THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE
Written by: Mr. Jonassah Schliepake
According to Albert Einstein, education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. Perhaps, most educators would agree with this quote but how many of us (educators) really applied this in our lessons? This is an important thing to take into account, since this is what matters once students graduate from high school and university. Not just that, it is what matters when students encounter conflicting situations in this world, especially in this era where information exists in abundance and multiple expressions of ideologies emerge. Knowledge, which includes scientific facts, may change, so it’s not necessarily reliable, so the ability to think is very crucial for students to be able to adapt to the demands of this world that are more dynamic rather than static.
Fortunately, the International Baccalaureate curriculum encourages this kind of method of learning. Of course, there will be memorization involved, but the IB challenges the students to do much more than just that. Students will be encouraged to think critically. This means that students will be challenged and encouraged to see from different perspectives, evaluate those perspectives very deeply, and make logical conclusions based on that process. In addition to that, students will be trained on how to properly write in a constructive and logical way possible and conduct proper research and analysis in each of the subjects instead of just the science subjects, since the ability to write can improve their ability to think in a constructive and logical manner. This will be beneficial for them once they enter the university. In other words, this curriculum helps students to get the “upper hand”. This will be trained especially in one of the core subjects of IB, which is Extended Essay, where students will gain the opportunity to investigate a topic of their choice in an in-depth manner.
Lastly, and this is perhaps what makes the International Baccalaureate curriculum most unique, is the subject Theory of Knowledge (ToK). In this subject, students will learn about the nature of knowledge in different areas of knowledge, such as human sciences, natural sciences, the arts, history, and mathematics. Through this subject, students will understand how knowledge is gained and created in each of the areas of knowledge. With this, students will learn to assess the credibility of the knowledge in each area, which is very important no matter what major they will take at the university or what kind of careers they are planning to pursue in the future. This is to ensure that students will not accept knowledge at face value, since, again, knowledge may change throughout time. To add to the uniqueness of these subjects, students will be invited to see the connections between the areas of knowledge and debunk the myth that each area of knowledge exists in isolation.