June 2015: Mothballed

As I will begin a new job in the fall of 2015 at a school that does not (for the moment, at least) offer the IB Diploma, this TOK class blog will become inactive in June 2015. I will leave it online for as long as it seems sensible to do so. If you find something here that is useful, you are very welcome.

—Eric MacKnight

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The (un)reliability of scientific journals

This article is rather technical, but a quotation near the bottom sums it up nicely:

Journal editors have expended much time and effort in teasing out how to handle authors’ and reviewers’ competing interests. They need now to concentrate on their own and those of their employers, lest we reach the dismal scenario described by Marcia Angell: “it is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine” [12].

Read the entire article here:


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How economics and politics are intertwined


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“The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth”

The Golden Ratio is a staple of mathematics classes, art classes, and TOK textbooks. In this article by John Brownlee, however, he makes that case that the Golden Ratio is a load of rubbish.

. . . the idea that the golden ratio has any relationship to aesthetics at all comes primarily from two people, one of whom was misquoted, and the other of whom was just making s___ up.

Read the whole article here: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044877/the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-myth .

If you want more, YouTube has a lecture by a Stanford mathematics professor, Keith Devlin, about the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci numbers. Devlin is quoted by John Brownlee in his article. (The comments on the YouTube video’s page offer some interesting case studies in why people believe what they believe.)

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Knowledge and the arts

The article written by Mr.Macknight instigated many questions. Starting from the question ‘whether arts have to be beautiful’, there are many thought that expressed the same ideas that I had about Art.

First, I disagree with the idea that arts have to express beauty. As I have learned music in IGCSE course, art is deeply affected by the society, including politics, religion, and living standard of people. I learned a piece of music that is based on expressionism. The expressionistic piece didn’t sound like ‘music’ at all. There were no certain melody, no key, no beat. However, it touched me something deep in my heart. Although it didn’t sound nice, it successfully expressed the rage in the music. I learned the historical background of the piece, and I was able to understand the wrath in the music. Therefore, now I believe that arts just have to reflect our life, society and feelings. I believe that beauty is just the matter of skills and techniques that people can have after years and years of training. Therefore, I judge the feelings and expression of the music more valuable than the pure beauty.

However, I also value the techniques important too. Not only because skills and techniques can only be obtained through years of training, but also because it a device, mechanism that enables people to express their own feeling. According to my point of view, techniques of arts are equal to languages. I am Korean and I find really hard to express my feelings. Language is can be used to communicate but it can also be used to reflect culture. I find it very difficult to express with foreign language. Therefore, I admire people who can express their feelings clearly. For example, Jason Mraz have succinct and emotive lyrics and melodies. I believe that he must have trained for years and years to get those expressions in his lyrics and composing skills. Techniques certainly is a significant part of the arts.

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knowledge and the Arts

The article, ‘Knowledge and the arts’ is about technical knowledge and biographical/historical knowledge of art. Through technical knowledge, we can learn about artist technique by examining works of art. I’ve learn for visual art for IGCSE and still work on it in IB. Therefore, if I think about technical knowledge to examine visual art, it doesn’t really required to create the art. In post modern, many artists are started to combine various things and ideas on their art and then the visual arts have started to far away conservative art which is more focused on painting skills, qualities and techniques. The young artist started to express their experience, story and own perspective on it. It is the best way to create creative arts, however as it is about an artist’s own perspective sometimes it occurs sensation as lots of conflict for viewers and audience who against their views on arts.
For example, one of the YBA (Young British Artists), Tracey Emin’s arts are quited far from technical knowledge. She made neon signs of sentences that she wants to say. (e.g. ‘Love is what you want’ ) The other her work, ‘my bed’ is an installation art that just bring her own private bed. These can’t show high qualities’ art skills, her works are still receiving a lot of praise. We never think about make neon signs as a art to say what we want to say and we always use it as an advertising and signboard for shops and restaurants. By these creative and unusual idea, she also nominate for Turner prize in 1999.
But there are also the criteria to express our ideas and experience on art, which is ethics. Music, flim making, visual art and poetry are the arts that will be faced and used by many people. Therefore, if they didn’t consider about their audience and put too much individual perspective on their art, it can avoid the artist to be a real artist who recognise from many people.
Even it isn’t visual art, I think the art is not required knowledge if we define knowledge as techniques and theory. However, for every art, artistic techniques such as wide experience, perspective and creative ideas, impression are still highly required.

The next on is historical knowledge that we can learn about the artist’s life and times by studying artist life story in conjunction with the art he or she has created. I want to define the art, again as popular things, which might contact with many people. Therefore I think we have to aware and study about historical knowledge of audience to get many understanding and recognition from them.

For my experience, I worked on about Cultural Revolution in China and interpret it in my own perspective. I express the Red Guards (group of students who demonstrate to against democracy under Mao Zhedong) as pure and ignorance people who just controlled by Mao. Therefore, I drew portrait of Mao that he is blowing bubble gum. Which means, he abused young people as we spell out gum when it lost sweet flavor. It was the work that I didn’t consider where I am working (china) and who will be my audience (Chinese), therefore I can’t use it for exhibition.
Like this we have to concern about ethical factor and historical knowledge of target audience.

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Response to knowledge and arts essay

Like my view in the last essay, I agree that it is wrong to ask the question: what is the meaning in art, simply because meaning is determined subjectively by each individual. A person might interpret the meaning of a painting or a piece of music drastically different than another. Obviously we can’t say that “art can mean whatever we want it to mean”, because it doesn’t. The word “whatever” is too extreme here, but if we substitute the word with something less extreme, the statement may actually make sense.

The three fundamental questions: “Who are we”, “where are we”, “what should we be doing” can be found in the world of arts, in my opinion. I say this because through literature, we get new ideas on what we could or should be doing with our lives, and through art work, abstract art could create existentialistic thoughts, leading us to think about who we are exactly, and what we should be doing. Through music, people are able to relax and perhaps relate to what the composer may have been trying to express, perhaps the experiences he lived through, or perhaps the emotions he’s trying to convey about the hardships or joyous moments of life.

Overall, being able to understand the arts is very important to us. After all, it is a good way for us to gain some experience and understand people and be able to empathize with things.

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Knowledge and the Arts

I still believe that art today as been reduced to just being an art form that is very decorative, but this is completely dependent on a persons point of opinion. This is because now there are many artists who now produce art tend to throw different paint colours on the canvas. They call this expression, and people pay millions of dollars to have the artists expression hung up in their living rooms.

There aren’t any new Mona Lisa’s. But yet many people travel to art shows and art galleries and stare at these new art forms and they draw their own conclusions.

But I do agree with the article that we need art for some reasons. Yes many times when there are budget cuts the arts  and musics are the first to pay the price. But this part of learning is very important to humans, its what makes us human and lets us communicate and express ourselves. Those who are completely science orientated and have very little or no art and culture in them wont be able to think of how their experiments may affect either human life or animals.

