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Theory of knowledge, which is referred to as TOK is a compulsory course

for all students earning the IB diploma. TOK is neither a philosophy course nor a
research course. It is an approach to learning involving a “community of
knowers”. TOK outlines four ways of knowing, which are perception, language,
emotion, and logic.

At the start of this course I wasn’t really motivated or enthusiastic about
it. I thought it was one of those boring classes with boring assignments. But as
we began with the classes and doing some of the activities I became fonder of it.
In our first lesson we began asking questions about TOK so that we get a brief
idea of what the course is about. We started with distinguishing the difference
between personal knowledge and shared knowledge. Personal knowledge
depends on the experiences of a particular individual. It is gained through
experience, practice, and personal involvement. It contributes to and is in turn
influenced by an individual’s personal perspective. Therefore, personal
knowledge includes skills, practical abilities, and individual talents. This I called
procedural knowledge, which refers to the knowledge of how to do something,
such as playing the piano. As for shared knowledge, it is easier to communicate
to others than personal knowledge. It sometimes has a stronger linguistic
component and communicable to others but often cannot be easily shared.

I found it quite easy to distinguish between personal knowledge and
shared knowledge because it was quite simple. After this objective, we had to
create our own knowledge book profile page. This page contains information
about what makes you unique as a knower. In our knowledge book we had to
include information about our age, gender, mother tongue, culture, religion, etc.
and how each of those aspects affects the way we absorb knowledge and attain
information. This was an easy task but it actually got me thinking about a few
things I never thought of before like how gender affects the way we obtain

Our second task was a task in class, which was to try to draw the world
map in with as much detail as we could in just 8 minutes. After that, we showed
our drawings to the class and we looked at how each person looks at things
differently. This task was hard for me because I have a vague idea of where each
continent lies on the world map, but my knowledge on that is limited. By the end
of the task we discovered that the location of each continent depends on what
country is in the centre of the world map.

So far I have been enjoying TOK. I didn’t think it would be this fun. I
thought it would depend on writing essays and basic things we have done before.
But so far in this course we have done a few activities that were quite interesting
and showed me how people look at things differently. I learned how our identity
changes the way we map the world around us and how certain factors about us
can affect the way we obtain knowledge and use it.