May, 2016 Writing Prompts Are Here For The TOK Essay!

Important tentative dates:

November 15th for an outline; December 15th for a draft; and February 1st for a final.

1. “In gaining knowledge, each area of knowledge uses a network of ways of knowing.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

2. “Knowledge within a discipline develops according to the principles of natural selection.” How useful is this metaphor?

3. “The knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge.” To what extent do you agree?

4. “Without application in the world, the value of knowledge is greatly diminished.” Consider this claim with respect to two areas of knowledge.

5. To what extent do the concepts that we use shape the conclusions that we reach?

6. “In knowledge there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.” Evaluate this statement in relation to two areas of knowledge.

Here is an outline my students should use for their essay

ToK Essay Planning and Progress Form (you may have to open this in Firefox)

You can find more of the resources we used to learn about writing the essay here.

Four key points that IB Examiners made in essays from last year were:

* Don’t use hypothetical examples. In other words, when you support your thesis with stories related to different Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge, make sure they are real. Don’t say something like, “Suppose this was the case and that happened.”

* Make sure that ALL of your examples and points are explicitly connected to answering the prompt. End every example or point making that explicit connection.

* Make sure that you include counter-claims in your essay. In other words, what would people say who disagreed with your thesis and what would be your response to them?  These should have a source. In other words, don’t just write “Some people might say…”

* You can use TOK concepts from the book, but don’t use specific examples to illustrate them. Instead, come up with your own examples.  It’s okay to use some personal examples, but a majority should be more “academic” ones.