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The 12 key TOK concepts

The 12 key TOK concepts

The key concepts are 12 particular significant ideas that are at the heart of TOK and the DP. They are: certainty, culture, evidence, explanation, interpretation, justification, objectivity, perspective, power, responsibility, truth, and values.

Here we discuss the role they play in the course, how they link to the themes and AOKs, ways to explore them, and how to link them to the other DP subjects.

What are the 12 key concepts?

The 12 key concepts are ones that have been identified as having a particular significant relationship to knowledge. Understanding, exploring, and using these concepts will help students to understand the way knowledge is produced and used, within all the different elements of the TOK course – the core and optional themes, and the areas of knowledge. Students should also refer to them as much as possible in the two TOK assessment tasks. We’ve identified related exhibition prompts (IAPs) for each key concept, and indicated how they align.

Finally, they are also very useful to us when integrating TOK with the rest of the DP, and below you’ll find links to help non-TOK teachers use these concepts in their own classrooms.

Taking ownership of the 12 key concepts

Access a free sample of the resource

The 12 key concepts resource is available to Full Access members of the site. But non-members can download a free sample here, focusing on ‘Evidence’. All the 12 concepts are presented in this way, and kept updated every month.

Download our free key concept banner

Using the 12 key concepts in other DP subjects

Members also have access to our DP integration tool, which includes support for non-TOK teachers to draw on the key concepts for all of the individual subjects. See how this works for history by following this link, or clicking on the image. To access the whole resource, become a member of the site.