By Paola Diaz ’19
Ever since the beginning of semester two, juniors in IB started their schedules with an additional class: Theory Of Knowledge.
As described by the TOK teacher, Scott Dick, “Theory of Knowledge is an overarching subject in the IB curriculum. It is a way that we connect science, the humanities, mathematics, and see how everything is interconnected.” Students at Pritzker are not the only students who are taking TOK. In order for IB students in high school to graduate with an IB diploma, it is mandatory for them to take the TOK class.
Of course, there’s mixed opinions about this class so far. Being in a class that requires a lot of different thinking, many experience it being difficult. Some, on the other hand, really enjoy the class. IB Junior, Angelica Finnelly, for example, described TOK as being just another class but also fun and enjoyable. Another IB Junior, Ana Gallardo, also explained, “[TOK] pushes your thinking. You have to be open minded…” IB junior Manuel Ruvalcaba added how it actually has been pretty challenging. Finnelly explained how there has only been a little additional stress for this class, “Only because [she knows] there’s going to be more work ahead.”
But why should IB juniors take TOK? Why not wait until senior year? Scott explained, “The good thing about taking this in junior year is that it does open up your horizons to new ways of thinking[…] It’s ways that you really practice good discussions. Good dialogue, solves, I think, quite interesting topics.”
Finnelly believes that it is a good idea having TOK as a separate class because “in that class, more of the content is on its own. Generally, there is a separation between TOK and any other subject.” She also believes that if more classes were added, it would be very stressful because “every time you add a class, there’s extra homework.” Scott similarly explained, “The separation is such a wide subject. It’s good because if we just broke it down into individual to look at ways knowing in history, ways of knowing in science, and mathematics, you would still have a very, I don’t want to say limited, but you would still have a very narrow view.”
Scott adds something that has been focused on in class recently: trying to argue what is “I.” “Can you prove that you exist without looking at your memories or your emotions or your senses?” adds Scott. He also expresses how he has already had a few students with their heads exploding.
Theory of Knowledge has already made an impact on IB juniors and they seem to enjoy the new, unique class so far.