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The arts lessons

The arts lessons

Our lessons on the arts are based on a course structure that looks at each area of knowledge and theme separately. Students will encounter big ideas and thinkers, engaging learning activities, and real-world events and issues to make TOK authentic and meaningful.

For educators who prefer to teach the course in a more conceptual way, we offer the BQ framework lessons. Of course, you can mix the two approaches, or draw on our other resources, to create a unique TOK experience for your students and teachers!

Lessons on the arts

  • The lessons explore all aspects of the ‘knowledge framework’: the scope of this AOK, how an understanding of it depends on perspectives, the methods and tools used by those involved with it, and its relationship with ethics. We pay particular attention to the last of these, ethics.
  • If you prefer to deliver TOK in a more conceptual, integrated way, use our BQ lessons, or combine them with the resources these ones.
  • Note that we are in the process of adding these lessons – you will be able to begin downloading them in February 2022.

Arts 1 What is art?

Lesson objective I can discuss the key characteristics and function of art, and support my ideas with real examples. This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Arts 2 Interpreting art

Lesson objective I understand that different perspectives can lead to different outcomes when we interpret art. This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Arts 3 Bypass surgery

Lesson objective I can explain the role of the arts in helping us to understand ethical issues. This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Arts 4 Art vs. artist

Lesson objective I can assess how our ethical principles affect the way we interpret art. This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Arts 5 Interlinking the arts

Lesson objective I can compare the nature of knowledge within the arts to other areas of knowledge. This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Exploring deeper: the arts

  • The exploring deeper documents allow students to carry out further research on the AOKs, via media sources, quotes, and key TOK concepts.
  • These documents can be used to extend lesson activities, or help craft and support arguments within the TOK essay.
  • Make sure you check back regularly, as we update the documents frequently.

The nature & scope of the arts

“The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.” (Oscar Wilde). This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Perspectives & context related to the arts

“My painting carries with it the message of pain.” (Frida Kahlo). This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Artistic methods, tools, and practices

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” (Georgia O’Keefe). This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

The arts & ethics

“In a world that has ceased to believe in sin, the artist is responsible for the preaching.” (Albert Camus). This resource will be available in February 2022 for our new ‘Premium members’.

Knowledge heroes for the arts

Knowledge Heroes provides you with a description of over 100 different thinkers who offer brilliant thoughts on all the areas of knowledge and themes. Key arts thinkers we look at include Ai Weiwei, Barbara Kingsolver, Madeleine L’Engle, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

View a sample version of this resource here, and become a full access member of the site to access the complete version.

The resource gathers together over 120 major global issues, provides a great collection of media sources to explore each one, and suggests ways to link them to the different elements of the TOK course, and to the 12 key concepts. Arts issues we explore include street art, statue wars, art vs. artist, and Covid and the arts.

View a sample version of this resource here, and become a full access member of the site to access the complete version.