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What is the point of TOK?

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This is my first year in the IB program, and I don't get the point of TOK? Maybe its just my perspective on whats worth learning and whats not.

I would like to hear your thoughts and etc...

Thanks

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You're in IB1, probably 15 or 16. You're not supposed to know what the point of it is yet.

When you start thinking laterally instead of vertically you'll understand it's point. Then again some people will never associate their lateral thiking to the course anyway, out of cockiness of thinking that they already thought that way from before,or they already thought that way really :P

lateral thinking is basically being able to think outside the box.

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A lot of IB kids question why TOK is needed at all. However, I believe that TOK is essential in IB because, as ~LC~ said, it really helps teach you how to think outside the box. Also, I think TOK is useful because it really helps you question what you learn more often, and allows for great self reflection.

However, I personally have not taken TOK yet. But at our school, we had a mini lesson that taught us a little about TOK, and I think TOK is great.

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You're in IB1, probably 15 or 16. You're not supposed to know what the point of it is yet.

When you start thinking laterally instead of vertically you'll understand it's point. Then again some people will never associate their lateral thiking to the course anyway, out of cockiness of thinking that they already thought that way from before,or they already thought that way really :P

lateral thinking is basically being able to think outside the box.

A lot of IB kids question why TOK is needed at all. However, I believe that TOK is essential in IB because, as ~LC~ said, it really helps teach you how to think outside the box. Also, I think TOK is useful because it really helps you question what you learn more often, and allows for great self reflection.

However, I personally have not taken TOK yet. But at our school, we had a mini lesson that taught us a little about TOK, and I think TOK is great.

I generally disagree with people when they say that ToK is about being able to think outside the box because it really depends what 'box' you are talking about. In my opinion, it is the phrase 'think outside the box' which really confuses students to do things which they label as 'creative' and 'unique'. In due course, they end up doing rather poorly in ToK and are unable to understand the reason for their failure when they have done as instructed - to 'think outside the box'. The phrase is only valid if the box you are talking about is one called 'how I like to be spoon fed information', in which case, maybe a whole new way of thinking must be created for those who think this way. The phrase implies that something abstract and abnormal must be created in order to succeed, but I believe the majority of IB students have some curiosity within them which is sufficient in allowing them to succeed in ToK without having to devise some new way of thinking. If all IB students could 'think outside the box' we would be making massive discoveries in all sorts of fields each year!

In fact, I see ToK as looking 'in' more closely at this box of knowledge rather than 'outside' of it which challenges the entire idea that ToK requires more lateral thinking than vertical. One of the reasons why I love ToK and chemical engineering so much is because the two have a lot in common. While ToK studies the process in which knowledge is derived, chemical engineering studies the process in which products are made from raw materials. It is the process which is key to the understanding of each of the subjects. Therefore, to suggest that ToK requires more lateral thinking is absurd; especially taking into account that it is a major branch of philosophy! So as I see it, it really make more sense to start from what we know and work backwards to the fundamentals of the WoKs rather than to think laterally about some strange scenario which has never occurred to us before and try to relate the impossible to our senses. ToK requires logical, vertical, step-by-step thinking.

So what is the point of ToK? I like describe ToK as an 'evaluative mechanism' for knowledge - almost like quality control in a factory. If we are able to inspect our knowledge and find the flaws within them by analysing how they were derived in the first place, it can prevent dangerous false knowledge from being circulated around. For example, a flawed formula for the weights of people and their baggage caused the downing of a plane because the actual weight of the passengers and their luggage was significantly higher than what was used in the equation. Had someone questioned the origin of the formula and challenged the assumptions made, such a tragedy could have been avoided - that is ToK in one of its most practical forms.

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It basically trains you to ask the question: How do you know?

for literally everything you come cross, thus fulfilling at least one of the traits of the IB learner profile: critical thinkers and inquirers.

It helps you to have a look at things in life from a different perspective.

...and helps you to gain at least 1 and half points easily for the diploma :P

I personally think it's fun and helps you to argue (back) with teachers (especially the ones you really dislike)

WITHOUT getting into trouble. :)

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Guest azntastic

Your question is a good TOK question.

Ask your teacher, you'll get some interesting responses =P

If you're lucky you'll be able to get away with a class long discussion of what TOK is about :D

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This is my first year in the IB program, and I don't get the point of TOK? Maybe its just my perspective on whats worth learning and whats not.

I would like to hear your thoughts and etc...

Thanks

This is quite funny as this very question was essentially my final exam in the course (we were required to take a regular school-board exam apart from the IB assessments).

From what I got out of it, TOK addresses the questions "What is knowledge?: and "How does one know?". In doing that, it invokes further speculation and more questions regarding the nature of knowledge and the ways in which we acquire. It also teaches how to note inherent problems, or "knowledge issues", with each knowledge claim. In doing all of this, it teaches students how to think critically and creatively by asking thier own questions, making their own analyses, and drawing their own conclusions. By looking at the things we "know" from multiple perspectives, in context to the rest of our knowledge, etc. one can apply this process to pretty much any area of knowledge. Really, it helps add dimension and depth to analysis as it teaches you to consider what you know from many angles in order to better analyze any work, discover bias, find inconsistencies, make comparisons between views, evaluate the claims of others, and, most importantly, make your own judgements and conclusions based on your own thinking rather than just repeating what someone else has said. So, rather than teach a skill that is directly applicable to life (like mechanics), it teaches you about thinking, which helps in learning and in writing.

