I am in beautiful Lake Tahoe right now participating in a three day IB training session to eventually teach the foundational IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course. Although sadly I won’t be teaching TOK next year I hope to one day soon. I can’t imagine a more rewarding experience than spending a year with students attempting to understand how we know exactly what we know. I do still struggle sometimes with the narrow–yet broadly transferable–approach to Knowledge Questions (capitalized by the IB). But overall I think the course is a brilliant attempt at a necessary critical thinking skills and understandings.
In fact, TOK is the class I wish that I had had when I was 17. In fact it was in search of just such a class that lead me to attend Reed College my senior year to take a pair of philosophy courses, metaphysics and epistemology. Like many young adolescents who fancy themselves great philosophers I took to the metaphysics course certain I would unlock the truth of reality using the awesome power of my mind. That year was the same time I also took an amazing community college course on Joseph Cambell‘s Mythology studies. That year I spent a lot of time pondering reality and thinking about how things such as how multidimensional time could work or devising tests for Bishop Berkeley’s immaterialism.
By the end of Metaphysics I was quite confused, epistemology couldn’t come soon enough. It went a long ways towards helping me clarify my own thoughts and knowledge. However these courses were crammed with very difficult dense readings that took me days to wade through with dictionary in hand. Honestly TOK does a much better job of introducing these ideas to adolescents.
For my own present purposes I look forward to better incorporating TOK themes into my ITGS coursework. This Category 2 training session which is designed for teachers who have already been training it was a great base for me. It really helped me solidify the language and the framework.