Tracing spaces of knower's autonomy for knowledge construction in International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Autonomy is readiness, which entails both capacity and willingness, to take charge of one’s learning through critical thinking and reflection. The research focuses on envisaged, perceived and enacted roles and meaning of autonomy of the knower in context of Theory of Knowledge course of IB Diploma Programme. It also explores the ways in which the autonomy of the knower reflects in the process of knowledge construction via interplay between curricular spaces such as course content, pedagogy and assessments. Qualitative case study approach was employed to gain the perception and experiences of knowers. Document analysis, observations, semi-structured interviews and personal portrayals were used as data collection methods. The findings of the research suggest that the learner holds central position as a ‘knower’ in the learning processes. The data gathered in the study gives indications that the meaning and scope of autonomy is defined by its context. The findings reveal that students are developing autonomy as they are becoming more competent in the art of critical thinking and reflection. Students are also demonstrating the key attributes such as inquisitiveness, resourcefulness, positive constructs of self and sustained interest for learning. Curriculum content, pedagogy and assessments foster autonomy of knowers by providing them necessary knowledge and skills. Consequently, each proposes some challenges to knower such societal and academic pressure related to questioning, less-directive instructions and limited spaces for creative expression. The results also indicate that knowers do not prefer development of autonomy as an independent sport because interdependency is highly valued in their cultural/social context. Such nature of autonomy also creates implications on the interplay between freedom and control in the teaching and learning processes. Therefore, the research recommends that autonomy should be supported by scaffolding through a guided inquiry, communication of role changes and discussions following the independent task to facilitate learning.

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