Self-guided TOK

Self-guided TOK lessons

In this era of online teaching and learning, it’s vital to plan your TOK lessons so they can be approached in an autonomous way by students. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, but key to success is ensuring that you don’t just rely on a textbook to deliver the course. As well as offering a monthly newsletter, which keeps the course absolutely fresh, we also offer self-guided versions for all our lessons.

What do we mean by ‘self-guided’?

Self-guided lessons are ones that students carry out on their own. They can be used within a ‘flipped’ classroom to provide your students with access to key ideas or skills, and which can then be discussed when you meet students online, or in the physical classroom. There are a number of ways you can create great lessons that work without you standing over the shoulders of your students. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

  • Lessons should be based on engaging, interesting concepts and topics. This means choosing genuinely interesting ideas, which are explored by relevant, up-to-date real-life situations.
  • SG lessons should be media rich, engaging, and fun. There are lots of ways to get TOK ideas across, but the more media rich (short videos, podcasts, social media posts, articles, etc.) and varied the better.
  • Lessons should be based on a clear learning objective, which can be (relatively) easily evaluated. You should be used to planning lessons that are built on an assessable LO, but when you’re setting a lessons that will be run without you able to explain it, this is even more important. Having a LO that can also function as your exit task is a great way of doing this.
  • Use an online classroom platform. Google Classroom is fantastic for setting work, and providing feedback to your students. The simple rule of only expecting them to carry out work that is posted on GC is a very good one. You can also use Google Classroom to post the exit task (see above) as a question – which you can then easily provide feedback on.
  • Activities and tasks should be clearly explained, with additional support for learners. It’s worth creating a second ‘learning support’ document in addition to your main lesson presentation, which can be consulted by students who need extra support. You can also use this document to extend learning for the more able students.
  • Get the balance of work right, factoring in the demands of online learning. It’s more draining for students to carry out work online – be sympathetic of this, and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Where can I see examples of TOK self-guided lessons?

All our BQ lessons are all available in self-guided (as well as teacher-led) versions. Members of the site have access to these, but if you are a free member of the site, you can see a sample range of SG lessons here.

We also discussed the challenges of teaching TOK online in our January 2021 webinar, and suggested SG lessons as one of the ways to overcome these, alongside the use of our assessment trackers. To view this event, click on the image, or go to YouTube via this link.

As always, if you have any suggestions that you’d like to share with the rest of the TOK community, send them to support @, or use the contact form below, and we’ll pass them on.

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Find out about us here, and read testimonials from members here.