Knowledge and the knower

Knowledge and the knower is the core theme for the new TOK syllabus for 2022. This part of the course considers the methods used by individual knowers to acquire, verify, and use knowledge about the world.
We consider the core theme via six ‘Big Questions’, which provide us with a framework to make sense of this part of the course, and link it to the other elements of the course – the optional themes, and the areas of knowledge. Click on the BQ images below to access a huge amount of free content, including quotes, notes, and media sources relevant to each BQ.
Members of the site also have access to the Exploration Points, which provide students with a checklist of essential terms and concepts, questions on the quotes and real-life situations, and suggestions for further research. To unlock the members-only features, join us via this page

Foundations, our first Big Question for the 2022 TOK core theme, asks, ‘How do I become a knower about the world?’ It looks at the nature of knowledge, and different methods we use to understand the world.
Values, our second Big Question, asks, ‘How does my knowledge about the world determine my values?’ It explores the relationship between the way we understand the world, and the moral values we construct.
Spin, Big Question 3, asks, ‘How is my understanding of the world influenced by the way knowledge is communicated?’ It looks at how knowledge can be consciously and unconsciously manipulated by the way it is represented.
Perspectives, our fourth Big Question, asks, ‘How do my perspectives and biases shape the way I view the world?’ It considers how personal and cultural biases can warp the way knowledge is produced.
Creativity, our fifth Big Question for the 2022 TOK core theme, asks, ‘How do I create new knowledge about the world?’ It explores how we come up with new ideas about the world, and how knowledge develops over time.
Experts, our final Big Question for the core theme, asks, ‘How do I become a discerning knower about the world?’ It considers what characterizes an expert level of understanding, and the nuanced approach that might distinguish it.

The 2022 TOK syllabus

Here’s our diagram for the 2022 TOK syllabus, indicating the nature of the different aspects of the course, and suggesting the relationship that exists between the core theme, optional themes, and the areas of knowledge.

Feel free to print out and display the diagram on your classroom wall – it should help to prompt some discussions with your students about why TOK is structured in this way, how the different elements interlink, and the reasons for the changes and additions made to the course.

Why do we apply the BQ framework to TOK?

The 2022 TOK syllabus is divided into three different elements: the core theme, the optional themes, and the areas of knowledge. It is assessed via the TOK essay and the TOK exhibition. Why then, do we offer the BQ framework as our way of organizing and structuring the course? Here are eight reasons why we believe that the BQ framework is by far the best way of delivering the TOK course:


It creates a coherent course

The BQ framework gives learners and educators a clear and understandable structure, with accessible points of inquiry that can be applied to all aspects of the course.


It emphasizes the integrated nature of knowledge

Rather than dividing knowledge into discrete, isolated elements, the BQ framework encourages students to view knowledge as interlinking and interdependent.


It prepares students for the assessment tasks

The question-based approach prepares students for the assessment tasks – particularly the new TOK essay – extensively and effectively.


It opens up TOK

The BQ framework allows all subject teachers within the school to access the course, at any point, whether they are directly involved with TOK or not.


It makes TOK relevant

The BQ structure allows TOK concepts and ideas to be more easily applied to, and used by, other DP subjects, students’ own experiences, and the real world.


It is strongly informed by ATT

Units that are based on questions make the TOK course inherently inquiry-driven and predicated on conceptual learning, two of the key IB approaches to teaching.


It makes TOK more marketable

The BQ framework facilitates the marketing of TOK to all stakeholders in the school community: current and prospective DP students, teachers, and parents.


It works!

Our original BQ framework comprised 8 BQs, and was a massive success around the world, with around 700 DP schools, in over 95 countries, using it to deliver the course.


Become a member of

We passionately believe that our pioneering resources for TOK are the best in the world, and enable teachers to deliver a truly life-changing experience for their students. In order to unlock all these resources, become a Full Access Member of the site, and set your whole school community up with the following features:

Revolutionary lessons for a revolutionary course

Our revolutionary BQ framework organizes the TOK course into questions, each one consisting of a series of fully resourced TOK lessons, delivered on beautifully designed Google Slides and Docs.


Learning based on the latest real-life situations

Our unique monthly TOK newsletter provides links to articles, videos, podcasts, and other media sources, and detailed suggestions on how to explore and unpack them.


The DP Integration Tool

The DP Integration Tool brings together the different elements of the DP, allowing non-TOK teachers to draw on the course to both enrich their own teaching, and provide an integrated learning experience for students.

Exploration Points

On every free content page, you’ll be able to access our Exploration Points section, with key terms and concepts to grasp, questions on the quotes and thinkers, and unpacking suggestions for the real-life situations.

Full support’s creator, Michael Dunn can always be contacted about the content of the resources. He is always reachable via email, and will get back to you quickly with a comprehensive response to whatever you are asking.

Contact us

Get in touch with us about the 2022 TOK course, our membership options, or any other aspect of TOK, using the contact form below. Find out who we are on this page, and what people have been saying about us here.

Cite this page as: Dunn, Michael. Knowledge and the knower (20 December 2015). Last accessed: 3 July 2020