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12 key TOK concepts

The key concepts are 12 ideas of particular significance that provide us with an effective way of scaffolding thoughts about the course and its relationship with the real world, and help us integrate TOK with the rest of the DP.

Faculty member can explore the 12 key concepts via two sets of padlets, which we update every month by adding new media sources.

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 connect. 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.

Join us to access the key concept padlets

Become a faculty member to gain access to the 12KC padlets!

Access the 12 key concept padlet for evidence here. To gain access to the other key concept padlets, become a faculty member of theoryofknowledge.net, or upgrade your present membership here

Become a faculty member to gain access to the 12KC padlets!

You can see a sample version of our 12 key concept padlet for history here. To gain access to the full version – and the other key concept padlets, become a faculty member of theoryofknowledge.net, or upgrade your present membership here

Download our free key concept banner

Applying the 12 key concepts to the DP subjects

Follow the links below to take you to our integration tool. This resource includes an exploration padlet for each DP subject, which mentions how the 12 key concepts appear in real-world situations. Please share these padlets with your DP faculty!

Set up a key concept workshop!

Our workshops demonstrate to all teachers – whatever their level, programme, or specialisation – how they can develop authentic critical thinking.

They’re engaging, jargon-free, and hands-on, and provide practical takeaways that can be applied in the classroom to help students become nuanced knowers about the world. Find out more here, and read our workshop brochure here.