The ToK Journal

Exploring Your Brain

Writing Our Brains

The purpose of the ToK Journal is to unlock our thinking. Here is a chance for you to privately (but for me!) wrestle with some of the issues we provoke in class. This may well be an extended exploration or reflection–find yourself some time and space to produce each of these, knowing that I will collect them periodically to respond.

The form the journal takes is largely up to you. It may be a simple notebook of your writing. It could be a Google Doc that keeps expanding. An audio or video journal is equally compelling  But it must a medium that effectively records your thinking, your wrestling with idea.

I imagine most journal entries to be informal but substantive. It doesn’t matter to me if you stumble or fumble, if you retrace your steps or contradict yourself. I suspect these will become a bit more formal as we go on, perhaps–as we near Presentation and Essay topics.

But substance is important. These are not quick opinion pieces but examinations of ideas from several angles.  I imagine each entry will:

  • Address one or more real world topics or use them as examples. These may be things you’ve read, experiences you’ve had, issues of the day, etc.
  • Connect and examine an issue through Knowledge Questions or discussions about issues related to our class. What can we know or understand about it, what opportunities or limits arise from problems in knowledge? etc.
  • To foster the above, approach the topic from multiple perspectives, perhaps WoK or AoK, but also different contexts or viewpoints, etc.

Does this mean research? Does this mean great length?

Forever and ever, from now on, research might always be done to help satisfy your rhetorical purpose. If you want to write about our Superbowl mania, it seems appropriate that you are familiar with some of its particulars. Of course, to accomplish all this, your entries may become quite lengthy, as well.

To begin, imagine a typed page or more, or perhaps 3 minutes or more of audio/video recording. It can go quite a bit longer (and occasionally more brief), but this is the chance to explore the ideas, and since we’re not worried about stumbling or crafting well, length should be less of an issue.

Finally, and most importantly, find the fun or satisfaction in this examination, even when the issues are troubling. The journal is private between you and me unless you specifically wish otherwise.

I will always offer you topics, unless you wish to choose one of your own (always an option!). Don’t feel obligated to hold to any order of ideas. Each week, find something new to try!