TOK core & optional themes

The TOK core theme is knowledge and the knower, which examines individual cognition, and how we process our understanding about the world. The optional themes are five different ‘affiliations’ that shape the way we acquire knowledge.

Students are required to develop a detailed understanding of the core theme, and at least two optional themes, demonstrating their learning in the TOK exhibition.

Explore the core & optional themes

Click on the buttons below to take you to our extensive free notes on the core theme, and the five different optional themes. We’ve structured our notes into both Big Questions, and the the knowledge framework, so whether you are following a conceptual approach to TOK, or a more traditional structure, you can use it to study and teach the course.

Visualizing the TOK course

The optional themes are our personal and societal affiliations which shape the way we produce and acquire knowledge.

The areas of knowledge the the ways in which we categorize ideas and concepts in order to understand and take ownership of them.

Both the themes and the AOKs help to define us as knowers, which we focus on within the core theme – knowledge and the knower – as well as looking at the different communities of knowers to which we belong.

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Members have access to a huge range of classroom-ready TOK resources, including three different TOK Courses, the monthly TOK Mini-Lessons, our TOK Padlets, the Integration Tool, TOK Filmography, and loads more engaging, innovative resources!

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