So I still feel that art has meaning and can be useful but it still doesn’t have meaning unless you are a really into art forms like music drawing or dance. Art forms like sculptors and paintings take up a lot of space in museums and they have very high security which I think seems unnecessary. I feel that instead that money should be invested in things like science and math.


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Knowledge & Arts

In this blog I will be mentioning ideas that I missed in my first blog post, also called Knowledge and the Arts. Mr. Macknight mentions that people tend to disregarded the Arts as redundant, something that can be a good time killer but ultimately good at  ‘wasting’ time. To an extent I would agree with teenagers declaring this statement. But, before your image of my personality becomes distorted, let me explain. As a teenager or younger we are shielded from the dangers of the outside world. Our parents nurture us because they are afraid of anything contaminating us or infecting us, which would alter our parents goal for perfection. Its this event of extensive care, not that I’m complaining, that shields us from similar events that the artist have experienced. As Mr. Macknight emphasizes that for a reader to understand a text, the reader must have gone through the experience or the reader will never fully understand what is being portrayed. This is a possible, subconscious idea of why we ignore the arts and look to excel in sciences or maths. Events are hard to come by; most of the times, we shy away from circumstances because we are afraid of the future. Writers, poets, painters have experienced more than we can fathom and their work displays what they had to go through.

Lets consider the WOK and the questions brought up by Mr. Macknight : Who are we, where are we, what are we doing, and what should we do? Emotion plays a substantial role in these questions that should arise when we view art. Emotion can affect how we view because depending on the mood of the subject. For example, if a canvas is filled with red and my current mood is passionate, than the connotations that might arise is anger and love. This connects with experiences because a colour can offer multiple connotations and its only through the events and connections with the artist, can we truly understand the meaning behind the arts.

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Knowledge and the Arts

I was one of the people who belittled art. My attitude towards art was “I know reading books or looking at an art work gives me a new experience and even entertains me, but I don’t think they are necessities in our lives”. Logically speaking, you wouldn’t choose to listen to a beautiful classic music of Beethoven over food when you have starved for a week.

I strongly agree with the point made on the essay that we are asking a wrong question when we are trying to find the ‘meaning’ of art. Meaning of art is barely objective, but very subjective except the artists’ intentions. For example, Uncle Tom’s cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe doesn’t have a meaning of aliens exist. Many literarily techniques and the plot was all author’s intention. Without a doubt, we can say that one of objective meanings is the tragic life of black slaves during 1850s.

Most important knowledge that the arts-especially literature-give us is the experience. Literature is a story of someone who may exist or not. The most profound knowledge that we can gain only from literature is indirectly experiencing many different situations. We only live once. Within that life, we are faced with many choices. Many people who are doctors and lawyers have made a choice of being one of these occupations. We can be both doctor and lawyer, and rich and poor. However, this is very unlikely to happen. If we don’t get this ‘lucky chance’, how can we understand the life of others? The answer is in the novel. What literature allows us is quite simple, but dramatic. It teaches us the life of many different lives-life of a CEO or life as a poor slave. We won’t regard life of living as Bill Gates to live a life of a poor beggar. In this situation, reading a book about life of a beggar is the answer. It brings us knowledge of different situations, and if you are one of the smarter people, when you are confronted by the similar situation as one of the novels that you’ve read, you will be able to react to the same situation better than a person who hasn’t had a chance to gain knowledge of the situation beforehand.

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Terminology Project 1

For the Terminology project my group was tasked with explaining valid conclusion, true conclusion, and proof. I found that valid conclusion can be found through the use of deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion. Deductive reasoning is found through the use of two or more statements known as premises. If the premises are all true then the argument and conclusion is valid. However, if at least one of the premises is false then the argument is invalid. The conclusion must logically follow the premises to be valid. If it does not then it is invalid. The valid conclusion of deductive reasoning is always certain but it is a generalized statement and therefore is not always true. An example of this would be Premise 1: To pass IB students need to pass Theory of Knowledge. Premise 2: Jerry needs to pass IB. therefore the conclusion would be that Jerry needs to pass Theory of Knowledge.

I also researched true conclusion. This is reached through the use of inductive reasoning. The premises for inductive reasoning rely on probability and theory. Therefore the argument is uncertain. Inductive reasoning rather than being valid or invalid are either strong arguments or weak arguments depending on how probable the argument is. I also found that proof is often used to back up inductive reasoning and therefore it is often used or considered when using inductive reasoning. Like inductive reasoning proof is not certain. Proof is often used to describe something that has been researched heavily. Therefore it represents something that can be used to call something true but it is not a certain truth. Proof can also be certain as in optical illusions as I showed in my presentation. Two colors appear as two different shades but when they are put next to each other the observer can see that they are the same color. Showing them next to each other is the proof.

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Truth and Belief

The concept of truth and belief has changed dramatically through the centuries.

The truth is verifiable and meaningless unless put in a context and conclusions can be drawn from it. On the other hand, belief is a thought based on truth, or on given facts. It is changeable, as people’s opinion may vary from time to time and it is not credible unless supported by evidence, or truth. Furthermore, belief cannot be proven to be true as it in an opinion based on truth. Truth and belief complement each other as belief without truth does not exist and truth without belief is impossible as some thought is always required.

Different philosophers had dissimilar perspectives on these concepts. For instance, Plato (424-347 BC) thought that truth may be found in an abstract “Ideal” and that the world we perceive through our five senses provides us with an incomplete and inaccurate version of the truth. He also believed that the truth may only exist in the abstract, in the way mathematical concepts exist and that trying to understand the truth by solely observing the natural world may be incredibly misleading. He also stated that the other arts were created to only confuse us, tricking us.

Aristotle (384-322 BC), on the other hand, had completely different views on the subject. He thought that nature, combined with logics could aid us to express true statements on the natural world and comprehend two things: the nature of essences (why something is) and the nature of causes (why something occurs). Unlike Plato, he believed that the other arts were created in order to help us and expand our perception of truth. Furthermore, he thought that argument is essential to reach understanding because through arguing the truth and falsity of the assertions becomes increasingly  apparent.

Epicurus (341-270 BC) states that sensations inform us about the outside world and that sensation by itself is never wrong. He also thought that mistakes are committed when we make judgments about the world solely based on the information we receive through out senses.  This means that we cannot judge something before knowing more about it, before we have facts and certainties.

Thomas Aquinas (1225- 1274) states that “The true is not a state that limits. If it were, one could not say: “It is true. Therefore it is.” For one cannot say that a thing is white simply because it has white teeth.  (…)“ 

He is also of thee opinion that we cannot judge something based only on what we perceive through our senses.  Through the quote he states that truth doesn’t have limits, as beliefs contribute to it, therefore, truth without beliefs may not exist.

