An exploratory study into student and teacher perspectives of how the theory of knowledge course supports language development
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The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is one of the most challenging courses offered by the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). By design, TOK is a course that requires students to exhibit a high level of English language proficiency. However, since students whose first language is not English also take this course, it is not known if and how TOK teachers support students' language development. To that end, the purpose of this exploratory study is to gain insights into language teaching practices implemented by teachers of the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course. Language supports and teaching techniques of teachers were investigated in eight IBDP schools: six from Turkey, one from Lebanon and one from Sweden. Data collection from 305 students and 18 teachers took place via student and teacher surveys that were developed to look into classroom practices considerate of multilingualism and international-mindedness. The surveys yielded a response rate of 85%. Students' level of English, number of languages spoken and the school type they attended were used as factors to analyze language teaching practices. The results of the study reveal that the most popular language teaching practices are whole class discussion, small group discussion groupwork and use of visual aids, as reported by students. The results of the study also indicate that pairwork and Q&A are used more commonly in national schools than international schools. Language supports used for students’ language development are implemented more effectively in national schools, in comparison with international schools.
Theory of Knowledge