Valencia High School

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Level: 11-12th Grade

Instructor:  Mr. David N. Chung

Phone: 714-996-4970 ext 10401





Google Classroom: TO BE GIVEN IN CLASS

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Conference: Period 1 ( 7:55-8:45 a.m.).  for meetings before or after school—please make an appointment via email.


“Theory of Knowledge is the key element in the educational philosophy of the IB;
purpose is to stimulate critical reflection upon the knowledge and experiences acquired both inside and outside the classroom, to evaluate the bases of knowledge and experiences, and to develop a personal mode of thought based on critical examination of evidence and argument.”

-International Baccalaureate Subject Guide


As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

The most central of these is "How do we know?"

It is a stated aim of TOK that students should become aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases, regardless of whether, ultimately, these biases are retained, revised or rejected.

TOK also has an important role to play in providing coherence for the student as it transcends and links academic subject areas, thus demonstrating the ways in which they can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.


Course Description

How is knowledge

  • sought?
  • acquired?
  • evaluated?
  • constructed?




Students should become aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge…


  • Facts
  • Concepts
  • Procedures
  • Metacognition


  • Language
  • Emotion
  • Sense Perception
  • Reason
  • Imagination
  • Intuition
  • Faith
  • Memory



Course Overview


Quarter 1: Introduction & “Arguments” | Internal Assessment

  • Internal & External Assessments, Extended Essay
  • the nature of knowledge
  • persuasion
  • controversies
  • Epistemology, Math, Logic, Emotion, Ethics

Quarter 2: “Methods” | Internal Assessment | Extended Essay

  • developments in science and technology
  • research in Science
  • current social/global problems
  • Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, Sense Perception

Quarter 3: “Stories” | External Assessment | Extended Essay

  • developments/practices in any of the arts
  • historical investigations with present day implications
  • History, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Language Arts, Imagination, Memory, Language

Quarter 4: “Purposes” | External Assessment | Extended Essay

  • social issues, moral / ethical perspectives
  • religious and cultural beliefs, practices, conflict, etc.
  • Ethics, Religious Knowledge Systems, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Intuition, Faith


Unit X: “Known Unknowns”




  • Van deLagmaat, R.
    Theory of knowledge for the IB student.
  • Kirby, Gary and Goodpaster, Jeffrey. Thinking.
    Hall, New Jersey. 2007.

  • Various written and multimedia materials that are appropriate to the subject matter being discussed will be utilized in class and in homework.


Classwork & homework policy:

All assignments are due at the very beginning of class.
Any work submitted after that will be counted as late.

Deadlines for online assignments will be posted on the Google Classroom, per assignment.


2 Late work will be accepted with the following penalty: 25% deduction if it is ONE day late unless otherwise specified.

3 Make-up work is only for excused absences. 

  • Students with unexcused absences or who fail to make up their work within ONE WEEK of their return to school will receive a zero.
  • Work & Assessments must also be scheduled and taken within one week of the student’s return, unless otherwise arranged.
  • Students who will be missing school due to school business / field trips MUST turn in assignments the day they are due.

Grades for the class are based on course work and the internal assessment.

Grading will be based on a point system and rubrics; however some assignments will be holistically evaluated.

A passing score on the Theory of Knowledge Assessments is a requirement of the IB Diploma.



  • Class Participation
  • Journals (Google Classroom)
  • Individual and Group Projects
  • Essays
  • Internal Assessment
  • External Assessment
  • Extended Essay Mini-Projects

A = 90 -100%

B =  80 - 89%

C = 70 - 79%

D = 60 - 69%

F =    0 - 59%



Participation, both in class and online, is an essential part of our seminars and collaboration.


Internal Assessment:

The IB Internal Assessment is an in-class oral presentation during second semester. 

This presentation will be graded according to the International Baccalaureate rubric and will be submitted to the IB.


External Assessment (Scored by IBO)

The IB External Assessment is an essay that will be written during the first semester of each IB student’s senior year.  The second semester final for this class is a practice external assessment that will be graded according to the International Baccalaureate rubric.



Essays are the primary form of assessment in Theory of Knowledge. 

Students will respond to various prompts over the course of both semesters in preparation for the external assessment. 

The final for both semesters will also be an essay assessment.

Students can expect to be assigned several individual and group projects per semester. 

These may include in class assignments and activities such debates, Socratic Seminars, presentations, group activities, or anything related to the successful completion of the Extended Essay. 

These projects will also include individual and group projects to be completed at home.  Projects may include research
outside of class.


Intellectual Aggressiveness

  • Use evidence to support your ideas
  • Defend your thoughts
  • Use multiple resources

Intellectual Humility:

  • Respect each other
  • Practice Scholarly Behavior
  • Do not steal others’ opportunities
    learn and think
  • Be accountable for your actions

Intellectual Courage:

  • Takes risks
  • Respectfully Challenge Others
  • Agree--Disagree
  • Actively Participate
  • Ask questions
  • Think “outside the box

Intellectual Leadership:

  • Lead by being a role model for others
  • Take the initiative
  • Be prepared, on time
  • Help others with learning
  • Collaborate


IB candidates (THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE) will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the various Ways of Knowing and of the methods used in the different Areas of Knowledge;
  • demonstrate a capacity to reason critically;
  • make connections between and across Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge;
  • make connections between personal experience and different Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge;
  • demonstrate an understanding of knowledge at work in the world;
  • identify values underlying judgments and knowledge claims pertinent to local and global issues;
  • demonstrate an understanding that personal views, judgments and beliefs may influence their own knowledge claims and those of others; and
  • use oral and written language to formulate and communicate ideas clearly.

IB candidates (EXTENDED ESSAY) will be able to:

  • engage in independent research with intellectual initiative and rigor
  • develop research, thinking, self-management and communication skills
  • reflect on what has been learned throughout the research and writing process.