In the 20th century, Neoclassical theories were developed which all attempted to answer the question “ what is the nature of truth?”. Various theories were created, the most important three being the correspondence theory, the coherence theory and the pragmatic theory.

The essential idea of the correspondence theory is that what we believe or say is true only if it corresponds to the facts. If it does not, then our beliefs are false.

An example would be the statement “I am sixteen years old”. According to the theory if I am sixteen, I must have been born sixteen year ago. The coherence theory says that true statements are those that cohere with our other justified beliefs. According to the theory I am sixteen if ‘I was born after 1998’ or the fact that ‘I am not in middle school’.

Finally, the Charles Sanders Peirce, the ‘creator’ of the pragmatist theory states that “truth is the end of inquiry”.

This theory states that  true beliefs are certain not to conflict with successive experience and that they meet our needs better than the other alternatives.

For instance, “I am sixteen years old” only if it’s convenient for me to believe I am sixteen years old and this justifies my actions.




“Thomas Aquinas.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 9.3 (1875): 327. Web. http://www.truthdefined.com/PDFs/Aquinas-Truth-Q1.pdf






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Valid Conclusion; True Conclusion in Biology and History

Smoking kills you. Yes, smoking can lead to lung cancer which has a high mortality rate. However, scientist declare this because it benefits them. Lung cancer has a high mortality rate (90%); but, a person smoking has a low chance (45%) of receiving the cancer mutation.Why do we live in a world  where these scientist are able to make such a claim? Even worse, the general public will bow down and praise these scientist. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not a supporter of smoking; in fact, I despise it. But, what I hate more than smoking is these ‘valid conclusions.’ Valid Conclusions are opinions based off a thesis/hypothesis, and carry mostly conjecture. For example, if I say only girls wear pink and for the one month of experiments; the only evidence is girls wearing pink than my conclusion is valid. However, the day a boy wears pink my conclusion is no longer valid but erroneous. History as an AOK is quintessential because history is essentially propaganda. During wars, each side heard one side of the story, we are winning; however, this is a paradox because both sides can not both be winning the same war. Therefore, their conclusion is not valid but purely based off postulation and chicanery. History is filled with valid conclusions because its not the truth it only supports their case. All, and I use the word with quite certainty,biology experiments result in a valid conclusion. Why is it valid? Well, because the theories or hypothesis are backed up by one man or a group’s data. Essentially, because the scientist collect their own sets of data to prove the experiment, all biology experiments end with valid conclusions. In biology, scientist will repeat experiments numerous amount of times and then remove all anomalous results. Therefore, science can never be precise but close. True conclusions is a term that is rarely seen. And, i will prove this by using examples in both Biology and History. WW2 Germany lost; therefore, my ‘true’ conclusion is the opposition were winners. However, the rest of Europe were not winners but equally as destroyed as Germany was. Thus, is my ‘true’ conclusion true? No. If all biology theories result in valid conclusions than there are no true conclusions. Therefore, what is the definition of true conclusion. True conclusion is a denouement, where there are no anomalous results or any contradictions. For example, the closest I can imagine to a true conclusion is; everything is made of particles. However, this true conclusion is not true because we do not know what the future has in store for us.

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Valid, true conclusion and proof- Mathematics

Valid and true conclusions in math are all result of logical deduction- the foundation of mathematics. Deduction can be defined as making conclusions based on premises known to be true, and logic can be defined as the science of correct reasoning. Example of logical deduction is “Cindy the cat”. There are two premises (all cats in Sweden have six toes and Cindy the cat lives in Sweden). We can then logically deduce that Cindy the cat will have six toes. Logical deductions usually have no other possibility, no need for interpretation and different subjective cultural view of the situation (emotions). We can say that every deduction is always true. Therefore, the deduction is faultless and the knowledge produced through the deduction is indisputable (true conclusion). Mathematics is pretty similar with the example of “Cindy the cat”. Premise 1 may be a^2+b^2=c^2 in right triangle. Premise 2 is a=6, b=8 in the right triangle. Therefore, we can conclude that C is 10. These deduced conclusions are called syllogisms.

Mathematics sounds like an AOK with no errors to be found. However, there are many examples of paradoxes. Let x and y be equal, non-zero quantities. Add x to the both sides, take 2y from both sides, factorize and divide out (x-y). In the end, we will get an equation of 2=1, which is definitely not true. The error that we made is we divided by (x-y) which is same as dividing by zero. This makes the argument invalid since it is not allowed to divide by zero.

Proof in mathematics is based upon consensus and deductive reasoning. Since mathematics is an arbitrary game that human beings agree on concepts like a language, proof is relied on consensus. When a new proposed proof is claimed, many mathematicians will examine the proof to see if it is correct or not. Consensus is what moves the proof from proposal to knowledge. Not all proofs are true in every perspective. Axiom such as shortest distance between two points is a straight angle is false at a spherical setting-the shortest distance would be a curved line.

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Relative vs Absolute, connection with the WOKs

Relative vs Absolute in connection to the WOKs

Language: Language can be both relative and absolute. In the relative sense, it is quite obvious that words mean different things for different people. Examples of such words are cold and rich. Two persons might go outside on the same day, but it is fully possible that one of them uses the word cold to describe the weather, while the other one uses the word warm. Also, what one person might call rich might to a millionaire appear as destitution. However, there are some adjectives that are absolute. Those are the words that you cannot have more or most, but either you have them or not. Cold is not one of them as you can have cold/colder/coldest. An example of a word that exists in absolute sense is pregnant. You cannot say that someone is more or less pregnant than someone else (even if it might sometimes be used in that way to describe different stages in pregnancy), either you are pregnant or you are not. Another example of how to avoid relative words as hot and cold is to say that it is two degrees. Two degrees can not be interpreted differently as it always means the same.

Emotion: I believe that emotions are always relative. During our lifetime we will all feel a range of different emotions. But of course, being for example happy does not always feel the same, and there is no situation when everyone always feel the exact same emotion. Let’s imagine a prisoner who is judged to lifelong time in prison, and a successful businessman whose company is one of the most growing in the country. The prisoner might feel happy when he receives his afternoon meal in the evening. The businessman on the other hand might feel disappointed and angry when there is no dressing to the salad at his job café. However, according to my reasoning, the business man is not close to as sad as the prisoner is, even on his worst day. This suggests that the emotions we feel in a specific situation is relative to the emotions that we have felt during the rest of the day, week or month.

Sense perception: I believe that sense perception most of the time is relative. In order for sense perception to be absolute, it would have to be a physiological process that leads all normal human beings to perceive the same thing in the same way when they gaze in the same direction. However, that is not the case and instead, what we see, hear, taste and feel is partially determined by the concepts, beliefs, and expectations that we bring to the situation.

