How to Write a TOK Essay By Mr. Reich Room 2133 - Coral Gables Senior High Coral Gables, FL, USA, Earth, Milky Way, Universe, ? [email protected] ReichsClass.Weebly.com Important Preface Notes This guide is only a example of how the TOK could be written, it is by no means the required format of IB This is written in an American style of writing that has a clear beginning,
middle and end. The European style is more nebulous but is just as valid and depending on who is scoring your essay they could prefer this style or even dislike it It is OK (and some may say preferred) if you finish a TOK essay with more questions than you started, but there must be a conscious examination of the PT demonstrated The important thing is that you write about something that is interesting to you while hitting the main requirements of the rubric Step 1 Print a Copy of the TOK Essay Rubric (click here for the file) Print a Copy of Mr. Reichs Guide to the TOK Essay Rubric
(click here for the file) Main TOK Essay Rubric requirements for 9-10 score Sustained Focus on Knowledge Questions Connect KQs to the PT Investigate Different Perspectives Link AOKs to WOKs (use two of each) Properly Cited Real Life Examples that support Main Claim Counterclaims Explored and Refuted Implications are drawn Step 2 Choose a Prescribed Title (PT) You should get a gut feeling when you look over the list where one or two
of the PTs will stand out as either interesting or impossible Dont overlook numbers 5-6 just because they are at the bottom, many students do the first few because they get tired after looking at them and give up, but that means the graders are probably sick of grading 1-4 as well If you cant find one that is interesting go with one that seems easiest Step 3 Define key terms in the PT Underline important words that could have multiple meanings Dont just look online, think about the words, and explain how you are going to use them in the essaythink connotation and denotation What are possible synonyms and how they can be used in different ways by different people?
Example PT It is only knowledge produced with difficulty that we truly value To what extent do you agree with this statement? Key words: Only This is an absolute, absolutes are red flags because in TOK almost nothing is absolute should be a major part of your response Produced Does this mean made, developed, distributed? How do we produce knowledge? Does it include learning knowledge? Difficulty Does this mean stressful, challenging, hard work complicated?
Truly Value Truly is key here as it is being distinguished from normal value but what is meant by value? Treasure? Monetary worth? Intrinsic? Step 4 Figure out exactly what the PT is asking you to do. This is VERY IMPORTANT if you dont respond correctly it can throw off the entire essay and you will get a low score even if you do everything else well. DANGER! Many PTs have two parts, you MUST respond to both Common prompts To what extent do your agree with this statement?
Discuss this statement with reference to two AOKs A direct question that is included in the PT itself You must answer the question they are asking, if you go off on your own tangent you will lose Example PTs Direct Question PT Should key events in the historical development of areas of knowledge always be judged by the standards of their time? In this PT you must respond with either Yes they should, No they shouldnt or a qualificationIn X circumstances they should but in Y circumstances they should not Two Part PT Facts are needed to establish theories but theories are needed to make sense
of facts. Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge. Part 1: Fact are needed to establish theories, Part 2: Theories are needed to make sense of factsyou must address both parts THROGUHOUT THE ESSAY or your response will be incomplete Step 5 Develop your Main Claim in response to what the PT is asking Spend time thinking about it, dont just go with the obvious answer Try not to completely agree or disagree so much of TOK is about understanding that there a many ways to answer the same question The best responses are often qualifications, showing that a PT may be true in certain AOKs but may not be true in others Never use absolutes get it? #LOL #HA #MSYKTIKIR
Step 6 To finalize your Main Claim Choose 2 Areas of Knowledge (Almost) Always have two even if the prompt doesnt say to use two If the prompt requires you to use a specific AOK you must use it *It is OK to reference other AOKs as long as you do not focus on them Think of the spectrum of AOKs Objective to Subjective Math and Nat. Sci on one side and Ethics and Art on the other Often an AOK that is more objective will apply very differently to a PT versus a subjective onethis can be the basis for your qualification Dont use AOKs that are very similar such as Nat. Sci. and Human Sci.
