Theory of knowledge is a multi-disciplinary, C2 level course. It provides an opportunity for students to
reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.
In this course, students can expect to be challenged in a variety of fields. We aim to develop University-
level writing and presentation skills, practice the responsible sourcing of information, develop students who can confidently debate
controversial and academically challenging issues, and prepare students to succeed in tertiary education.
It encompasses critical thinking as an academic discipline, philosophy, ethics, psychology, the sciences, the arts, history, and the
broad spectrum of all areas of human knowledge.
Over the course of the year students will be expected to produce extended written assignments and a variety of presentations,
alongside contributing actively to group research and projects, and developing their own knowledge in a wide range of fields.
Class sizes are small by necessity – Few students in Bystrica have reached the level of skill in their ESL studies to be able to take
part in a course such as this.
How is TOK structured?
As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed
almost entirely of questions.
The most central of these is "How do we know?", while other questions include:
What counts as evidence for X?
How do we judge which is the best model of Y?
What does theory Z mean in the real world?
Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions,
as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.
Course materials are generally dynamic, and carefully altered to suit the dynamics of the group involved – with respect to academic
interests, future study plans, assessed areas for development and so on.
What is the significance of TOK?
TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these
biases are retained, revised or rejected.
It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:
● reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
● consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.
In addition, TOK prompts students to:
● Be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
● Recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them.
It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.
Prospective students are advised of the following:
1. Entry to the course is by interview only
2. You get out what you put in. Students are expected to contribute in a variety of ways, including by self guided research, as
well as the production of high level academic written and presented work
3. Reading is a critical element of this course – both of material provided by the teacher, but also of material on the
recommended reading lists, as well as reading for personal interest.
4. TOK requires an open mindset. The subject necessarily involves controversial materials, as well as an understanding that
knowledge confounds us, and that critical thinking as a discipline is a field that comprises more questions than concrete
If you have questions or enquiries about joining the course, please contact our TOK Lecturer and Director of studies directly via the
email address below.
Alex Millington