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Town of Westlake, Westlake Academy IB World School

Theory of Knowledge in DP

It is understood that the International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge (TOK) programme is central to the educational philosophy 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.

As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different kinds of knowledge, the TOK program is composed almost entirely of questions. The most central of these questions is 'how do I, or how do we know that a given assertion is true, or a given judgment is well grounded?' Assertions or judgments of this sort are termed 'knowledge claims', while the difficulties that arise in addressing these claims are the broad areas known as 'problems of knowledge.' TOK entails the application of this central question to many different, yet interrelated, topics.

We understand that questions are the very essence of TOK. These include ageless questions on which thinkers have been reflecting for centuries, and new ones, often challenging accepted beliefs which are posed by contemporary life. TOK is intended to stimulate critical reflection on the knowledge and experience gained inside and outside the classroom. The course challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases and to develop the ability to analyze evidence that is expressed in rational argument. TOK is a key element in encouraging students to appreciate other cultural perspectives. Through texts and other literature, questions are generated and discussion occurs cross culturally.