As the best TOK teachers always discover, though, the massive ask quickly becomes a massive opportunity. The fact that there’s no clear examined curriculum means you can cherry-pick an array of fascinating topics that play to both your strengths and those of your students. The fact that all students have to do it means that you have to hand a much broader range of expertise and interests to draw on. And the nature of TOK is a fantastic combination of all those things – philosophy, critical thinking, content and skills – plus a great deal more.
In fact, being given responsibility for TOK is akin to winning the lottery for a teacher. TOK is a dynamic course which you can build yourself, it’s one that tests, teases, and challenges the students, and it genuinely presents them (and you) with the opportunity to have life-changing experiences in (and out) of the classroom. The only danger is that it will take over your life, and you’ll begin to see TOK in every experience you have!
Find out more about teaching TOK
Authentic critical thinking
All our teaching and learning resources are based on the principle of authentic critical thinking (ACT). Find out how this informs our approach to TOK here.
Aims and structure of TOK
We tie the theory of knowledge course to the ‘4Cs’ of education – critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Find our more here.
Knowledge questions are central to the course, so it’s vital to build up an understanding of what they are, and how to handle them. Find out more here.
Structuring your course
There are a number of ways you can structure an effective TOK course. One way is to turn your study units into questions, as we discuss on this page.
Tracking student learning
It’s vital to keep track of your students’ progress, and provide meaningful feedback to help them develop their understanding of the concepts and thinkers we encounter during the TOK course. Read more here.
Self-guided TOK learning
In this era of online teaching and learning, it’s vital to plan TOK so it can be approached in an autonomous way by students. There are a number of ways you can do this – find out more here.
Follow us on social media
Depending on your social media poison, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn. We post regular updates about what’s going on at theoryofknowledge.net, links to news stories that relate to different aspects of TOK, or just cool things that we’ve spotted going on in the world.