unless you know you can hit a home run Step 7 Decide which Ways of Knowing you will explain your AOKs with This is essential because the rubric states that you must link AOKs to WOKs There can NEVER be Naked AOKs/WOKs they must always be together You MUST have at least 2-3 WOKs for each of your 2 AOKs You your essay should be INFUSED WITH WOKS from beginning to end Try to make the linking interesting, everybody links Reason to Mathematics why not try linking Imagination to Math or Reason to Art? Step 8
Create 2 Knowledge Questions Knowledge Questions are About the nature knowledge itself Expressed in General Terms, not about specific issues Open Ended with many possible answers Formed using TOK Vocabulary (AOKs, WOKs, Personal, Shared, Knower) Other good TOK words belief, certainty, justification, culture, interpretation, truth
Dont get it twisted, all you have to do is turn your Main Claim into a question that involves your first AOK/WOK combo and then do that again for your second AOK/WOK combo Where? KQ1 in Intro, KQ2 in the middle of the essay but they can really be placed anywhere, the key is that you refer back to them PT Examples of Main Claims and KQs In the production of knowledge, traditions of areas of knowledge offer correctives for ways of knowing. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Main Claim: Areas of Knowledge often assist the development of our ways of knowing by confirming our ideas and correcting our errors. KQ1: How can the appreciation or distribution of art affect what society
believes? AOK: Arts, WOK: Faith, We = Shared KQ2: Why is it important to collect data about the things we experience? AOK: Math, WOK: Sense Perception, We = Personal A Note about KQs versus Knowledge Issues Back in the day like 5 years ago KQs were known as KIs but then IB thought it sounded too much like KISS so they changed itnot really nobody knows why they changed it, even them, maybe The point is you can actually score a top score without having your knowledge issues (KIs) stated as questions. So the important thing is just to remember that this essay is all about
knowledge and so your examination of the PT must be based on exploring knowledge issues or the questions that arise from those issues Duh!? Warning! Hand Holding Ahead! The next Section is a Step By Step Guide to the different sections of the essay, it is intended for those who are struggling with how to do this and may not be great writers. If you are confident in your own style and how to approach this essay
then disregard the next section it is not for you But if you are bit lost hopefully the next section will help but do NOT take as it the only way to write that will get you a good score, it is just a basic foundation, you should take it and modify it for your style Its like pants I wouldnt wear skinny pants like these damn kids today and their rapping musicbut I still wear pants Step 9 Write your Introduction Paragraph (Par1) Begin with some reflective thoughts on the PT 1-3 sentences Could include both KQs here
State Your Main Claim Preview the first AOK/WOK combinations you will use (could include KQ1) Preview the second AOK/WOK combinations you will use (KQ2?) Transition into Paragraph 2, mention the possible Implications (what we can/should do) as a result of you successfully proving your main claim Step 10 Paragraphs 2-3: First AOK/WOKs Combination State AOK 1 Claim and how it supports your Main Claim Real World Example that supports your AOK Claim
DANGER! NO Hypothetical Examples Explain the example in 1-3 Sent. - dont go into too much detail Dont use overused examples such as the Copernican Revolution Cite!!!! Explain how the example supports your claim and connects to the PT Include which WOKs can be applied Connect to Other Perspectiveshow would different people/cultures/professions view this example or claim? Your counters? Connect everything to KQ1 Include KQ2 to transition to next Par.?
Step 11 Paragraphs 4-5 (6-8?): Second AOK/WOKs Combo Repeat Step 10 You could also add an additional example to AOK1 but dont have more than two examples per AOK, IB thinks it is more important to go into detail and fully examine examples rather than having many exs You can have other examples as counter points just remember to clearly show how you can refute them and still support your main claimin general spend more time connecting the examples to AOKs, WOKs and the PT rather than explaining the examples Step 12
Explain and Refute the Main Counter Argument to your Main Claim You must find the strongest claim against your position If your Main Claim is a qualification, then your Main Counter should explain the possibility of taking one side or the other (or both) If your Main Claim takes one side then your Main Counter should be the other side of the argument or it could dealing with the qualification IMPORTANT! You MUST refute the Main Counter Argument in some way Either show how it is wrong thus proving that your Main Claim is corrector Show how it can be true in some circumstances If you choose this one you must hint at an awareness of this earlier in the essay (Intro)
Final Steps Write Your Conclusion State how your AOK/WOK1 and AOK/WOK2 work together and how they support your Main Claim and respond to the PT Restate your awareness of other possible ways of looking at the PT Present other possible KQs that your investigation may have produced IMPORTANT! Explain the implications that the successful explanation of your claim hasin other words, now that you have proven what you set out to prove what should we as a reader and/or a society do differently in our lives when presented with similar questions?
Dont Forget to Have somebody else read it to Remove distracting typos and spelling errors Tell you if it makes sense or is confusing Include a properly formatted Works Cited Page Enjoy life Be polite Catch up on sleep
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