Visualizing the TOK course: a graphic overview

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5b TOK overview

Ideas can be treated at different scales.  Anyone writing a paper or preparing to teach a course knows that – and Theory of Knowledge teachers most certainly do!  Knowledge questions zoom skyward to such broad levels of overview that they can temporarily scale everything but the strongest contours of knowledge right out of sight. Today, I’m going to risk extreme vertigo to share with you one overview of the Theory of Knowledge course itself, scaled to a single page.

The particular version I’ve done here emphasizes, in parallel columns, the connections between treating the TOK’s overview conceptual understanding and developing TOK skills of applied critical analysis.  I drew it for a conference I attended in Istanbul a few months ago, in hopes that it might illustrate some essential connections within the Theory of Knowledge course.  I’m attaching it here as a pdf so that if you’d find it useful, please feel free to download it and use it:  DOMBROWSKI TOK OVERVIEW

Do you do this, too?  Do you sketch ideas and try to distil complexity into simple sentences and visual schemes?  I suspect that many TOK teachers have this inclination.  We’re overview people.

The TOK-in-a-page that I give here might not look like your own distillation of ideas – and it might not look exactly like my own, either, done on a different day with a different emphasis.  Yet some of the visual representations that we come up with in this kind of sketching end up being far from casual doodles.  They can help us to pull to the surface the key concepts of the course — the ones in our aims and our marking criteria — and use those to frame the details of the syllabus.  They can help us knit together the bits of the TOK course — and help us teach more purposefully.