TOK: Theory of Knowledge

TOK is a unique aspect of the IB Programme. It is part of the Core, and a TOK class must be completed by all IB students working towards their IB Diploma. Students working towards IB Certificates may choose to take TOK. Classroom teachers will also introduce TOK topics and discussions in their classes, as a way of linking discipline-specific knowledge to the TOK class.

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) programme is one of the core components of the International Baccalaureate. “It challenges students and their teachers to reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and areas of knowledge, and to consider the role which knowledge plays in a global society. It encourages students to become aware of themselves as thinkers, to become aware of the complexity of knowledge, and to recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected world.” -IB Diploma Programme guide: Theory of Knowledge, March 2003

What is TOK?

TOK helps students critically think and inquire about “How do we know what we know?” This is done through questions: both timeless and current.

TOK topics and discussions occur in each subject area, and in the TOK course (Grade 11 and 12), and therefore provide a link and coherence to all of the subjects students are studying.

The aims of the TOK course are for students to:

  • make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
  • develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
  • develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions
  • critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives
  • understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action

For more information, visit the IB TOK page or read the IB TOK Subject brief.