Theory of knowledge prescribed titles: November 2011 and May 2012

Theory of knowledge prescribed titles

November 2011 and May 2012

Instructions to candidates

Your theory of knowledge essay for examination must be submitted to your teacher for authentication. It must be written on one of the ten titles (questions) provided below. You may choose any title, but are recommended to consult with your teacher. Your essay will be marked according to the assessment criteria published in the Theory of Knowledge guide. Remember to centre your essay on knowledge issues and, where appropriate, refer to other parts of your IB programme and to your experiences as a knower. Always justify your statements and provide relevant examples to illustrate your arguments. Pay attention to the implications of your arguments, and remember to consider what can be said against them. If you use external sources, cite them according to a recognized convention.

Note that statements in quotations in these titles are not necessarily authentic: they present a real point of view but may not have been spoken or written by an actual person. It is appropriate to analyse them but it is unnecessary, even unwise, to spend time on researching a context for them.

Examiners mark essays against the title as set. Respond to the title exactly as given; do not alter it in any way.

Your essay must be between 1200 and 1600 words in length.

1.Knowledge is generated through the interaction of critical and creative thinking. Evaluate this statement in two areas of knowledge.

2.Compare and contrast knowledge which can be expressed in words/symbols with knowledge that cannot be expressed in this way. Consider CAS and one or more areas of knowledge.

3.Using history and at least one other area of knowledge, examine the claim that it is possible to attain knowledge despite problems of bias and selection.

4.When should we discard explanations that are intuitively appealing?

5.What is it about theories in the human sciences and natural sciences that makes them convincing?

6.‘It is more important to discover new ways of thinking about what is already known than to discover new data or facts’. To what extent would you agree with this claim?

7.‘The vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can know’. Evaluate this claim with reference to different areas of knowledge.

8.Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis for knowledge in religion and in one area of knowledge from the ToK diagram.

9.As an IB student, how has your learning of literature and science contributed to your understanding of individuals and societies?

10.‘Through different methods of justification, we can reach conclusions in ethics that are as well-supported as those provided in mathematics.’ To what extent would you agree?

Oral Presentations Update

  • First presentations will begin next Tuesday.  Everyone’s presentations will begin two days later than scheduled.
  • When you lay-out your different claims, you must describe how each claim is justified – which Ways of Knowing are used by the people making the claims to justify them.
  • Make sure the first slide lists the name of your topic.
  • Make sure the last slide lists your sources.
  • Your PowerPoint presentation should be emailed to me at least one day prior to your presentation.
  • On the day of  your presentation, please be sure to give me your final outline, and your completed IB form.
  • On Friday, each group should make their presentation to at least two other groups.  You should use the rubric to evaluate yourselves and the other group.

Presentation Schedule



Wednesday Mar/9th
1. Josiah, Manuel, Shanna

Thursday Mar/10th

Friday, March 11th

Mai Yee, Pa Foua, Victor ?
Monday Mar/14th
 1. Wendy, Yovanna
2.Ambalika, Jennifer, Linda

Tuesday Mar/15th
1. Chai, Alan
2. Kristie, Kalia, You

Friday,  March 18th
1. Nadine, Feelisha
2. Brandon, Divya
Monday, March 21st
Bandhana, Edeiba




Final Hints For Oral Presentation & PowerPoint


* Be sure to include short examples or stories for each key point you make.

* When you lay-out the different claims, please make sure you explain which Ways of Knowing are are being used to justify the claims.

* Make sure you don’t go over your time: eight minutes for one-person, twelve for two, eighteen for three

* Have notes on index cards, but don’t read word for word. Don’t look at slides and read off them.

* Don’t look at the screen when talk – look at the audience

* Be dressed professionally on the day of your oral presentation.

* Use images and text on slides. Do not have too much text on any one slide.

* Do not just repeat the text on your slides.

* Use slides to “show” concepts, explanations and not just to “tell” them.

* Make sure the images help in the understanding of the knowledge issue, and are not just there to look pretty.

* Show contrasting claims on one slide.

* Be sure to practice with your partner (s) at least three times prior to making your presentation. Make sure that one of those times is very shortly prior to your presentation.

* Remember basic presentation skills – posture, projecting voice, no gum-chewing


* If you use a quote, immediately follow it with putting it in your own words.

* Every real-life example, claim, counter claim, and discussion of linking questions MUST have a story/example connected to it (beginning/middle/end). See the second half of The Best Digital Storytelling Resources to learn about how to tell stories and their importance. Your stories should be a mix of personal ones and ones you’ve learned from texts, movies, history, etc. IMPORTANT: When you tell the stories, be sure to connect them back to the knowledge issue!

* Don’t only expand on TOK textbook ideas and concepts (and concepts we’ve explored through classroom materials and discussions) — also provide explicit connections to what you have learned from textbook and class. However, come up with your own examples to illustrate these concepts – don’t just repeat what’s in the textbook. Show original thought!

* Minimize sharing your opinion until the conclusion.