Aims and structure of TOK


What are the aims of TOK?

Theory of knowledge is the ‘flagship course’ of the Diploma not only because it is unique, but also because it draws together all the knowledge that is learned in other courses, and questions the validity of what we think we know. Amongst other things, it seeks to do the following:

To help students to discover the richness of knowledge, and to realize how empowering knowledge can be.
To examine how knowledge is built up, examined, and evaluated by individuals and societies.
To reflect on how we learn – both inside and outside school – and to make links between the academic disciplines and our thoughts, feelings and actions.
To reinforce the idea that there are many different ways of thinking and perspectives, and assumptions we have because of our cultural and individual positions may obscure the way we see the world.
To suggest some of the responsibilities that may come with knowledge.

In our first BQ unit, we align TOK to the ‘four Cs’ of education, arguing that TOK helps students to think critically, be creative, learn collaboratively, and communicate their ideas. Not only does this provide 4 clear aims for the course, it also demonstrates how relevant TOK is to the modern world.

The structure of the course

At the top of the page, you’ll see our diagram for the 2022 TOK syllabus, indicating the nature of the different aspects of the course, and suggesting the relationship that exists between the core theme, optional themes, and the areas of knowledge.
Feel free to print out and display the diagram on your classroom wall – it should help to prompt some discussions with your students about why TOK is structured in this way, how the different elements interlink, and the reasons for the changes and additions made to the course.

Contact us

We can provide you with most of the answers in terms of how to teach TOK. Use the contact form here to find out about what membership to the site gives you, how to join us, or more general aspects of the course and its forms of assessment.

Cite this page as: Dunn, Michael. Aims and structure of TOK (6 May 2013). Last accessed: 7 July 2020

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.