I, and just about every other International Baccalaureate teacher in the world, teaches Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to our Theory of Knowledge classes.

I spend quite a bit of time on it, beginning with students first reading the actual allegory to each other other and then having them read a more accessible one with simplified language. We then watch the various animations of it on line (you can see all my links and related resources at our class blog post). Then we connect it to clips from the Matrix (also found on that blog post) and watch “The Truman Show.”

Finally, students create their own modern versions of the Allegory on video. Here’s one example, and you can see quite a few more on our class blog:

Students really enjoy it all, and easily figure out why we’re spending so much time on it. They “get” the idea of our being in our own “caves” and how we need to look outside it. The Allegory is a perfect lesson near the beginning of a school year with a TOK class and, I think, with other classes, as well.

Do you teach the Allegory in your classes? If so, how do you do it?

BONUS: Text to Text: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and ‘In the Cave: Philosophy and Addiction’ is a lesson plan from The New York Times.