The 12 Concepts: A method for structuring the TOK course

Date: 09/24/2020

Time: 5:00 pm

Timezone:

This webinar focuses on the 12 concepts which “have particular prominence within, and thread throughout, the ToK course. Exploration of the relationship between knowledge and these concepts can help students to deepen their understanding, as well as facilitating the transfer of their learning to new and different contexts.” (Guide, p.6)

Those 12 concepts are Evidence, Certainty, Truth, Interpretation, Power, Justification, Explanation, Objectivity, Perspective, Culture, Values and Responsibility.

Instead of approaching the study of each Optional Theme and Area of Knowledge separately, in order to recognize the “particular prominence” of the 12 central ToK concepts, one possibility is to organize units of work based on each of the concepts.

In that way we can ‘compare and contrast’ the understanding of those concepts within and between the various options and areas of knowledge, and it will provide an anchor for the core theme, ‘Knowledge and The Knower.’

As ToK teachers, there is no obligation to structure the course in a certain way. This means that there is no obligation to have (say) a unit of work for each option chosen, nor a unit of work for each area of knowledge chosen, another unit of work for the core theme (etc.) (although, as we shall see, we can (continue to) do it that way and still place emphasis on the 12 concepts). As teachers, we are free to structure and deliver our ToK course however we wish. Arguably the best way to do this is by providing examples taken from the students’ other Diploma classes, their CAS engagements and their extended essay work, given that one of the main aims of the course is «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» (Guide, p.8)

 

About the host: David Spooner

David Spooner has been teaching TOK since 1999, in a variety of countries including Ghana, the UK, Spain, Finland, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan and Italy. He has been an IB workshop leader since 2004, and has a range of examining experience. In addition to this, he is an IB Verification Visitor and Consultant for schools wishing to adopt the IB Diploma. When he is not indulging his passions of travelling, rock-climbing, hiking, photography or lying on a beach doing nothing, he enjoys teaching.