STARTING TOK: “Ready… Fire, Aim!” 

Raphael (1509-11)   School of Athens (detail)  Fresco. Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

Raphael (1509-11) School of Athens (detail) Fresco. Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

This set of agreements has evolved over the years. I show them to students just after the Explore Mystery Objects activity on the first day. Usually consensus is reached quickly. Sometimes refinements are made. The list is posted in the room for the two years.


1. Much of TOK consists of questions

2. We are all responsible for content

3. Disagreement is likely


  • Face each other to ensure eye contact. 
  • Be a good listener. Be open to, and respond to, what has been said. Do not just wait to state your own preconceived idea. 
  • Respect all: No gloating, taunting or sarcasm. 
  • If you have something to contribute there is a moral imperative to do so. 
  • Do not pretend to understand if you don’t. Ask for clarification. 
  • One voice at a time. No ongoing battles between domineering individuals. 

Be rigorous and have fun! 

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
— Shakespeare's Hamlet: Act 1, Scene V