STARTING TOK: “Ready… Fire, Aim!” 

framing the remainder of the course
with the formal tok lexicon

Recall that we began the TOK course by plunging in and actually doing some TOK. Intentionally we adopted a "Ready...  Fire, Aim!" approach. Although many TOK terms will have emerged naturally; this is a good time to take a step back; and begin to ritualize using the formal TOK lexicon. The class activity below, and the second written assignment that follows, provide a structure for students to appropriate actively--first collaboratively, and then independently--official TOK terms and conventions.

In the spirit of meta-cognition, do not shy away from telling the students that conforming to the lexicon is "playing the TOK game." Using concepts like Ways of Knowing, Areas of Knowledge, differentiating between Personal and Shared Knowledge, and formulating good Knowledge Questions are by no means the only way to address slippery knowledge issues; but "the TOK game" is what we have all signed up for. The TOK conventions have evolved over the years. They are effective, age-appropriate and do not shy away from fascinating neuroscience and philosophical frontiers. With an emphasis on students being open, albeit critically, to multiple perspectives, TOK conventions also embrace international/global-mindedness,   

Still in the spirit of meta-cognition, this is would be the perfect time to emphasize that the TOK lexicon is absolutely essential to The Presentation and the Final Essay. These are still early days, but the activities that follow will bring the class a notch forward along their quest towards that endgame.  


LIST OF ESSENTIAL TOK TERMS

Shared Knowledge and Personal Knowledge

Ways of Knowing:
Language
Sense perception
Reason
Emotion
Imagination
Faith
Intuition
Memory

Areas of Knowledge:
Natural Sciences
History
Mathematics
Human Sciences
The Arts
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Ethics
Religious Knowledge Systems

Areas of Knowledge Framework:
Scope/Applications
Concepts/Language
Methodology
Historical development
Links to Personal Knowledge

1st and 2nd order Knowledge Claims
Knowledge Questions


CLASS ACTIVITY

Place students in random triplet groups. Then ask them to recall the seven categories in the multi-perspective figs investigation. We will use these broad but slightly arbitrary categories as the raw material for acquainting ourselves with the conventional terms used in TOK 

1. DIRECT SENSE PERCEPTION

2. SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE: POLLINATION OF THE FIG

3. POETIC VOICE--SYMBOLISM

4. ART HISTORIAN AND THEOLOGIAN

5. ECONOMIST

6. ARCHEOBOTANIST

7. A PERSONAL MEMORY

Ask students brainstorm which of the Ways of Knowing (WOK) and which of the Areas of Knowledge (AOK) apply to each category. Where appropriate they should attempt to integrate Personal and Shared Knowledge too.  Continue the routine of appointing Scribe and nominate one spokesperson for WOK and another for AOK. Allow a (strictly timed) ten minutes for brainstorming. Provide a one page list of the seven Fig categories spaced for note taking. Printable pdf. 

Next combine triplets to create groups of six and continue the brainstorming for a further 5 minutes. Finally, open up a full class discussion. Systematically and succinctly go through the seven categories highlighting applicable TOK terms that emerged out the two brainstorming sessions. Use student spokesperson voice every step of the way.

The Buddha meditating under the sacred Bodhi tree. Ficus religiosa is a large fig with iconic heart shaped leaves.

The Buddha meditating under the sacred Bodhi tree.
Ficus religiosa is a large fig with iconic heart shaped leaves.