Stories from our international boarding schools

Teaching Theory of Knowledge in China

I had the wonderful opportunity of going to China to teach a Theory of Knowledge introductory course. For those that are unaware, Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, plays a vital role in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP), by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what. TOK is the philosophical part of the DP. TOK aims to make students more conscience of how they perceive the known and trying to fight preconceived notions of what they already deem to be true. It allows not just the students but the teachers to also reflect critically on different areas of knowledge and consider it in their own culture and in the cultures of others. This allows both parties to encourage complex thinking and to recognize the need to act responsibility in our ever globalized world.

That being said, my first stop was Guangzhou, where I taught a lesson at the EF office located there. I met some wonderful and energetic kids and hope to see them in my own class back at EF Academy New York. I then went to Beijing where I also taught a lesson at the EF office there where I met some awesome kids and their parents. Not only did we discuss TOK, but I also gave details about life at EF Academy, the importance of studying abroad as well as living and studying in the state of New York.

My third location was my overall favorite – Inner Mongolia! I had the pleasure of meeting a group of English teachers with whom I discussed the advantages of teaching the IBDP, which as mentioned before, not only allows students to think differently, but teachers themselves, as well as university life in USA. I also taught a group of 7th graders which offered them a taste of high school level classes.

My fourth location was Changsha, the hometown of Chairman Mao. I taught two classes of TOK to 10th graders and it was eye-opening to say the least. Many students enjoyed learning about the IBDP and asked stimulating questions which I more than enjoyed answering. We also held a live stream questions and answers session with over 100 viewers which I believed turned out successful.

Last but not least, my whole time in China meant being treated to some delicious food. I ate camel in Inner Mongolia, stinky tofu in Changsha, and peking duck in Beijing – all while teaching a subject that’s close to my heart.


Written by Rosalie Frison, IB Year 1 and Year 2 Geography teacher and Varsity Cheerleading Coach.




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