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Theory of Knowledge

We seek to promote intercultural understanding and respect by creating, in the words of the IB, “active and compassionate learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” We consider this a skill necessary for future leaders and thinkers in the 21st century.

In Theory of Knowledge (ToK), we seek to introduce some of the complexities and problems associated with knowledge. We look at what we believe to be true, the reasons we have for holding these beliefs and whether or not the reasons for holding them are good reasons.

ToK sits at the heart of the IB experience and links to all subjects within the 6 IB groups. We consider ways of knowing such as faith, reason, sense perception, language, emotion, intuition, imagination, memory and then we evaluate how these ways of knowing are utilised in different areas of knowledge – namely the Natural Sciences, the Human Sciences, Ethics, Mathematics, History and the Arts, Religious systems and Indigenous knowledge systems.

While ToK demands and helps to develop rigour and logical analysis, it goes well beyond what a traditional course in critical thinking might involve. The aim is to introduce students to a whole range of ideas and debates and to allow them to see their own perspectives, beliefs and opinions through the eyes of others. As such it demands openness, sensitivity and respect, and students spend a good deal of the course exploring their own views and those of their peers in a collaborative way.

The course is assessed through an internally marked 10 minute oral presentation and an externally marked 1200-1600 word essay. The grades from these are combined with the grade from the Extended Essay to give up to 3 points towards a candidate’s total score for their Diploma.

High scores are part and parcel of our work. But beyond that, we want our students to develop a life-long habit of thinking critically about the world around them and have the courage to ask difficult questions.

Please contact Raniero Bei, Head of Theory of Knowledge, for more information.

What makes a painting 'good' art?

Would it make any difference if Maths didn't exist?

How can I decide right from wrong?

How can language encourage bias?

How reliable are History books?

How does culture shape my thinking?

Can you even think without words?