Category Archives: Language & Storytelling


I feel that narrating and telling stories should be seen as a way of knowing.By examining the different articles, I discovered that the stories we tell and all they show us are a big part of what we know. Storytelling has earned its place as the most important tradition humans possess. The most important reason for this being that every story contains a lesson to instruct the audience. Stories teach us to love, to forgive others, to be just and to strive for better than we have.

Narrating is a way in which we can analyze data and various life problems and pass them from generation to generation. Whether you like these anecdotes or not are the basis of many of our foundations, books or even part of our story, because most of them, not everything, of what we know, believe, and the reason why we do some things is based on our own experiences or others experiences.

Listening to these stories that are transmitted to us is one of the ways in which we currently know the things we know. Since these stories help us to perceive details of life that one has not been able to see and another has, and many of those stories teach us great lessons. From reading the narrative articles carefully, my perspective is that narrating is a solid and meaningful WOK. We have been telling stories and broadcasting for many years and it is an approach to transmit data and details that may be useful to someone this time or perhaps in the future.

There are stories of all kinds, difficulties teach us different things on different perspectives on life, adapted to educate in a certain way from the smallest to the most adult.

Thought flows in terms of stories – stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best story tellers. We learn in the form of stories.”

—Frank Smith, Canadian psycholinguist

It is also true that many stories do not resemble reality as they should and speak in a way of how they want the world to be rather than what it really is. “It does not describe the world as it is but as it should be.” But no matter if there are real or not, every story has it meaning, showing us different points of view, good and bad things, and thanks to the narration we know things that if in the past none of them would have written maybe at present we would not know anything about it.

But if I am sure of one thing, it is that the literature, as well as the history in general, are about stories, real stories, studied and specific but stories in short. What we read is about the story of something or someone that someone once wrote. We just have to analyze the word narration which means: the act of telling a story or the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment, now let’s analyze the word history: the study of past events, particularly in human affairs or the whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing. For this reason, narrating is important, capturing, analyzing and writing, because that is what our history and our footprint in this world are made of. All we now know about the Middle Ages was because someone left their mark and one of the many ways to make a mark in this world is to write it or tell it to someone so that it lasts in history. Many of these stories remain legends or rumors, but many others remain and become the foundations of many beliefs.

Hence, storytelling should be known as a WOK because it is absolutely a way of knowing and the fundaments of what we believe in. Most of the things we know nowadays are based in narrations of people showing their perspective on something, then after years they trust that information and nowadays, we just read them in our class books. Storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections. From the earliest recorded history, storytelling was a method used by cavemen to communicate, educate, share, and connect. So as it helps to go deeper and know different things into different perspectives we could say that narration should be known as a WOK

“Stories … protect us from chaos, and maybe that’s what we, unblinkered at the end of the 20th century, find ourselves craving. Implicit in the extraordinary revival of storytelling is the possibility that we need stories — that they are a fundamental unit of knowledge, the foundation of memory, essential to the way we make sense of our lives: the beginning, middle and end of our personal and collective trajectories. It is possible that narrative is as important to writing as the human body is to representational painting. We have returned to narrative-in many fields of knowledge-because it is impossible to live without them.”

— Bill Buford

Storytelling WinsyFang

‘Storytelling is not simply a way to amuse children, or to liven up a dull party, or to kill time around an evening campfire. Storytelling is how we know most of what we know—or think we know. The stories we are told, the stories we believe, and the stories we tell—both to ourselves and to each other—shape our view of reality; our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, normal and strange; our most basic beliefs about what is true, and what is false.’

Human are the only animal that can tell stories. When the story start, it is ended. Because we are the storytellers. We already made every decision for it. We can hear stories from everyone. From one by one, we stared to know this world, we realize our life, we are looking for our value and impact people with our belief. For example, I always hear some stories that I had similar experiences, and I would feel it resonate with me deeply. Rely on these resonates, the story will spread in crowd, and make strong influence.

I always think that why people tell stories? Cause we are stories. Most of the stories are from what we see, what we hear, what we think in the real life. We look at life from a different perspective, describe one thing in different ways, That’s the meaning of ‘There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.’


People love to tell stories, all the time, when something is funny, scary or out of the ordinary happens. Most of the time contains a lesson through it, on occasions teaching us to love; others experienses, to forgive others, to be just and to strive for better than we have.

For me, being a storyteller it’s something very powerful, you have that power to influence others, through the stories, even teach and inspire, having the connection between people and their ideas, involving culture values, History and bring about change.

However, in Arya’s and Maul’s study (2012) provides the evidence that putting to be learned material in a story format improves learning outcomes, easier to remember. The experiment tested in  7th and 8th grade students in the U.S. on texts about the discoveries of Galileo OR the discoveries of Marie Curie. The texts were developed to be as similar as possible in terms of syntactic complexity, vocabulary, accuracy, and other measures. It showed how the narrative language helped them, with the final result of the students who listened the story in narrative version was remembered than the others who listened the expository version.