Imagine two people out walking when they meet a loose running pit-bull terrier. One of them might instantly associate the image of the dog with danger as he or she has heard terrifying stories about pit-bulls. However, let’s imagine that the other person grew up with a pit-bull. For that person the image of the running dog will most likely be associated with fun and kindness. This suggests that sense perception is relative to our “biological make-up” and to the individual.

In the absolute sense, the two people whose senses create different emotions, can both agree that there is a pit-bull running towards them, and in that way our senses are absolute.

Reason: Reason can be both relative and absolute. Reason is normally what we use to justify truth, and if something is true it must be true to everyone, and therefore absolute. An  example of that is mathematics. The statement 1+1=2 is something that applies equally to everyone in any given situation, and must therefore be absolute. However, It is possible to argue against this by saying that if you have one piece of clay in each hand and put them together it does not become two pieces of clay. However, the newly formed piece of clay is not the same size as the two original ones, and therefore it cannot be seen as contradictory to the statement 1+1=2. Therefore, reason can be absolute. An example of where reason is relative is ethics. It is obvious that some people do things that others reason is completely wrong. For example, christians reason that it is perfectly fine to eat pork while muslims reason that it is not. Some people reason that premarital sex is not a big deal, while others views it as a sin. In these examples, we have to accept that truth is relative to the person that holds the truth, and that we have different believes about what is true. People have different moralities, and in that sense reason is relative.

Terminology question: Why is the term scientifically proven misleading and illogical.

Knowledge gained from science is based on experiments. It is impossible to perform an experiment under all conditions, unlimited amount of times. Therefore, a scientific statement is always based on probability and is determined after the experiment has been repeated enough times without finding anything contradictory. Because of that, a scientific belief can never be more than very probable, hence not proven.

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Bonus terminology question

Explain why the commonly-used expression

“scientifically proven”

is misleading and illogical.

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Drawing the wrong lesson

In “Drawing the Wrong Lesson” by Max Hastings  claims that people tend to only believe in the history of their own country which ignore the parts of history that are not glorious.

I believe his opinion, talking with my background, when i was in Japan and watching Japanese news about which Island belong to Japan. In most of the time the news-castor were talking the evidence of the country belongs to japan. However it  did not metioned any evidence of other countries.

The country seems to brainwash the citizen, and government are trying to hide bad things.Therefore i agree Max Hastings.

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Drawing the Wrong Lesson

In “Drawing the Wrong Lesson” by Max Hastings, an interesting point is made, where he claims that people tend to only believe in the history of their own country which is worth cherishing, and ignore the parts of history that are not glorious.

I believe that this is true. If we take a look at the example of the content in Japanese history books, it doesn’t state the cruel incident of the Nan Jing massacre that occurred during World War II. When we look at European history text books, the fact that European armies marched into China and stole priceless artifacts isn’t mentioned either. Similarly, if we look at Chinese history textbooks, they don’t cover the parts where the Communist Party was at the mercy of KMT at the time of 1950s, and it was only because of the Japanese did the Communist Party officially take over China as a major party. Instead, it is depicted as the Communist Party being the witty underdog who won by perseverance. However, if we take a look at Taiwanese history text books, we will find that the same incident is described and taught in a complete opposite manner. These are examples of why Max Hastings has a point.

People take pride in their nations, they want to feel as if their nation is the greatest, and has never done wrong. However, this isn’t true with any countries. Being an international student has great benefits, and one of them is to avoid becoming one of these people. Surely, I still take pride in where I come from, but since I have been an international student, I have learned to look at an incident from various sides in order to get the most objective conclusion. Whereas students who learn about Taiwanese/Chinese history in Taiwanese or Chinese local schools, will only get one side of the story, and not the whole package. This is also the reason why as an international school student, I find it much easier to accept somethings that are different than what I’m used to, because I am taught to look at a situation from a wider perspective than someone who hasn’t been in touch with so many different cultures. In an international school, students tend to be able to learn about history in a more objective manner, since the mix of cultures prevents the curriculum to be overly one-sided. Of course bearing in mind our school is British, some history that are taught may be slightly biased, but overall our international-mindedness will correct us and guide us to believing the right thing.

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Two Stories – Reflection

In my opinion, story 1 is written by a hard-working person, and same for story 2. The reason for my assumption is that story 1 refers to the lazy people as “lazy” people, and story 2 seems like it is defending the hard working people of the “dark-skinned people”. There are some truths to both stories, because they represent two sides of the reality. But I think in the end, none of them could be considered “truer”.


This is because both stories are extremely opinionated, and the stereotypes and generalizations proves this point. For example, not all hard working people succeed in life, and not all lazy people have to feed of others’ success. Nor are people born into a more privileged family always guaranteed to have a good life, and certainly not all who are born in poor families don’t get the opportunities that others get. In my opinion, none of the stories are more factual than the other. Especially when both stories convey the exact opposite ideas, we cannot determine which one is more truthful for sure.

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Drawing the wrong lesson

‘international mindedness’ is knowing events happening around us. In this article, the author talks about the history we know might be different form what it actually happen. Why does this happen? Because most people wants to protect their own county by myth, therefore anything that is harmful for the country will disappear.

In the 1960s, many intellectuals were killed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, for example, scientist, writer or artist. But in the Chinese history book, they never mention about how these valuable people were killed by the red army. In the Chinese textbook, they only talk about the revolution briefly and say them die in accident not being killed, which is not true about it.

last, as being an international study, i believe history shouldn’t be written by winner, it should follow what’s happening truly.

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Drawing the wrong lesson

In the essay, “Drawing the wrong lesson” by Max Hastings, the danger and complicity of writing and learning about history is investigated. The main issue brought up is the fact that most people cherish the national myths of their nation, and many less attractive parts are being either ignored, or manipulated.

If this is true, it challenges the idea of whether students in international schools really are international. I believe that many students in international schools, including myself, believe that they to some extent have knowledge about the countries that their friends are from, and therefore sees themselves as knowledgeable and tolerant towards different cultures. Also, we are teaching our own culture to others, without thinking about that the parts we choose to share often are either consciously or unconsciously chosen, either by ourselves or by others. However, I think the fact that international students are surrounded by people from different countries helps us not to fall into the trap of “drawing the wrong lesson”. Learning about something from a distant perspective (such as learning about another country) can encourage you to question what you here, and it can also raise questions about your own experiences and history. Therefore, I believe that even if many stories I hear about different countries don’t actually reflect the whole truth, they still teach me, and forces me question and consider something that I might never have thought about at all if I would have been surrounded only by people from my own country.