As an example, consider History. In History, critical thinking is applied all the time, especially when writing those pesky timed-responses. It is one thing to memorize a whole bunch of facts and regurgitate them, but another thing entirely to take all of those things, choose the most compelling ones, place them in context, and establish connections between them in order to draw a direct causal relationship between the two, which is what you have to do in essays (roughly). This process is essentially applied TOK (I did my presentation on this) and knowing the mechanics of this process can help some who are not prone to doing this sort of thing.

Hope this clarifies things a bit for you (if not, I'm sorry - it has been a while since I did this) :)

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TOK is really important part of of IB..if you think the point of ib is what?:

IB learners strive to be:~how tok plays a part in ib learners profile

  • inquirers~figure out how you know what you know
  • knowledgeable~what you know...question how correct of info you have
  • thinkers~think about what you know
  • communicators~express what you know(language part of tok)
  • principled
  • open-minded~tok force you to think/put your self in others shoes:understand other points of view
  • caring
  • risk-takers
  • balanced
  • reflective.~hard core tok here...look back on how you learned stuff

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I really don't think TOK is necessary as it is just Epistemology, one of the many philosophical disciplines I find important in a student.

I think it should be blown up to a full-fledged compulsory Philosophy course, with Philosophy of the Mind and Identity and Reality and all that other cool stuff included.

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It's quite an interesting question and I've come across it numerous times while in my TOK classes last year. At the very beginning, it was hard to grasp and understand why any of it is needed. I simply didn't get it. But what I've come to is this - TOK helps you to start thinking critically. As much as you could've head this before, I truly believe that it's one of the main things that you learn though TOK. TOK helps us to become aware that there are always two side of the story and that both need to be explored before drawing a conclusion. In the end, TOK has a point, I just don't think everyone sees it or are willing to look for it. I know many students who still find TOK a boring and pointless subject. Obviously, it was put in the core of IB for a reason. In my opinion anyways.

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TOK helps you to start thinking critically. As much as you could've head this before, I truly believe that it's one of the main things that you learn though TOK. TOK helps us to become aware that there are always two side of the story and that both need to be explored before drawing a conclusion. In the end, TOK has a point, I just don't think everyone sees it or are willing to look for it. I know many students who still find TOK a boring and pointless subject. Obviously, it was put in the core of IB for a reason. In my opinion anyways.

I do agree with this. Although I still find it pointless for a lot of people. It's a shame they don't test people's critical thinking skills before making them do TOK. If you have somehow got to the age you're at and never thought about things before... fair enough. You need TOK, for sure. Not being able to criticise your own knowledge and thoughts = bad.

However, a lot of people already have this capability and don't need to "start thinking critically" as it's just how they think anyway... and it's therefore boring and pointless, so why the subject remains 'core' confuses me. If it's truly as core to subjects as they say, then they should teach us to think critically about aspects of our own studies as we do them at the very least, rather than making us attend a lesson and bull**** an essay every week.

All side-stepping the ultimate irony that we must write essays using the prescribed parameters of TOK with which to think critically, so in many respects a truly critical thinker must observe that there is no room to criticise the very model which is being drummed into our heads in ORDER to be critical. Can you be a truly critical and thoughtful thinker if you must interpret everything only within the bounds of a particular model? I don't know. There are certainly arguments for discarding the TOK model. For instance, if we're meant to be living in an integrated world and relating all our subjects to each other, is there really a value in dividing them into areas of knowledge with specific related ways of knowing? Potentially we're setting up walls between things and categorising them when actually we should be doing the opposite and attempting to blur a lot of these distinctions to view things as a holistic whole, rather than biasing and laying down laws about them.

And so on XD Yeah it's tenuous drivel but then, well, so is TOK.

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I think that TOK is quite a useful subject. To me it's not really a subject on its own, rather a tool or device to help me think in other subjects. For example in English, when we look at literature and have to view things in different perspectives, it really helps. As for TOK presentations and/or essays, I find it quite interesting as I don't need to worry about getting the answers correct. Instead, all we have to do is to put our honest opinions and the examiner will value your opinions to match the "mark scheme".

The actual point of TOK is not to actually learn knowledge, rather to learn ABOUT the knowledge you're learning in other subjects, and make you think about what the teachers are teaching, and if you think these things you're learning is correct. Furthermore, it helps you think critically after doing an essay or project, because when you proof-read your work, you start to think if you have made the right knowledge claims or used to correct sources.

It is not a useless subject, as far as I can see, it is helping me in other subjects and is a vital part of IB.

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we talked about this in our tok class...personal conclusion i made is that tok gave me the following:

when i argue with some one i try to look at their side of the story..when i can relate to them i better understand them.

i see the importance of all classes. tok showed me the connection between all of the classes with made me love/appreciate all classes equally!

made me understand more about how i work/operate as a student...how i learn stuff

i can argue with people and they will not pull on me some of those stupid arguments-reasoning fallacies-haha

made me more of an ib student... inquire, knowledgeable, reflective, ect.

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TOK makes me, who is a skeptic, even more skeptic...

and i'm in IB2, just finished everything and now i feel i've been poisoned by TOK because i'm always made to ask 'How do you know?" everytime...

but it's kinda useful tho.. :D kinda.

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The point of ToK is to look at an idea or concept with a different mindset than you usually would. So that you may gain more knowledge about the word. Think of it this way.... all the great discoveries in history came from men or women who questioned what they knew. Have an open mind, that is the key. I am almost done with my second year and I went through this phase of finding ToK a waste of time; however I really enjoy it now.:D

Edited by Mila Ai

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There is no point.

My last day of TOK ever was yesterday. AHHHHHH. :)))

How do we know that there is a point to TOK?

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

Don't make me smack you.

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