In my conclusion, storytelling includes all the way of knowledge, even if it’s from others perspectives, I’m agree with the point that narrative reasoning helps us to empathize with other people, become better citizens, increase our intelligence, and develop a coherent and healthy sense of personal identity. Ultimately, I think that those who are able to develop the capacity to reason narratively will be able to have a more comprehensive understanding of the human experience. Storytelling should be considered as a WOK.



Three articles about metaphors

Three articles about metaphors, from three different perspectives: an academic site, a business site, and a linguistic therapy site.

  1. “Your Brain on Metaphors”:
  2. “How Metaphors & Analogies Influence Your Thinking”:
  3. “The Magic of Metaphor”:


I think storytelling is very important Ways of Knowing.

Storytelling is very effective way to tell somebody about something. Telling a story by using narrative language is easier for people to remember, rather than using expository language. According to the study made by Arya and Maul about how the narrative language help the 7th and 8th grade student remember storied. Their experiment was telling two same stories by using a both expository and narrative language to the 2 groups of students respectively and test how well they remember it after a week. The result shows the students who listened story in narrative version is significantly remembered the story better than who were told in expository.

Storytelling is used in many areas of our society especially in politics and advertising and plays huge role. Politician use storytelling in their speech say something like “something has been the threat of our country, and I can do something to deal with it, if you vote for me.”

, and advertising use storytelling to sell their products. For example, a lot of advertisements show use the story that people’s life become easier, happier because of their products, and use it to persuade people to buy their product. The politicians and advertisements use a lot of storytelling is because storytelling makes their language more comprehensible, impressive, and pull a lot of attention.

Personally, I experienced a lot of storytelling. One the reason of why I came to this school is because I was impressive by the advertisement of the school, and imagine the life in a Canadian school, although the imagination is a little different from the reality. When I am walking on the street in China, I can see a lot of propaganda telling about the achievement that our country has made in order to evoke people’s patriotism. Back to my childhood, I read a lot of story that make me become a good person, such as the story of Cry Wolf that tells me lying is bad thing.

Storytelling is a very important Way of Knowledge, but it can be used to make damage to people- create a lot of misleading. Storytelling makes people think emotionally and subjectively rather than rationally or objectively, and it makes people believe it so easily, because they usually like to put themselves into the character of the stories. This can make the audience forget to find out the evidence that prove the story is true. Once they believe the stories, it will create stereotype, because the stories are usually untrue or incomplete. During the coronavirus time, I saw a lot of news medias, especially the western new media, writing about conspiracy theories which are no evidence based which make people criticizing China. More astonishingly, someone write a post about 5G tower spread the coronavirus which is no scientific supported, and a lot of people believe it and burned the tower.

Storytelling should be regarded as a WOK

After reading these articles, I maintain that storytelling should be regarded as a way of knowing, and is kind of the most basic WOK. In general, storytelling is a means for sharing and interpreting experiences, and every corner of our lives is filled with stories that help us fit into the world.

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know-or think what we know…shape our view of reality…Humans are the only animals that tell stories…Storytelling, therefore, is at the very heart of we understand the world and ourselves…Everything we know takes the form of a story.

When I go through the article “Storytelling: Our most important way of important”, I just realize that storytelling is the heart of our life and learning or other human behaviors. Most of things around us are composed of different stories, and we use storytelling to describe the social and cultural activity of sharing stories and so on. For example, like every culture has its own stories or narratives (what is our identity, what should we do, what should happen under this culture, etc). And history is collective storytelling, and the same situation happens in other fields or in many specific theories.

In our daily life, as the article said before, when we use a metaphor, we have begun to tell a story. That’s true, but I think when we talk to each other, we have begun to use storytelling which is a way of knowing for both sides. Like we can imagine that all the things we say are “stories”, so the way of expression is naturally the way of telling a story(storytelling). So that’s the broad implications of storytelling, and when we make storytelling concrete, we see the benefits of it. At school, if teacher uses narrative version to teach students or let them learns by using the passage in the narrative version, students’ comprehension and memory for the information in the text have improved so much according to the survey, which means the way of knowing of narrative version helps students to understand to learn knowledge.

In the field of politics, we can clearly see that much of the political reporting is in the form of storytelling, which helps citizen to receive. Almost all presidential candidates tell “stories” when they make campaign speeches. For advertising, the mean of storytelling is more common. Like many brands promote themselves on TV by telling “stories” to attract the audience’s attention, such as Coca-Cola.

In conclusion, everyone is presenting and expressing themselves in a storytelling way. For storytelling, this is just a basic mean in our life, like the point is not whether the content is a real story or not, but that it is a way of expression.

Storytelling – Josefa

After reading the documents about storytelling I understand why it is said that it is the most important way of knowing and I am not sure about that but I do think it is a way of knowing. Storytelling is part of every WOK and basically of all of us, everything we know is because of a story and it sounds weird but it is true and makes sense when you think about it, everyday stories are present everywhere, on movies, on books, on the internet and in commercials, and sometimes it can be used to give information, to give ideas or to teach something or entertain. “Everything we think, everything we believe, everything we know takes the form of a story. “ (Eric T. MacKnight April 2012) That is very true because when we are kids they teach us everything in a form of a story, everything they teach in school is based on a story and every belief  is also based from a story.

