The Theory of Knowledge gives students a unique opportunity, through an oral presentation and an essay, to interrogate the very foundational assumptions of what knowledge is, and how we acquire it.
It is a unique assignment that is often very daunting to students who are more used to conventional essays. Fortunately, though, the TOK is an extraordinary opportunity for a student to exercise critical thinking and their writing skills with a new lens. Moreover, the TOK combines with the Extended Essay (EE) to comprise 3 points of their 45-point total; in a world where a one, or two-point difference on the IB Diploma programme (DP) can have significant implications for university admissions, every opportunity to gain a point through an expert approach to the TOK should be relished!
The process for TOK is also great preparation for university studies. Students learn how to thoroughly investigate the topic of interest, consider counterarguments, and challenge fundamental assumptions: in summary, they will learn the core skills needed for success at university.
Tutors can be integral to the TOK process, especially since the assignment is unlike almost anything the student has done before in school. Tutors start by facilitating didactic brainstorming sessions to flesh out the student’s ideas. This is essential to ensure that the student’s ideas are in line with the TOK’s unique expectations, and go above and beyond what most other students would present. Tutors then go through iterative rounds of outlining to hone the hypothesis. In addition, tutors support the writing process for the essay and the notes for the oral presentation.