Another issue that Hastings brings up is that about interviews. He explains that in a history book, or any other type of writing, interviews should, in his opinion, be used in the purpose to create a sense of mood, time, and place, and an image of how the scene seemed to some participants. He emphasizes that he would never use the memories of someone to make any factual assertions. This is something that creates a problem for us international students. I’ve acquired a lot of facts about several countries and communities, that is based on the stories of my friends. These stories contribute to my image of that country, which it maybe shouldn’t do since it is based on memories and experiences. Does that then mean that no conclusions about a country can be drawn from stories based on memories and personal experiences? If that’s the case, being a student in an international school does not actually make us more international and understanding of different cultures. This also links to the issue of storytelling, and that the story commonly comes before the facts. In the end, I believe that socializing with people from different countries in an international school gives us, as Hastings suggest, an image of how something looks to some participants, and it’s important to remember not to make any hasty generalizations from what we hear.

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My views on ‘Internationalism’

I am a Korean living in China. I face numerous unique situations because I am living in China and am going to International school. I interact with friends who have different nationalities. Therefore the article ‘Drawing the wrong Lesson’ by McMillan presented me a totally innovative point of view.

This article is expanding it’s logic based on the point of view that the nation should concentrate on the preservation of historic facts. It says: the Federal Government shall recognize and manage the historic properties in its ownership assets that can support department and agency missions while contributing to the economic well being.

I support this point of view, as Korea is also suffering from the preservation of history. Korea has a very small area, but many people don’t know why Korea has small area. Korea suffered from many wars that completely destroyed the resources, economies and lives of the people. Starting from the invasion of Japan to Korean War, Korea was just a feeble country. Now, Japan is trying to extort ‘Dok Do’, the island that belongs to Korea, by claiming that the island originally belonged to Japan. However, this is not true. Japan had control over the history during last century, therefore the history was distorted. In order to prevent the situation like this happening again, Koreans will have to preserve our history.

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For ‘internationalism’ of IB core value, it means open minded to accept most things to learn and develop quickly. Also, it has meaning of an idea that aim to overcome boundaries of individual nation and difference to become solidarity, cooperation and unification of the world. I want to interpret internationalism, as second meaning for IB students’ future when they lunch into the world and society.

To express it in a simple word, that would be ‘peace’. In that process, internationalism requires much understanding and consideration for students who will be in a superior position. In theory, it might be simple and easy to standardise and unification the world, however where we (IB students) will lunch into is the actual. As the actual is often contradictory to the ideal, I think internationalism might bring some harm to people.
There are two layers of people in the world, first group is people who are in superior position and the other will be low position people, which can be the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in 19th century.
For superior position, they have to bear some side effects or disadvantages to make unification of the world. It might sounds as self-centered; however, I want to state that I am talking about internationalism in the actual world.
Also, if the world starts to unification, the standards will be decided by superior position group. Therefore, even they say it is a process of ‘unification and solidarity’ it will include advantages and standard will be toward to superior group in their favor, which leads to bearing of lower position people. In fact, in 19th century internationalism was standardised at the instigation of UK or US where were the empires.

I don’t want to think as internationalism is sharing ideas between different countries or moving Asia to Western. I think it isn’t too simple to use core value of students but it is the most important idea that student have to consider, as it is more complicate and difficult to implement in the actual world.

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Drawing the Wrong Lesson

Governments often alter the past in order to simplify history for the present generations. They accredit their own country more than the others and the facts recounted may differ from the actual happenings. In the essay “Drawing the wrong lesson” written by Max Hastings it is discussed how this might affect a country. The essay also states that history textbooks are written according to a patriotic view of the world and this tends to mislead not only the citizens, but also the politicians.

The fact that the government is able to censor or mask some key events in history is really disturbing. This means that international agreement on various issues is often unachievable due to the different historical views and may lead to serious conflicts among two or more countries.

This can also happen in international schools around the world. The IB learner profile explicitly states that all the students should be “open minded” and have an “international mind set”, but how can this happen if we were all raised with different perspectives on our past?  Problems may arise among students with different backgrounds and learning that all you’ve been taught is false and inutile is a real trauma. The truth hurts, but according to my perspective, it is essential to acknowledge the errors your own country has previously made, so that they cannot be repeated in the future. In international schools, the students should share what they’ve been taught, trying to link their own knowledge to the other students’.

International students should not cease to make an effort to learn history solely because of their backgrounds, instead, they should regard themselves as fortunate to have such an opportunity to escape the nationalism of their own country.

Another key question that arises is: How can history be taught in international schools? Theoretically, an international education would mean teaching history as it really is, without neglecting any events. Sadly, it cannot be that way as the government of the country the school is situated in still controls what is being taught, limiting the number of topics that can be discussed. Despite this, the curriculum tries to be international and include multiple topics from around the world, so that all the students can be pleased and at the same time have an international understanding.

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Drawing the wrong lesson

“International-mindness” means how much a person knows of the events that occur around the world. The term not only refers to our own understanding of our own culture or history but also other cultures and the history that goes along. Sometimes knowing an abundance of current events or taking a world history class would result in the idea of being “international-mindness.” However, when we consider how “international-mindness” we are, we never stop to realize where our information was obtained.

“History is written by the victors,” this quotation unanimous to what Max Hastings is so articulately announcing in his essay, “Drawing the wrong lesson.” The information we receive on our history or others are all written by the victors. In fact, we never considered how narrow our stream of knowledge is. At first, the media had convinced the citizens of America that American troops were winning. The conquerors told a story where they eradicated the communism from Vietnam, and met little resistance. However, soon after when the media got a hold of the truth that America was not winning but losing; the weak told something entirely different. All knowledge are derived from either a person or multiple people’s account of what they witness or what they effectuated. Meaning all knowledge which we interpret is subjected to biassed. All of our knowledge has faults and are not true.

If knowledge is biassed and if we are so easily enticed to believe in others, then are we the exact opposite of being “International-mindness.” Students claim that a knowledge of current, worldwide events result in being International-mindness; however, it only reinforce how insensitive we are to the truth. We don’t criticize the words we read off a page because we believe that once its published it must be the truth. However, we should question what we read because the people who write have a goal and it is to earn money. Yes, this is quite a cynical view. However,  as history has proven, it is the ones who do not have a voice have the most to say.

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Drawing the Wrong Lesson_HJ

I believe being an “international” student means acquiring an ablity to understand/accept the true cultures of others as well as your own culture. As one of international student, I could witness lots of cultural clash between people from all over the world. Clashes seen daily life is very minute because we barely talk about history of countries often. I could guarentee that if Chinese, Korean and Japanese gathered to talk about time period during World War II, it won’t be a happy ending.

