Saturday, May 21, 2011

How do we know?

The central question in the IB's Theory of Knowledge is "How do we know?"  and the purpose of the TOK course is an inquiry into different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge.  I find it an amazing course for our students in their last 2 years of schooling as they look into knowledge: the facts, information and skills acquired through experience or education.

Knowledge is different from a point of view of course and one of the things I've been thinking about this week is the Circle of Viewpoints thinking routine.  I think this routine also ties in with the IB mission statement that "other people, with their differences, can also be right".  I think the one thing that links both knowledge and points of view together, however, is the idea of critical thinking which involves withholding judgement and asking good questions instead of just accepting or believing everything we are told.  The idea is that we examine the evidence carefully before we draw our conclusions and that perhaps we challenge authority with our questions until we are satisfied.

I've also been thinking about the idea of wondering as opposed to questioning.  Wondering is much more open-ended whereas questioning is more aimed at leading us to find the "correct" answer.  I think wondering has a very important role to play in inquiry, which is the basis of our PYP curriculum.  All this thinking has been coming together recently as our Grade 3 students have been inquiring into exploration and discovery.  Instead of taking a historical approach to others' explorations and discoveries, we have become explorers ourselves.

Photo Credit:  New Growth by Kelcey Loomer AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 

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