For the first time in our school’s 121 years of existence, our seniors hosted a Theory Of Knowledge (TOK) exhibition. TOK is an inquiry into how we know what we know, and everyone who has taken the course has ultimately found themselves asking “How sure are we of everything we claim to know?” Because of the confounding nature of knowledge, each person’s interpretation, beliefs, and values influence their knowledge, which is what the exhibition aimed to explore. Essentially, each student picked a question and tried to respond to it using three distinct objects of personal significance.
The event commenced with an inaugural ceremony, in which our TOK coordinator, our Student Council presidents, our Principal, Vice Principal, and IB coordinator spoke about their experiences concerning knowledge and it’s philosophy. Each speaker had a different approach to knowledge: our IB coordinator, Mr. Kurian, contemplated whether we knew anything at all; our TOK coordinator, Ms. Kirandeep, reasoned that knowledge is not a consensus, and is influenced by what we know as individuals; and Principal Corey said ignorance is darkness and knowledge is light.
The students and staff then moved to the Alumni Hall, where the exhibition was on display. Each senior had a presentation. From history to technology, different ideas were explored through different objects. Recipes, aged maps, and pop culture were dissected to see how they shape our understanding and knowledge. It is with certitude that anyone who came gained an insight into perspective and subjectivity, both of which are ideas that are explored deeply in TOK.
The prompts “Can new knowledge change established values and beliefs?” and “What is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge?” were brought up frequently throughout the event, with participants examining objects like photos of grandparents, fashion collections, and sanitary napkins to delve into the branches of TOK: knowledge, culture, experience, evidence, and beliefs.
Philosophy, which is normally perceived as an abstract subject, is more accessible when it is approached in conjunction with TOK as part of the IB Diploma Programme. This exhibition was a great platform for students to creatively showcase their learning in TOK. While most of us who are new to the subject do not fully understand TOK and its objectives, this exhibition allowed the seniors to portray tangible outcomes that left us all pondering.
Tanisha Dodla (Class of ’23)
Photos: Mr. Prem T, KIS Biology Teacher