What impedes us from acknowledging the truth behind our history? The main reason is our emotions. No one wants to lose. Nationalism, feeling proud of our nation, is assmimilated in our minds throughout the education.  There are some countries which show strong nationalism, such as China. China in chinese is “Zhong Guo”, meaning the country in middle of the world. That is reason why in the past, Chinese people thought their neighbouring countries as barbarian countries. Countries located in south was “Southern barbarian country” and so on. This strong nationalism makes chinese people to “abhor” Japanese people because of their action during Janpanes occupation of China. Strong nationalism also leads to forging and fixing textbooks to highlight the nation’s golden age, and veil terrible mistakes from its past. In addition, ruins of the historical time forces people to not to forget about the past. Places such as Auschwitz concetration camp and Nanjing Massacre museum, and people such as “comfort women” in South Korea reminds people of the dark and painful past. Reminder through our sense perception addition, ruins of the historical time forces people to not to forget about the past. Places such as Auschwitz concetration camp and Nanjing Massacre museum, and people such as “comfort women” in South Korea reminds people of the dark and painful past. Reminder through our sense perceptions motivates people’s innate nationalism, thus being  an impediment of making an international community.

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Two Stories_HJ

Question: What is the relationship between these stories and the people who tell them? how are such stories created, and sustained?

I believe stories, very informative and subjective one,  and the people who tell them must be some what related. For example, when you go to an art exhibition and listen to the guide who talks about certain art masterpieces, since the guide do not have any special relation with the art piece, the story (explanation) that the guide give will be like reading something off from a textbook. However, if the guide was the actual artist who drew the artwork, he is most likely to give more detailed, personalized explanation by talking about relation between himself  and the art work.

I truely think people act like as a filtering device when they are telling stories. Same story can be interpreted in various versions by the person’s cultural background, breadth of knowledge and  so on. “Chun Hyang Jun”, a Korean traditional story that is orally transmitted, is a perfect example of it. As stories are told to different people by different people, there are over 80 different versions of the same story. The reason for this change is because of people’s wants during the time. The story mostly famous among people of low- class, therefore, context of the story changed to the main character of low-class rise up against the people of high-class and marry her true love.  As a result, nobody knows what the original version of “Chun Hyang Jun”. With the context and message of a story, we are able to infer people’s lives during that time period. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the link between stories and people are unbreakable, and by what historical background and your social status, stories can be created or sustained.

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Two Stories

Working to earn money for oneself is almost heart of the capitalism. Nowadays, majority of countries around the world are capitalism country. Tax and welfare policy is one of the most inseparable issues in capitalism. It is fair and unfair to everyone, all the time.

According to the Story #1 there are some people who are so lazy and do not work at all. Welfare programs encourage such bad behaviour and people, who are lazy, deserve to starve. However, what if those people were unable to work hard because of their poor background? Then, this statement is such a selfish one from privileged people who had grown up in better environment. Not only lazy people who do not work at all, but also people grown up in broken families and terrible schools are more likely to starve in poverty even they are willing to work hard. Furthermore, what if yourself face unexpected personal bankruptcy? And you definitely need help from welfare policy? We should always keep in mind that we can be the one who needs support from others at anytime. Then, is it ethically acceptable? – paying taxes and encouraging welfare programs, because I can be the one who acutely needs help. No, if it is the reason that you are paying taxes and agreeing with welfare policy, you do not deserve any welfare.

On the other hand, there is not right for unprivileged people to live unworthy, falsehearted life. Then, they deserve to starve as the Story #1 says. It is complicated to judge objectively which one is right and wrong. Earning money for oneself and one’s family is right thing in capitalism. I work for myself and I work for my family to be privileged. It is not greed but a natural thing. Both sides should keep its own right, and this is why this issue is puzzling.

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which story is truer?

In my view, both stories are realistic and truthful. They look at the same social issues from different perspectives; the two authors obviously have very different cultural upbringing and backgrounds. Although two stories are truthful, I believe that story 2 looks at the problem more thoroughly than story 1, because it talks about privileges, how lives are unfair, and how more privileged groups have advantages such as good education, health, family support with the same amount of effort, leading to more success, while poor people will still need to worry about their future. Story 1 is a lot more straight forward; hardworking people succeed and lazy people fails, which is true, but it is not considering other factors that might affect the result. Therefore, my conclusion for this is story 2 is a more accurate portrayal.

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Which story is more truthful

After reading theses 2 stories, i felt the toughness of real world.

The two story are mentioning completely opposite opinions.

The story one says while hard working making money, the lazy people are relying welfare. The authors says welfare can encourage lazy people more lazier. And the story two says people who were born in difficult conditions, they would harder to find a job in future which means some of them might choose welfare.

In conclusion i think they both saying true fact.



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“Knowledge & Arts”

On the class blog write a response to ‘Knowledge & the Arts’ that refers to at least one specific piece of art from your personal knowledge and experience—any form of art will do. Using that work of art (or works of art) as an example, do the assertions made in the essay hold up, or not? Has the essay changed your views about art? Why or why not?


After I read the article ‘Knowledge & Arts,’ I assumed that it was suggesting that ‘Art’ is all about decoration, entertainment and beauty. But now that I think carefully of art, from my point of view, art is defined as something that cannot be created by humans. Since I was born, I’ve experienced and learnt what people call ‘art’. For instance, when I was young I was taught how to play the piano or draw but none of this really excited or interested me. I’ve seen the famous Mona Lisa painting and yet I felt nothing. However, I once went hiking on a mountain and saw the beautiful landscape and said to myself ‘What a beautiful piece of art.’ So I guess what I’m trying to say is that nothing matters what the article said. Compared to the ‘real’ art, the art in the article is nothing. So yes, the essay has changed my views about art.

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Reflection for storytelling

The essay, Storytelling, is basically explaining about the importance of storytelling in ways of knowing. Before I learn this essay, the impression of storytelling was just telling some fairytales, which is most of children like. However, I noticed that storytelling is not only telling stories for fun, it is how we learn thing, and it is not only for children, it is for everyone.

In this essay, I especially liked the phrase “We think in metaphors”. When I read the paragraphs about this, I reminded that I usually say: “It is like ……”, when I don’t know how to explain something in words. Thus, I totally agree with the idea that metaphors are the ways of explanation.

From this article, I learnt that we cannot think or learn anything without metaphors, storytelling.

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Two Stories Blog Post

I believe that both stories have some truth to them, but the definition of truth is vague. In story one it asserts that hardworking people should make more money than lazy people. And like this, poor people should work harder to earn more money and live better. However if a homeless child works for 50 hours a week selling newspapers and random jobs, is he lazy because he is poor or has he just had a bad start, like what story 2 talks about. In story 2 the author talks about people being born with less privileges than others and how they are at a big disadvantage in comparison to someone who has a caring family and lots of money. Both these claims are true, but to what extent are they realistic?

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Which story is more truthful?

In my view, I think both of the story are truthful, why do I say this? In story one, it says everyone are the same and equal to each other. But the only different is some people work harder than others, which benefit them in many ways, academic, career, and life. And it concluded with hard worker could always win the prize. I agree with this story, because everyone have equal amount of time, 24 hours a day, which means if someone waste his time on any entertaining activity and not working on proper work, he is behind someone who’s working at the same time.


