Berlin International School ∙ Lentzeallee 8/14 ∙ 14195 Berlin ∙ +49 30 / 82 00 77 90 ∙


Theory of Knowledge (ToK)

is part of the core of them IB Diploma Programme. At BIS, the ToK course begins at the beginning of Grade 11 with introductory workshops to Theory of Knowledge, the Extended Essay, and Creativity, Action & Service. Students are required to write a ToK essay chosen from a list of prescribed questions and participate in a presentation at the end of the course, in the spring of Grade 12.

ToK Course Content

ToK is centered around the question “How do we know?” Students are taught to seek out knowledge through critical thinking and analysis of the Ways of Knowing of Perception, Emotion, Reason and Language. By the end of the course, students should be proficient in formulating arguments and analyzing knowledge claims.

The central features of the ToK course are critical analysis questions called Knowledge Issues.The program entails the application of questions to many different, yet interrelated, topics. Questions are the very essence of ToK and are grouped into four broad categories:

  • Knowers and Knowing
  • Ways of Knowing - Reason, Perception, Language, Emotion
  • Areas of Knowledge - Mathematics, History, Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, the Arts, Ethics
  • Linking Questions

Students complete 100 hours over the two-year course. The course is comprised of nine units centered on the following Areas of Knowledge and other main themes; each unit lasts approximately five weeks, and is taught by a teacher specialized in that area of study. These units are

  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Human Sciences
  • History
  • Art
  • Ethics
  • Religion
  • Contemporary Issues
  • Knowers and Knowing