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Being one of the three core curriculums of IBDP, TOK is a unique one. Today let us find out what TOK is and what can we learn from it.


What is TOK?

TOK全称为Theory of Knowledge,是一门侧重于培养批判性思维和探索知识过程的学科。进一步说,它不是特指某个领域的具体知识,而是一种思维训练,它想让学生知道:他们所掌握的知识,是怎么来的,从哪里来的。鼓励学生必须从学科学习中抽身而出,对他们所学的知识保持旁观的态度。正是这种“旁观者的态度”,让他们在面对知识时拥有更全面、更宏观的清醒认知。

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TOK, Theory of Knowledge, is a subject focusing on critical thinking and inquiring knowledge. It is not a specific field of knowledge but a thinking training process which helps students to understand where the knowledge comes from, and encourages students to look at the knowledge from a different angle to gain a comprehensive and objective vision.


What can we learn from TOK?


1. 核心主题:了解“知识与认识者”之间的关系。让孩子对知识从范畴、观点、工具和方法方式和伦理学方面等进行反思。

2. 选修主题:从知识和技术;知识和语言;知识和政治;知识和宗教;以及知识和土著社会这五个选修主题中任选其二。这五个方面对当今世界均有重大影响,在塑造人们的观点和认同方面都发挥着特别关键的作用。

3. 知识领域:学生要探索历史、人文学科、自然科学、数学、艺术五个必修的知识领域,这部分的学习目的是强调不同知识领域之间的联系,并引导学生思索知识的本质,以及获取这些知识的方法。


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The TOK curriculum is made up of three deeply interconnected parts.

1.The core theme:to understand the relationship between Knowledge and the knower, and to encourage students to reflect on the knowledge from the aspects of Scope, Persipectives, Methods and tools, Ethics.

2.Optional themes: This element provides an opportunity to take a more in-depth look at two themes of particular interest to teachers and students. The given themes all have a significant impact on the world today and play a key role in shaping people’s perspectives and identities.

3.Areas of knowledge: The areas of knowledge (AOK) are specific branches of knowledge, each of which can be seen to have a distinct nature and sometimes use different methods of gaining knowledge. In TOK, students explore five compulsory areas of knowledge: history; the human sciences; the natural sciences; mathematics; and the arts.”

In conclusion, TOK is to help students make corrections and see the whole of knowledge and logic. To that end, TOK is the essence of IB curriculum.


What does TOK test?



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According to the new IB outline, the TOK assessment consist of an external assessment – an English essay no less than 1600 words, and an internal assessment which is the TOK Exhibition.

As one of the few IB schools in China, BIBS has always practiced an integrated education model which combines the essence of Chinese and western education concepts. Our unique Chinese IB international education system has brought significant influence on today’s education reformation in China. Following IB’s new requirement, BIBS is one of the first international schools organizing TOK Exhibition to all teachers, students, and parents. Today we have interviewed some of them for this exhibition.


Student:Zoe Zhai


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In TOK, I learned any real-life situation can be described in terms of scope, perspectives, methods and tools, and ethics. They are called aspects of knowledge framework. It helped to interpret the content and prepare for the TOK essay because it provided me the structure called framing the real-life situation. It provided an opportunity for me to reflect on the nature of knowledge.


Student:Jessica Jiang


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TOK helped us build critical thinking. We can think about the meaning of different courses instead of just accepting the knowledge one-way. During the conversation with the teachers, we can think more deeply about the connection between the items we chose and our topic.


TOK Teacher:

Mark Andrews先生

从今年开始,TOK课程成果展已成为IB DP认识论课程的一部分,公开展示的目的是让学生有机会向家长、老师和同学们解释自己的想法。很高兴看到学生们通过此次活动加深了自己对事物的理解,有机会更好地思考并改进他们未来的作品。

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BIBS Shunyi held the TOK Exhibition as part of the IB DP Theory of Knowledge course. During the Year TOK students have been looking at their place in the world as people who understand experiences. These experiences and understandings are often linked to objects. It was pleasing to see the students deepen in their understanding because of this event. The students then can produce better work in the future with the benefit of the many conversations they were able to have.

IB DP协调员: 

IB DP Coordinator:



祝贺11年级的全体同学们!本次展览中,你们不仅成功传播了自己观点,也在与老师、同学以及来自不同国家、不同行业的家长的交流,获得了许多宝贵的反馈和建议,延展了你们对知识本身认知的深度和广度。同时,还要特别感谢Mark Andrews,Justin Smith 和Sandy Yang三位老师精心组织本次活动,并给学生提供学术上的必要支持。

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Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a DP core course that provide opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of knowledge itself and how knowledge is created, spread, and linked. Through the preparation of TOK Exhibition, students' thinking skills, communication skills and research skills are developed.

Congratulations to Grade 11 students! Exhibition is not only an opportunity to share your ideas, but an opportunity to expend and upgrade your understanding of knowledge through communication with the community, including teachers, school mates, and parents. Special thanks to Mr. Mark Andrews, Mr. Justin Smith, and MS Sandy Yang for all the work you have done to support the students in holding this event successfully.


Head of School:

John D’Arcy博士


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For our students to become responsible and capable citizens they must learn that knowledge is not neutral. On the contrary, knowledge is often personal and influenced by culture and context. Our students learn that to understand themselves and others they must appreciate how people organize and interpret knowledge. During a time when too many people conflate opinion and knowledge, it is essential that we teach our child to be critical and thoughtful consumers and creators of knowledge. To help students develop sophisticated thinking skills, the International Baccalaureate makes the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course a core and required part of the Diploma Programme.






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