New class provokes thought

Theory of Knowledge course begins inaugural semester


Leet Miller

Michael Campos explains a concept during a Theory of Knowledge class. This semester marks the first time juniors are taking part in the Theory of Knowledge class.

In tandem with the rollout of the IB Diploma Programme this scholastic year, both Stuart Hall and Convent juniors will be required to take the Theory of Knowledge class, regardless of their participation in the IB Programme.

“Even though I am not a part of the IB Programme this year, I am really looking forward to participating in TOK,” Ben Cross ’18 said. “The material seems really interesting, and I think it will be fun to be able to discuss deeper topics with my classmates.”

TOK focuses on critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. It plays a special role in the Diploma Programme by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, to make connections between areas of knowledge and to become aware of their own perspectives and those of the various groups whose knowledge they share, according to the IB Catalogue.

Michael Campos, who teaches the course, sees TOK as beneficial for all Stuart Hall students.

“I think TOK would be really great for our school because for the longest time we have all been really conditioned to look at learning as simply proving our knowledge of things through tests and assessments,” Campos said. “TOK encourages an attitude toward learning that is a little bit more expansive, that you become more curious as a way of being. I think it would be beneficial for every student to have the opportunity to approach their learning With the introduction of TOK, juniors will no longer able to schedule a full year of ethics, but teachers have found a solution to the issue.
“Sophomores are now taking ethics a semester earlier, and that will bleed into their junior year.”

TOK is taught with a seminar-like style, much different from other classes. It stresses the importance of listening and communication, as all members of the class discuss a topic.

“I love the seminar classes with Mr. Campos,” Mats Keldson ’18 said. “I feel like it allows us as students to raise our own ideas and questions to the class. TOK has shown me a new way to approach learning and education in general, and I hope our class continues to grow closer through our discussions throughout the year.”

Campos and his junior classes are only a few weeks into their semester-long course, yet high-level class discussions have Campos positive about his classes’ coming discussions.

“My hope is students are able to take in what you are learning in other classes and use TOK as a platform where knowledge can be dealt with more holistically and that TOK is not just ‘a’ class, but a space of engagement,” Campos said.