Course Syllabus

Welcome to Mr. Gain's IB Theory of Knowledge Canvas Page
Contact Information:
UCPS Email:  
Personal Email:
MRHS Phone: 704-290-1520 ext. 5549
*Email is the best contact method*
Tutoring Schedule:
Virtually via MS Teams Thursday and Friday (Times TBA weekly) & In-Person Monday after school by Pre-arranged Appointment 
*An announcement will be given if normal tutoring hours are changed or cancelled*
Course Description:

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is one of three components that comprise the core of the IB Diploma Programme. The other two components being the Extended Essay and CAS. Together, these components support each other to achieve three aims:

  • To support, and be supported by, the academic disciplines
    • Students are encouraged to reflect upon the content and activities in the academic disciplines to gain deeper understanding and examine the interconnectedness between the core and academic disciplines
  • To foster international-mindedness, and
    • Students are encouraged to explore issues of global significance, to examine the links between the local and the global, to consider the contexts and views of others, to reflect upon their own principles and values throughout their lives, and to develop into responsible global citizens
  • To develop self-awareness and a sense of identity
    • Students are encouraged to think about their own values and actions, to understand their place in the world, and to consider how their identity is being shaped

While TOK is often characterized as a philosophy course, its main purpose is to engage students in the thoughtful examination of the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing using the academic disciplines and personal experiences as a framework. TOK is a course about critical thinking and inquiry into the process of knowing. Students reflect on their own knowledge, beliefs, and opinions  they explore the process of knowing and nature of knowledge. TOK is not concerned with any one specific body of knowledge. TOK draws upon the knowledge within academic disciplines, as well as the personal knowledge of the student, and encourages students to ask, "how we know what we claim to know" in the academic disciplines; as well as, in our personal lives. TOK encourages students to analyze and reflect upon the nature of knowledge through knowledge claims and knowledge questions. The TOK course also emphasizes the importance of developing skills to analyze and make effective judgments about competing knowledge claims. TOK is comprised of three main parts: the Core Theme: “Knowledge and the Knower”, two optional themes chosen by the teacher, and five Areas of Knowledge. Knowledge questions and Knowledge Frameworks help students explore the three parts of the TOK curriculum. In addition to the three main parts, students complete an internal assessment in the form of a TOK Exhibition and an external exam in the form of a Prescribed Title.

TOK Aims:

The central aim of TOK is to encourage students to ponder, reflect upon, and formulate possible answers to the central question: “how do you/we know?” in a variety of contexts, and to recognize the value of asking that question.

Further, the aims of the TOK course are for students to:

  1. to expose students to ambiguity, uncertainty, and questions with multiple plausible answers
  2. to equip students to effectively navigate and make sense of the world, and help prepare them to encounter novel and complex situations
  3. to encourage students to be more aware of their own perspectives and to reflect critically on their own beliefs and assumptions
  4. to engage students with multiple perspectives, foster open-mindedness, and develop intercultural understanding
  5. to encourage students to make connections between academic disciplines by exploring underlying concepts and by identifying similarities and differences in the methods of inquiry used in different areas of knowledge
  6. to prompt students to consider the importance of values, responsibilities, and ethical concerns relating to the production, acquisition, application, and communication of knowledge

*Course Overview and TOK aims taken from - International Baccalaureate TOK Subject Guide, 2020

Major Assignments:
Supplemental Article Readings and Discussions (Written and Verbal)
IB Prescribed Title Writing Assignments
IB Internal Assessment Assignments
Homework Assignments
*See the Syllabus and the Canvas calendar for details and due dates*
Major Assessments:
8-10 Unit Tests dependent on time constraints 
Internal Assessment (IA) TOK Exhibition
External Assessment TOK Prescribed Title
Mid-Term Exam (Junior and Senior Years)
Final Exam (Junior and Senior Years)
*See the Syllabus and the Canvas calendar for details and due dates*
Graded Work and Late Policy:
A student’s grade is comprised of an accumulation of points. Each assignment/assessment will be worth a designated amount of points. A student’s six six-week grades and final grade are determined based off the total amount of points earned divided by total amount of points possible, which results in an alpha-numeric score. The individual assignment/assessment grades are not weighted by percentile; however, any state, district, or school mandated tests that are required may be a weighted percentile of the student’s total grade with the remainder of the student’s grade comprised of the points earned throughout the semester, if applicable. *See the Syllabus for additional details*

In terms of late assignments, every non-IB required assignment has a firm due date, and a three day grace period. Any assignment submitted after the due date but before the grace period ends can earn full credit, but is considered late. Any assignment submitted after the specified due date and time will be considered late unless it is discussed with the teacher prior to the due date. Any assignment submitted after the grace period earns no credit. *See the Syllabus for additional details*

Course Summary:

Date Details Due