In story two, it says people are not equal. Even though people have equal time, but there are other factors to affect their life, for example economic effect, people who are rich will always be rich and become easier to success. However, if the rich people who are born with more advantages than other, are not working hard and don’t concentrate on what they purpose to do, they will fail their life too.


Lastly, both of the stories are truthful and I agree with them. In different story, it gives out different aspect, and these aspects are truthful. I think these story are helpful to encourage people to work harder in life, even though they have lots of sources they might fail their life.

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Which story is more truthful?

After having a conversation about which story is more truthful, my group and I think that story 2 is more truthful.

In my personal opinion, story 1 is a very extreme example. The person who wrote the story has a very biased perspective. I mean of course, there are lazy people who have the opportunity but don’t bother to work or study hard in school. However, if we think about people who is in no environment to study, we can’t blame them for lacking the knowledge and skill they need. This is what I believe. Some people are born with more privileges than others and they live their lives lavishly. But most people, they just hope to get the basic amenities and live day by day. Those people are in no situation to afford to study. For this reason, yes, it is a waste of tax to help the lazy people who have such great opportunity to study and become someone intelligent who can take care of themselves. Instead they rather live like ‘bums’ and sponge off their parents. They don’t reserve anything. But people who weren’t born without privileges deserves help from us. Like story 2 said, if a wealthy person says “I’m not spending my hard – earned money to support those lazy bums!” And if the person is refering ‘lazy bums’ to the people born to a poor family, he or she is just ridiculous and cold hearted and is even worse than the people who are indifferent to them.

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Storytelling as WOK

I agree with the text that we learn best with narration and storytelling. I believe this because our since we were born, we, humans have been taught by teachers or parents. For instance, we go to school every day to gain knowledge from teachers and what we do is we listen to them. Now that we are so used to listening to gain knowledge, human learn best with narration and storytelling.

Storytelling is the most efficient way for humans to learn. From my past experience, I know this is true because, I’m a korean and like other koreans, I have experienced what Korean academies are like. To be honest, korean academies are the most inefficient of learning. This is because they simply teach the theory of the subject and ask students to do millions of questions again and again. This method takes a lot of time and students get easily stressed which could lead to a serious health issue. On the other hand, when I go to school, teachers try to help us understand the theory by storytelling and I enjoy it because not only is it fun but also easy to understand.

The only problem with storytelling is that sometimes, we give a bad example and it only confuses us. Therefore I have come up with a conclusion. It is true, storytelling is the most efficient way. However, you can’t entirely rely on storytelling and believe in everything you are told through storytelling, because they can be sometimes wrong too.

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Which story is more truthful?

Story one is clearly written of someone with a republican view, with opinions such as that welfare only encourages lazy behavior, and that rich should remain rich without extra taxes. I believe that this has some truth to it. For sure there are lazy people who doesn’t bother to work hard enough, and therefore ends up relying on those who do. However, the same applies to the second story. Of course people starts with different conditions which will have a huge impact on their future.

The problem with determining which one is more truthful lies in the fact that both stories are fairly opinion based. They are both typical examples of where the story comes before the fact. Both writers are trying to explain what we see in front of us, but with very different social and political views. The first story uses the fact that there are people who relies on welfare because of their laziness. This fact supports the republican view. Story two, possibly written by someone with a difficult background, uses the fact that some people simply don’t have the resources to reach success, which explains why welfare is needed. In the end, non of them are true, nor false. The facts that are chosen support the opinion of the writer, and there is no answer to which one is more truthful.

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Comparing the two stories

The main relationship between the two stories is that the two authors both make hasty generalisations about each other. The writers obviously differ in cultural backgrounds; I assumed that the first one is light-skinned, and rather stuck-up while the writer of the second story is most likely to be dark-skinned and without a lot of money.

I think that the second story is truer than the first because it highlights how some people just assume that dark-skinned people do not have much money, while the first story just criticises lazy people. In many countries, in this case the US, education has a cost and not everyone is able to afford it. The second story could be possibly suggesting that not everyone is rich and that many people would like to study but cannot afford to go to the best schools and, as a consequence they are looked down at, called lazy and not hired in many jobs.

These two stories also incite the use of stereotypes. In the first one, the author accuses all the lazy people, condemning them to eternal suffering. This is a stereotype because not everyone is like that, I know many people that are extremely lazy but still smart enough to pass a test with a way better score than a person who studied for three day. The author of the first story is also a stereotype because not all rich people are as arrogant and egoist. The two authors are technically writing about each other without understanding the differences in their backgrounds.

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Storytelling as a WOK

I think storytelling is essential as a WOK. It plays an important role to how we receive information. On the article “Narrative Science” Daniel Willingham compares the result of students who read a text in a typical expository fashion and students who read it in terms of a personal story of the scientist. The result shown demonstrates that the narrative text improves students’ comprehension and memory than the non-narrative text. This is because information that is displayed as a story is more interesting as we can relate to the experience and the story itself. It also exercises our imagination as we read the story. When it comes to recalling information, our memory is able replay the story easier because stories have chronological order from beginning to the end. There are also major events, actions and people in stories that aid our memory and understanding. Whereas if we were given random numbers and information that doesn’t mean anything to us, the chances that we would remember it are very little because there are no order of how we could remember it. For example, it is crucial to remember important dates and events in history. History is taught by telling a story chronologically from the beginning to the end such as the major events that happened in World War 1 along with the dates. Without the story, the dates and the events that occurred would be meaningless. Therefore, storytelling aid our knowledge and how we receive information.

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I agree that we, human beings learn best with narration and storytelling. Since we were children, we started learning through stories. As we go through school, we continue learning by reading and listening.

Storytelling is one of the most effective and efficient way of knowing. As “Narrative Science” by Daniel Willingham proved, students’ comprehension and their ability to remember is improved when new concepts are told through stories. Another reason behind this is that through narration it is more easy to grasp information. Non-narrative version just states the facts and has an almost boring tone. On contrast, narrative version lets children use their imagination. As humans remember the best by imaging an object, thus narrative version is much better then when new concepts are just read from textbooks.

But storytelling impedes us gaining is knowledge to. It allows us to acquire new information, but some of the information may have its real meaning lost as the stories are passed down through the generations. “God save the British Economy” by Adam Davidson is a perfect example of this. According to the essay, Economists can sometimes have different perspective about the same problems because the facts that economists have can be different and this can hammer their perspective. Even with similar results like GDP, Unemployment and economic growth they can all have different ways to solve the problem, for example how the UK and US choose to get out of the economic crisis. This is why stories cannot always be trusted because they can help you understand things but you can also have wrong information and this can affect either you and those who follow your decision.

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Is Storytelling the best method to educate students?

