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How we teach Theory of Knowledge effectively using Hodder Education resources

British International School Ho Chi Minh City

An Gulinck, Head of French department, TOK and MFL teacher, British International School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; creator of TOK 2022 website

"One of the main strengths of the textbook is its use of current, modern examples that are closely aligned with the interests of IBDP learners."

The textbook is easy to use, with its helpful graphics and fresh colours. The objectives are clearly stated at the start of each unit; and every chapter contains plenty of activities that teachers can use within TOK lessons.

Fully aligned with the new specification, the course book is interspersed with helpful assessment advice and tips on how to prepare for the brand new TOK exhibition. Concrete examples explain how to select images for this exhibition, for instance by considering the significance of the chosen objects and the beliefs they embody. 

I particularly like the image-rich nature of the course book. The pictures are usually accompanied by thought-provoking questions that help students prepare towards the new TOK exhibition. One of the main strengths of the textbook is its use of current, modern examples that are closely aligned with the interests of IBDP learners. The textbook also successfully links more established TOK material, such as discussions on ethics, to the new themes. For instance, fresh examples, such as self-driving cars, are used to connect the “element of ethics” to the new optional theme of “knowledge and technology”. This great use of concrete examples will undoubtedly stimulate students to consider how TOK manifests itself in the real world. I really liked how deceivingly simple objects, such as building bricks and their size, were used to explain “bigger ideas” like gender bias in technology. 

The textbook addresses the readers directly and successfully draws them into the TOK world in a variety of ways. In a section on Fermat’s last theorem, for example, students are invited to consider how peer review happens within their own subject lessons. Making connections is central within the 2022 TOK specification and the Hodder textbook certainly delivers in this area. The course book also explains difficult concepts in a way that young people can understand them. The section on the map metaphor, for instance, taps into the world of our students by linking the concept of mapping to the usage of apps. The inclusion of the QR codes throughout the textbook is also a great touch. It encourages the engagement of young people by making the textbook interactive whilst allowing for the inclusion of a range of non-print resources.

The core text is accompanied by clear glossaries on the side. These glossaries explain difficult concepts as well as linguistic tools such as connectives. These glossaries are undoubtedly a great strength of the textbook.

As an experienced TOK teacher, I particularly liked the addition of the “TOK trap” sections, which cover potentially difficult areas and offer tips on how to avoid commonly made mistakes. On a related note, I also appreciate the textbook’s extensive explanation of key TOK concepts. As a teacher, I know the importance of a good understanding of such key concepts. I will certainly make use of this section of the course book when it comes to essay writing time.

Find out more about Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma Fourth Edition >