Theory of Knowledge


About this course

Course Title: Theory of Knowledge             Teacher: Ms. Kirsten Song

Phone:(626) 919-2000        E-mail:


Course Overview

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a compulsory core subject of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The course involves a process of exploring and sharing students’ views on specific knowledge questions that push the student far beyond their traditional comfort zones when dealing with knowledge as a whole. TOK uses a combination of Ways of Knowing (WOK) and Areas of Knowledge (AOK) to dissect certain topics like understanding the nature of knowledge, the importance of the knowers’ perspective and the applications of knowledge, and justifications of knowledge claims. Having followed the course, students should be competent to analyze knowledge claims and respond to knowledge issues in the context of different areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, expressing ideas accurately and honestly, using examples from their own experiences as learners and in outside life.


Course Aims Course Objectives
The aim of this course is to enable the students 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 culture of others and in the wider world
  • 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
The objectives of this course are: Objectives A (Thinking outside the box)

*Understand the similarities and differences between two opposing worldviews and why they’re important

*Apply knowledge questions to various aspects of one’s life

Objectives B (Formation of a strong thesis)

*Come up with your own research topic that relates to the prompt for your oral assessment

*Be able to respect deadlines and be on time

*Accurately and proficiently answer the assigned TOK essay prompt



This class will be 80% discussion based. Some discussions in class will be graded (which will be told ahead of time), others will not and will be used for practice in speaking. However, students will still be given the occasional paper and pencil assignment and quiz.


At the end of each unit, students will be given either an oral presentation or an essay. There will be a total of three presentations/essays. Prompts and rubrics will be given through google classroom ahead of time.


The final will consist of both an oral presentation and an essay. 


Required materials 

Spiral notebook with lined paper (must be college ruled) / Pencil / Pen / Laptop


Textbooks and Resources

Dombrowski, E., Rotenberg, L., & Beck, M. (2013). Theory of Knowledge: Course Companion (2013th ed.). Oxford University. 




F (Fail) 59 and below


Approximate expectations for assignments and assessments: 


Grading consists of quizzes, classwork, discussions, essays, and oral presentations. No homework (unless needed) will be given.


Essays and oral presentations will be given after each consecutive unit and the topic will be assigned in advance to be completed or prepared for at home. In class prep time may be given but it is not an absolute. The first unit will consist of an essay, the second an oral presentation, and the third will be assigned either an essay or an oral presentation depending on the student’s ability. Quizzes will be given on a weekly-biweekly basis and will be simple. If you listen in class, you will have no problem with these and will take ~15 minutes. Quizzes will not be multiple choice. Everything that requires an explanation must be in complete sentences. Incomplete sentences will not be graded. 


Discussions will be occurring often and it is expected that all participants offer their opinions and ask questions. These discussions are made to help find confusion during the lesson and also to give insight that others might be lacking. Rubrics will be provided on google classroom.


The final essay will be TOK recognized and will be the same essay topics given to other students taking TOK across the globe. The final oral presentation will have a student-devised topic that must be relevant to the topic of knowledge. Both will be explained extensively as the date approaches.


Classwork will be turned in on the same day and will be used to improve on the material we are going over that day or week. Any papers turned in must be neat and not crumpled. Any unneat papers will not be accepted.


Parent Notification

All assignments and quizzes/test grades will be available on ALMA. Parents can also email for any questions regarding students’ performance in class.


Late Work/Redo’s: 


No late assignments will be accepted.Late work will only be accepted in the case of an excused absence which must be made ahead of the day. Students will have as many days as they were absent to make up the work. It is the job of the student to find out what work they have missed, either through email or in person. 


Re-test policy:  Students must prove that steps have been taken to prepare, improve and grow from the experience that will allow an opportunity to re-do the test.  Students must ask permission from the teacher to retake a test and it will be upon the discretion of the teacher to grant the request.  




All classes at South Hills Academy follow student handbook policies and guidelines. 


Student Behavior Expectations:


All students are expected to help create an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning for all participants. Behavior that disrupts teaching and learning is unacceptable; accordingly, all face-to-face or online interaction should be civilized, respectful, and relevant to the topic.


Academic Integrity: 

Honesty and integrity are integral components of the academic process.  Students are expected to be honest and ethical at all times in their pursuit of academic goals in accordance with South Hill Academy.


Cell Phone Expectations: 


No cell phones allowed.

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