There were many attempts and failure to find out the better method to educate students. However, education is impossible to suit every single student because every student has different characteristics and disposition that is adoptable to a specific learning method. There are mainly two distinct methods that are each adapted to Western countries in Europe or States and Western countries in Asia.

In Asia, students prefer to assimilate information. They stay up late until 2 am to memorize the contents in the test and they are asked to solve multiple-choice questions. Whereas, the education of Western culture requires thinking from multiple subjects and have to explain something in own words. Therefore, it may seem much harder to solve western style questions. In my point of view, the exams in Korea are very inefficient because it only requires information and knowledge but not the applying skills. The most depressing point is that Korea cannot change the style of exam questions because Korea doesn’t have the trust-based system. Students and parents will not give credit to teachers if it is not multiple-choice exams. They have skepticism that they are not judged on the same touchstone as others.

From this problem, I think the education really needs storytelling. Nowadays, education is just about teachers feeding the knowledge and students just sucking it up. However, this education is useless in the future. The purpose of learning is to have appropriate sense of value and ability to judge and do the right thing, which will lead to a better life. Also government educates people to make them good citizens. Just memorizing knowledge will not help people unless they can apply it. Therefore, people should be educated through story. Our society is very stable, so it is impossible for us to experience war, poverty. If we listen to stories or books, we can experience something that we cannot access. Also by understanding the thoughts and emotion of characters in the books, we can train our ability to empathize. In our life, the ability to empathize with other people are really important because when we run a business or just simply a research project, good relationship between people are vital because it affects the efficiency and quality.

It’s tempting to believe that knowing as much as we can help us in our life. However, it is not true. Of course, having enough knowledge is important because if you don’t have any, we will not have any materials to apply. Therefore, information is a prerequisite to the good education. However, storytelling should be provided to use those information or knowledge.

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Storytelling as a WOK

I strongly agree that we, human beings learn best with narration and storytelling. Since when we are children, we start our education by not only reading but also listening to our parents. As this accumulates, we are best adapted in learning by reading and listening (storytelling). However, there is a shadow when there is a light, storytelling both benefits and impedes our gaining of knowledge.

Storytelling is one of the most effective and efficient way of knowing. As “Narrative Science” by Daniel Willingham proved, students’ comprehension and memory for information does prolong longer when it is in a narrative version. I am guessing with confidence that this is due to our exposure to narration from a young age. Other reason behind this phenomenon may be the fact that narrative version is more easy to grasp information. Non-narrative version just states the facts and has an almost rigid-listing tone. On contrast, narrative version offers more detailed picture in our imagination. As humans remember the best by imaging an object, thus narrative version lasts in our memory for a longer period of time.

The way that storytelling impedes our gaining is knowledge is very ironic. It still allows us to acquire new information, but some of the information may be distorted by mixture of storytelling and story making. Storytelling regardless of verbal or written, it could have a great impact on individuals-“I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, people may be persuaded by false knowledge through storytelling. “God save the British Economy” by Adam Davidson is a perfect example of this. According to the essay, Economists have different perspective with a same problem. What is interesting is that even though they have a similar, not if the same economic data such as GDP growth and unemployment, they come up with opposite stories. After reading the essay, I was mind-blown. I trusted the information that economists publish because of its statistics. However, I now have to question myself whether the story is first or the data. Are they making a story out of data given? Or they found appropriate data to support their stories? Was it egg first or the hen?

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What came first the story or the data?

What do we want in life? We want closure. Normally, a story would have a beginning and an end, which entails a simpler way of acceptance. We perceive information, we acknowledge facts by knowing that the ending will never change. And its the idea of a piece of knowledge that will never change ensures closure. Which is why the story came first. Data is fixed but clandestine. We do not accept this because we can misinterpret the data. Because the data can be misinterpret, we would not be able to acknowledge this information. A story would be far more beneficial. A story is like a key which unlocks our brain. Why? A story has a body, it also would have a memorable plot. Interesting stories are the ones which reals one in. Stories can not be misinterpreted. A beginning is set by the author and the following events will lead to an eventual ending, which will explain all the details in a clear way. If a story is not clear than the story has not use. Which is why we have a link between the story and the data. Imagine this a story is the seed and the data is the soil. Even with the soil nothing will sprout out of it. However, even with a seed the outcome might not be as expected. After all the seed can become a beautiful rose or a hideous weed. Therefore a story needs data in order for it to function properly. The data is a supplement to the story. It produces a sense of authority which entails a much well rounded education. The story after all is the key. Stories are crucial to the acceptance of knowledge, which is why without stories our knowledge is halted further. 

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Response to Narrative Science and Storytelling

I have doubt about how much different version of telling influence on transferring information. It can give us different atmosphere, however, there won’t be much difference to deliver facts. Examples of same text (the Galilean telescope) in expository version and the narrative version gave me different impression with the author, Daniel Willingham. When we talking about knowledge and fact I think expository version is more suitable talking style. By narrative version, even it transfers about facts, I felt the information is quite subjective.

The storytelling text stated, metaphor is significant way (at the very heart) of how we understand. It can help understanding, at the same time; it can also make conflicts to understand. When the case of talking with using only metaphor about one fact, (e.g. “something is yellow”) we can’t sure that reader/listener will associate the same thing that writer/speaker tried to talk about. In other case, for instance, “my brother is fast as an airplane.” Metaphor used to help understanding about the fact that ‘my brother is fast’. It stated the fact and metaphor is used additionally. Therefore, even metaphor is not used, components of information that tried to transfer is not changed. In all aspects, metaphor is just one of additional ways of storytelling and it can’t be heart of understanding and storytelling. The heart of it is only facts.

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Importance of Storytelling

The essays all highlighted the importance of storytelling in our lives, and how easy it is for us to learn from stories.

I was particularly fascinated by the statement “we think in metaphors”, found in the essay “Storytelling: Our Most Important Way of Knowing”. As I reflected on it, I found the statement to be true. When recounting previous experiences, we use metaphors to enable our audience to fully understand and to feel the same way as us. We can therefore understand the world better by listening and reading stories about experiences we did not have, and feel the same way as the author. The essay also highlighted the fact that we use metaphors and storytelling when we think and when we’re trying to understand a hard concept. This is how we gain a more profound knowledge on the world around us, we think, we compare, we contrast our thoughts, both positive and negative. Honestly, I think that writers, painters and poets are some of the few people who are able to translate these thoughts and stories into art, and that is essential in our world today, as it makes us think and form our own opinions.

It has always been very natural for humans to invent stories to explain some things that, at the time could not be given any explanation. For instance, when seeing a storm, the Greeks thought that Zeus was upset and when something unusual happened, the Romans blamed it on the goddess Fortuna. As I reread the essays, my opinion on storytelling changed completely. Before I thought that humans did not need it as much, but now I think that stories are essential in our lives, as they help us to learn more about ourselves and the world.

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