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In IB, what is the TOK class like?

shoboemomshoboemom 17 replies4 discussions
TOK starts next year for my daughter. When we first heard of the TOK class, it sounded interesting, but I've heard mixed things since then and hoped those who have been there might be able to tell more about it. Recently my daughter's school's IB kids made sponsored T shirts that were basically " You know you are in IB if..." and two of the items were -When in everything you read, someone dies (hence my other post about depressing English classes) and - TOK, where you learn that everything is pointless (or something to that effect).

Why would TOK be described in this way? What were your experiences with it?
5 replies
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Replies to: In IB, what is the TOK class like?

  • rjn0101rjn0101 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    Honestly, the TOK experience depends on the student and the teacher. I am a graduating IB senior this year, and at our school we have three different TOK teacher (our school is pretty big). Each teacher is different. One of the teachers just shows movies everyday and people find it fun but pointless. Another is all work no play. And the one I have is half way, but he grades journals the hardest.
    Anyways, depending on how the teacher teaches and how willing the student is to listen TOK can either be incredibly pointless or fun. Almost everyone in my class finds it pointless because it is just analysis of things that seem obvious. But people like me who actually pay attention find TOK fun because it makes you look at life differently. To sum up TOK, it makes you realise that everything you do is based off of inferences and that at any second everything we know could be proven wrong. Of course the class goes even deeper than this, but once again it all depends on how open the student is to learning.
    edited May 2013
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  • yoamogatosyoamogatos 4 replies0 discussions
    My son is in TOK right now. He says it's basically an "Intro to Philosophy" class. Maybe this is different at other schools. Since they don't have to take an IB exam for it, there could be more flexibility in curriculum. His class is reading "Sophie's World" and also other shorter philosophical works.

    Your daughter should be able to contact the teacher and get a syllabus or at least a list of required books and readings.
    edited May 2013
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  • kaffeinekaffeine 3 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    I'm currently a senior. At my school, we usually have in-class discussions about certain issues and it's really laid back. We express our opinions and relate them to certain AOKs and WOKs. It's easy and he gives us A's based on participation. It's really fun and interesting. It was almost everyone's favorite class.
    edited May 2013
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  • kelley323kelley323 3 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    Haha our tshirts were "I********" and "IB: Smart enough to get in, stupid enough to stay in" or something along those lines, and "International Baccalaureate: Harder to pass than it is to spell."

    Anyways, my experience with Theory of Knowledge that, unless you NEED it to get the IB Diploma, it's not completely necessary to take if there's another class you'd like to take instead.. I took it but then dropped getting the diploma second semester of my senior year because I realized it wasn't quite worth it for me. However, my best friend got the full diploma and she's probably graduating college early.

    With that being said, TOK is a great class to really learn to think outside the box, which I think has (so far) helped me immensely in college. There's definately a certain mindset IB students attain after the program, and it's being a deep critical thinker and being able to discuss in a group productively BEFORE your junior year in college. I would say TOK adds on to that.

    I took Biology HL, English HL, European History HL, (these are the only HLs that were offered at my school) and Spanish SL.

    If you have any other questions, just let me know! (:
    edited May 2013
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  • NLtoTXNLtoTX 2 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    TOK is taught differently all around the world because it has such a flexible curriculum. Only TOK presentation and essay are necessary for completion. My personal TOK course is all about discussion, pulling upon our personal experience to question everything we learn. It really helps us become more well rounded thinkers and not just the product of our educational and social system. Of course if a student is not interested in discussions they can sit in class and gain nothing.

    From what I know about typical American high schools that are offering TOK, their classes are much more structured that what I have. They have specific essay questions that their teachers give them to practice writing the final TOK essay. Some of them have reading lists and then write reports/present these books. Also many have a set list of topics that they cover within the TOK spectrum.

    Either way wether structured lessons or not, if a student open their minds during TOK, they are bound to have a wonderful experience. They will be more prepared for the world were questioning is a key factor, as you are not given everything to study from a textbook.
    edited May 2013
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