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How we teach Theory of Knowledge effectively using Hodder Education resources

Henrico High School Virginia

Priscilla Biddle, IB Coordinator, Henrico High School, Virginia, USA

"The content itself reflects the evolutionary changes in the TOK curriculum. The initial chapters of the core concepts and themes provide a reimagining of traditional TOK standards."

Hodder’s Theory of Knowledge, 4th edition, boldly enters a new universe of TOK education. Reflecting IB’s total revamp of the TOK curriculum, this text takes “what do we know and how do we know it?” to a new level. Henly, co-author of the 3rd Edition, and Sprague, both esteemed TOK experts, have masterfully created both a course guide and a resource textbook for teachers and students alike. Veteran TOK teachers may find the TOK curriculum changes disconcerting – the exclusion of the ways of knowing as a central part of the curriculum, for example – but armed with this text, they and their students may navigate new perspectives with confidence.

Visually, this edition goes beyond the previous edition. It continues with the inclusion of “Dynamic Learning” with QR codes in the margin which connect to supplementary reading. The 4th edition expands the prior edition’s use of graphic boxes. First, the introduction provides explicit instruction on how to use the book and how the graphic boxes work. Not only do the boxes include overviews and activities, but also Learner Profile connections, deeper learning, concept connections, case studies, TOK traps, CAS links, and assessment advice, providing both enrichment and concrete guidance.

The management of the content of the 4th edition is highly effective. Besides the graphic use of support elements mentioned previously, Illustrations provide visual relief to pages dense with text. Many of the illustrations have captions that pose questions, making the pages more interactive. As well, words that might be unfamiliar to students are highlighted in the text and defined in the margin. This inclusion ensures that students don’t get lost in the text by bypassing unfamiliar words. Finally, the writing is both enjoyable and practical. Examples demonstrate an obvious sense of humor, from the first anecdote of getting eaten by a tiger to later examples of “bats, banana slugs and Bengal tigers” and hairy hobbit feet, making the reading engaging to young people. This sometimes playful use of real-life examples models for students how claims should be supported with original evidence for the Prescribed Title Essay, again effectively integrating course content with practical assistance.

The content itself reflects the evolutionary changes in the TOK curriculum. The initial chapters of the core concepts and themes provide a reimagining of traditional TOK standards. Following the new vision are the newly designed Optional Themes: Knowledge and Technology, Language, Indigenous Societies, Religion, and Politics. These changes incorporate real-life applications of what students learn in TOK. The final section, the largest, features the TOK traditional areas of knowledge: mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history, and the arts. Each of these chapters is organized by the knowledge framework: scope, perspectives, methods and tools, and ethics. These chapters are filled with valuable subject content that is current and of a broad and imaginative range, stimulating deeper thinking and transference. 
 

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