ToK – Theory of Knowledge (Grades 11 & 12)The ToK course, a flagship element in the Diploma Programme, encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself, to try to help young people make sense of what they encounter. Its core content is questions like these: What counts as knowledge? How does it grow? What are its limits? Who owns knowledge? What is the value of knowledge? What are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge?What makes ToK unique, and distinctively different from standard academic disciplines, is its process. At the center of the course is the student as knower. Students entering the Diploma Programme typically have 16 years of life experience and more than 10 years of formal education behind them. They have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge, beliefs and opinions from academic disciplines and their lives outside the classroom. In ToK they have the opportunity to step back from this relentless acquisition of new knowledge, in order to consider knowledge issues. These include the questions already mentioned, viewed from the perspective of the student, but often begin from more basic ones, like: What do I claim to know [about X]? Am I justified in doing so [how?]? Such questions may initially seem abstract or theoretical, but ToK teachers bring them into closer focus by taking into account their students’ interests, circumstances and outlooks in planning the course and preparing students for the Extended Essay. Interdisciplinary connections are made between knowledge encountered in different Diploma Programme subjects in preparation for the necessary foundational research skills for the Extended Essay.