TOK Refreshment

Eileen Dombrowski350It’s been only six months since I suspended this blog, but as I return I’m blinking with pleasure at the new surroundings. The web environment has changed: Triple A Learning is now teamed up with Oxford Study Courses in an attractive new site.  The TOK course itself has also changed: the revised version, with new structures and interesting new topics, is starting to roll.

Have the readers changed too?   Welcome to new readers, and welcome back to those who have followed this blog over the past three years.

For new readers, I should probably explain.  You can find out more about me by checking my profile, but what about the name of the blog itself, TOK meets global citizenship?  Rest assured that I’m writing centrally about the Theory of Knowledge course.  In fact, I’m totally saturated with the new version of the course, having so recently finished rewriting completely the IB TOK course companion (Oxford University Press) to make it available as the course begins.

Why the “global citizenship” addition, then?  It refers to my whole motivation for being so immersed in TOK for the past quarter century – the reason I care so much about this course.  What we know – or what we think we know – influences how we make decisions and take action as individuals and societies.  Awareness of the different ways in which knowledge is created and claimed gives greater understanding of the way people and ideas work in the world.  Ideally, TOK encourages that interplay of openness and critical thinking so important to any investigation or conclusions.  It is essential for dealing thoughtfully with concepts and arguments in any field and for engaging engage positively with people with diverse perspectives.  If we keep our eyes on the aims of the course, I think we find a constant sense of purpose in our teaching. For me, the TOK course aims are inspiring, and fulfillment of them to whatever degree is actually possible with real-life students in a real-life classroom within real-life constraints of time and timetables contributes to global citizenship.  And yes.  I’ll be coming back to this point!

Theo Dombrowski350For returning readers, I’d like to introduce one change that will surely add variety. I’ll have a blogging partner.  Actually, he’s been my partner for most of my life in talking about ideas – my husband Theo.  Retired from teaching English A, he listens to far too many podcasts on science and critical analysis of contemporary issues, plugged into discussion programmes even while he’s kayaking, cooking, or cycling.  I’m harnessing his thoughts for TOK, and, since he likes to write, he’s joining me willingly. He has already contributed several guest blogs toward the end of 2012.

Both new readers and returning ones, may I ask something also of you?  If you like something I’ve written, please “like” it in the band of icons that follows a posting so that I know that someone actually read what I said and maybe gained something from it.   Otherwise, writing a blog is oddly like calling in a void.   If you have anything to add to ideas I’ve raised – for instance, a suggestion for dealing with the topic in the classroom, a different perspective on the topic, a resource you’d recommend, or an experience you’d like to share –I’d also truly welcome your leaving a reply.  When we exchange and build on ideas, we all benefit.

2 Comments
  • Sabiha Al-Issa
    July 29, 2013

    This is doubly interesting to me since I am an English teacher as well as a TOK one and feel I have much to learn in order to convey the essence of TOK to my students. This is my fifth year of teaching TOK, but I feel there is so much to learn.

  • Eileen Dombrowski
    September 15, 2013

    Even after decades, you’ll still feel you have so much to learn, Sabiha. TOK is a wonderful course to teach since it provides a constant stimulus to learn more.

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