The knowledge lexicon
The knowledge lexicon lists 1000 terms and concepts related to the way we produce, evaluate, and use knowledge. Each term is related to a TOK context, and we’ve provided a link to a media source in which the term is discussed.
A lexicon, not a glossary
Rather than providing students with a dry list of definitions, we wanted to create a resource that would encourage active learning, and support students to explore the meaning of important ideas within a real-world setting, rather than the artificial confines of a textbook.
The lexicon is presented on a Google Sheet, meaning you can arrange and search the terms in a variety of different ways: for example, by TOK context, by Big Question, by media source, or via our identification of ‘course’, ‘essential’, and ‘zeitgeist’ terms.
Course, essential, and zeitgeist terms
Although all of the terms within the lexicon are important, and will help students to become more able knowers of the world, some are particularly significant, either because they are central to the course, because they are a fundamental part of how we make sense of the world, or because they have a strong resonance to what’s going on today.
The course terms indicate an element of the TOK syllabus, the 12 key concepts, or terms that have long been associated with the course. Examples include ‘history’, ‘technology’, ‘truth’, ‘power’, and so on.
The essential terms are the ones we think are absolutely key to becoming a real-world critical thinker. You’ll find terms such as ‘bias’, ‘causation’, ‘correlation’, ’empiricism’, ‘rationalism’, and so on.
Our zeitgeist terms are ones that have a particular relevance to the world today. You’ll come across ‘fake news’, ‘firehosing’, ‘cognitive offloading’, and a many of other terms that we’ve linked to the latest media sources.
Tracking shifting meanings
Because meanings can depend on the context in which they are found, or the question being asking about knowledge, many terms appear more than once in the lexicon. For example, we include explore ‘morality’ within the natural sciences, the arts, and technology, shifting the meaning of this term as we move from one area of knowledge to another.
‘Objectiveness’ also makes several appearances; students can consider how this relates to the way our perspectives shape how we understand the world, its role in making us ‘expert’ knowers, and how much it defines the scope of different areas of knowledge. Have a look through the lexicon, and identify more repeat terms!
A resource for all DP teachers!
As with the other resources we offer our members, such as the DP integration tool, the TOK newsletter, and 10M TOK, we designed the knowledge lexicon just as much with non-TOK teachers, as TOK specialists, in mind.
The list of terms provides all DP teachers with an invaluable bank of vital concepts, and the media sources allow them to explored in a real – rather than textbook – context. The lexicon is thus another fantastic way to integrate the different strands of the Diploma Programme.
Set up a TOK workshop
Our workshops focus on a single, clear aim: to develop students’ real-world critical thinking across the curriculum, which we do via the exploration of big ideas, influential thinkers, and the very latest news events and issues.