Homeless person in New York   Photo: Andrew Holbrooke

Homeless person in New York
Photo: Andrew Holbrooke


Initially arrange students in random groups of four. Tell them that the goal of the activity is to think back to a time when they used their powers of intuition, then share the story with the other members of the group. The team members may help bring out the full story by asking probing clarification questions. After five timed minutes of group conversation, interrupt the proceedings and ask how many students have a coherent story to share.  Call on two or three volunteers to tell their stories to the whole group. 

Some students will find this task difficult and will not be able to recall or pinpoint a relevant incident.

Next, rearrange students to make groups of six. Provide all students with a copy of the bullet points below as extra stimulus material. Spell out that the bullet points cover one dozen generic aspects of intuition. The student task is to identify one that resonates with their own life experience and, just like before, generate a personal story. As so often in TOK, the students will be appropriating a general idea and backing it up with a specific real-life example. Allow a full seven minutes this time.
Printable pdf. of the bullet points.


You made a snap decision without using any intellectual analysis

You trusted your gut in a tough or awkward situation

You used your instincts or physical reflexes in a potentially life or death scenario

You had a feeling about entering a place or situation that you could not define that something was not quite right

You trusted your intuition at the time but it turned out that you misread the situation and got it all wrong

You felt tired and down but you put in one of your best performances

You used your intuition effectively in a creative or problem-solving situation

You overcome stage fright or otherwise used nervous energy in a positive way

You experienced a palpable feeling of déjà vu

You instantly stereotyped somebody

You did the opposite of following all the sensible advice and arguments and followed your own feelings

You performed very well in a physical skill because all the long hours of training and practice, as well as your natural talent

When the time is up, allow the students a short break and rearrange the chairs in an intimate circle.

Invite students to relate their stories in rapid fire. Get the activity rolling by calling on an individual volunteer. Inform them that, moving forward, the protocol will be that the person ending their story nominates the next person to take their turn. If time permits: try to hear every voice.  Allow spontaneous discussion, but hold back formal guiding questions until after the Trusting your gut unit that comes next.