Diploma Programme Integration


The Big Question Framework was Part 1 of a revolution in the way the DP is delivered. It rebooted TOK for teachers and students, creating a course that combined engaging real-life situations, huge ideas and concepts, and brilliantly-designed lessons.
 
This not only gave students a fuller picture of the nature of knowledge, but also set them up far more effectively for the two TOK assessment tasks. It has been embraced by 800 schools in over 100 different countries around the world since it was launched in 2017. We now offer Part 2 of the revolution.
 
We fully agree that TOK represents the means to draw together the different strands of the Diploma Programme, and create an integrated learning experience for students. However, the way the course is traditionally taught – via the areas of knowledge and ways of knowing – means this integration has always been virtually impossible to achieve (which is why it is one of the perennial topics of discussions at IB conferences!).
 
How can history teachers, for example, contribute to the genuine exploration of the natural sciences, or emotion, or faith? How can chemistry teachers help students to learn about religious knowledge systems, or the arts, or memory? How can mathematics teachers offer anything to indigenous knowledge systems, or ethics, or, back to where we started, history?

“…what’s designed to support integration – the TOK course – actually ends up undermining it”

Although it is possible to make links between these diverse aspects of knowledge, it’s a huge ask for already-overworked teachers, and the vast majority of them simply don’t have the time to do it. So what’s designed to support integration – the TOK course – actually ends up undermining it, as staff members inevitably get either frustrated by the amount of extra work it requires them to do on their own, or disillusioned by the amount of support that’s needed from the TOK department to make integration happen. This leaves TOK being, at best, ignored, and, at worst, resented, and the issue of integration remains unresolved.
 

Our solution: the Diploma Programme Integration Tool

 
For schools following the Big Question approach, integration is much easier to achieve. Rather than being based on units that explore the AOKs and WOKs discretely, the BQ framework is based on 6 ‘Big Questions’ that can be explored by any teacher, in any subject, at any point during the course. This means that the whole school can potentially teach TOK at the same time, because every teacher can apply questions such as ‘How do our perspectives and biases shape our knowledge about the world?’, ‘How is new knowledge about the world created?’, and ‘What makes someone an expert knower?’ to their own subjects. In other words, this course structure is far more conducive to an integrated approach to the DP.
 
But we wanted to make it even easier for non-TOK teachers to draw on TOK, and use it to both enrich their own courses, and support the delivery of TOK itself. So we’ve designed a new resource to help them effortlessly bring TOK into their classrooms, and in so doing, create a genuinely integrated DP experience for students.

“We believe that the DP Integration Tool will quickly become one of the most important resources for the whole of the Diploma”

This resource is the DP Integration Tool, comprising a range of different TOK ‘plugins’ for each subject that enable non-TOK teachers to draw effortlessly on TOK, and delve into the course to whatever level they want. Below we provide you with links to see how the resource works for Anthropology; theoryofknowledge.net members, of course, have access to the full range of plugins for all 24 DP subjects:
 
You can see how this all works in our short screencast that outlines the different elements of the DP Integration Tool here.
 

Orientation presentation

Teachers can orientate themselves via a short, simple ‘Read This First’ Google Slides presentation. This outlines how the DP Integration Tool works, and provides a brief background to the TOK course.

 

Plugin 1 – The integration banner

The A3 integration banner enables all DP teachers to display the Big Questions, translated into the context of their own subject, in an eye-catching way in their classrooms.

 

Plugin 2 – The BQ unpacking document

The unpacking document goes through the Big Questions, linking it to key TOK concepts, and providing suggestions about how each one could be explored within the context of that DP subject.

 

Plugin 3 – Quotes

The third plugin presents teachers with a range of thought-provoking and often provocative quotes, to support students exploring the nature of knowledge within their subject.

 

Plugin 4 – TED talks

The selection of TED talks for each subject enables teachers to hook their students up with some of the most important contemporary thinkers on their subject, further enhancing students’ meta-understanding of their course.

 

Plugin 5 – Media sources

A huge and diverse range of media sources (articles, videos, interviews, podcasts, etc.) places each subject firmly within the real world, and allows students to get involved in the latest debates and controversies about them.

 
We’ll be adding other plugins shortly, including full and mini lesson presentations, which non-TOK teachers can either use themselves, or consult in order to check what’s being covered in TOK at any time. We believe that the DP Integration Tool will quickly become one of the most important resources for the whole of the Diploma, and we’re massively excited about the impact it looks set to make.
 
 

Using the DP Integration Tool

 
All Full Access Members of the site have access to the DP Integration Tool. If your membership has expired, renew it here, or get in touch with by writing to us using the contact form at the bottom of the page. All plugins will be added to the subject areas by the beginning of August 2019.
 
Click on the icons below to take you to each Group’s Integration Tool.
 

 

Group 1: Language and Literature

Find subject-specific ‘Big Questions’, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations.

 
 

Group 2: Language acquisition

Find subject-specific Big Questions, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations.

 

Group 3 – Individuals & Societies

Find subject-specific Big Questions, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations for: economics, geography, history, information technology for a global society, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, global politics, and world religions.

 

Group 4 – Experimental Sciences

Find subject-specific Big Questions, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations for: chemistry, biology, physics, design technology, computer science, sport science and environmental systems and societies.

 
 

Group 5 – Mathematics

Find subject-specific Big Questions, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations.

 
 

Group 6 – The Arts

Find subject-specific Big Questions, integration banners to display these in classrooms, key thinkers and ideas that could be used to explore the questions, links to related media sources and TED talks, and lesson presentations for: dance, theatre, music, visual arts, and film.

 

Download a free sample of the DP Integration Tool

 
Click on the icon below to see how the DP Integration Tool works for Anthropology, one of the Group 3 (Individuals & Societies) subjects. Note that the DP Integration Tool will be constantly updated and added to, so media sources, links, lesson resources, and so on, will always be relevant, fresh, and engaging for students, as well as allowing a meaningful exploration of TOK.
 

ANTHROPOLOGY

Click on the icon to take you to the integration folder for anthropology, containing the unpacked subject-specific Big Questions, the integration banner, TED talks, and media sources.

 

Contact form

 
To find out more about this revolutionary resource, send us a message using the contact form below. We’ll get back to you swiftly.