I think that when it is about our existence it is very questionable and that is why I believe there are religions, because there are many stories out there talking about how and why we exist and each one of us choose what to believe because there is no way of knowing which one is true in a scientific way. when we talk about history it can also be questionable because when a story gets passed by from person to person the story gets altered in a way and so at the last person that it is told some thing might be different and that is why I don’t know if it can be the most important WOK.

Story Telling

In the TOK course, we have studied several ways of knowing, such as Language, Emotions and Logic, Reasoning. We all know that there is no right answer for the TOK questions, and finding out what is the most important way of knowing is not an exception. As an example, following your emotions are right, as this is how morality is built in our society, but on the other hand its not always the right decision to make in situations where Logic takes place. Reason allows us to form knowledge without relying on our senses. Reason makes us deduce what we can not immediately experience for ourselves Language is a very ancient way of knowledge. The main function of language is to communicate knowledge, but as times pass, the meaning of it gets lost.

After studying articles about Storytelling, I have my doubts about if it should be a part of WOK. It is a really strong way to know something. As a kid you are listening to the fairytale, when you are in school, teachers are sharing their life experience with you. Storytelling doesn’t leave us though our life. But, and this is a big point, storytelling includes all the WOK. Anf this is why I don’t think its a reliable source. All the stories we know, we either heard them from someone or experience them. It is only a one-way perspective. Some stories were translated from other languages, and it lost its first meaning. As an example, the Bible. Bible was rewritten so many times by the government, and the story we have in our hand at this moment is close, but not the same as it was when the holy book was created. When a person tells you a story he experienced, it won’t be the same as you will tell the same story, as you cant experience it. I do think Story Telling is important in our lives, but it is not the best Way of Knowing.

Storytelling (WOK)

I believed that storytelling should be regarded as a way of knowing. As the article, Storytelling: Our Most Important Way Of Knowing, says that

“The stories we are told, the stories we believe, and the stories we tell—both

to ourselves and to each other—shape our view of reality; our ideas of good and bad, right

and wrong, normal and strange; our most basic beliefs about what is true, and what is false”(Eric T, Macknignt)

I also think in the same way. Stories exist across history, across culture, and across era so that stories are just like our life. Suppose the listener knows nothing about the world( this might be when we were kids), and the speaker tells the listener knowledge that the speaker has. It can construct a listener’s own world by having an idea and knowledge to think. I am assuming that storytelling can also lead people to think objectively, not only from their own subject. It is because stories are created by humans based on the situation they are standing, and storytelling includes a person’s value. It is not just a method of knowledge transfer, but to construct the new world inside of the listener. In other words, the speaker is talking not for herself but for the listener.

“Everything we think, everything we believe, everything we know takes the form of a story. If we hope to

understand ourselves and others, we must understand stories” (Eric T, Macknight)

These last two sentences might have similarities with what I wrote above and related to the first quote. A thousand stories you heard influence everything we believe and we know. However, I think storytelling can be the basis of the way of knowing only when they experience the story.


After reading this articles I believe that storytelling might be the most important “way of knowing”. This is because we as humans have learned to save all the important information as stories in our head.

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know—or think we know. The stories we are told, the stories we believe, and the stories we tell—both to ourselves and to each other—shape our view of reality; our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, normal and strange; our most basic beliefs about what is true, and what is false.

Humans are the only animals that tell stories.

I found this really interesting because it is all true, there is a story behind everything. We create stories in our head about what we should or want to do. Just as the ones that we learned when we where little. And those stories are the same only more complex. A perfect example is in TV and I’m not talking only about the movies but the commercials and the news. Advertising has become a short story of why that product is the best you can get. Or in politics they sell the story of what they envision to accomplish. But the most interesting part is that we are sold in all this stories.

If students do not become adept readers of stories, how can they ever hope to analyse and respond to the stories that will be thrown at them all their lives by politicians, by governments, by marketers—not to mention friends, family members, and perfect strangers? Everything we think, everything we believe, everything we know takes the form of a story. If we hope to understand ourselves and others, we must understand stories.

I think that this is really important, because in our lives we are going to get million of stories thrown at us and if we are not able to understand them correctly we are going to end up gathering the wrong ideas. They say history is big story meant for us to understand the errors of the past to prevent repeating them in the future. But to do so we need more than the story, we need to be able to understand and analyze it in a proper way. And that is why storytelling is the most important way of knowing.

Is storytelling a WOK, or a HWK?-Isaac

After reading the articles about storytelling, my point of view is that storytelling is a strong and very important WOK. We have been telling stories for thousands of years and it is a way to pass on information with the future. Take bedtime stories, for example, they are used to tell us (in the case of Hasel and Gretel to not be too greedy) lessons that we should have in our life. As kids, we prefer listening and taking in information when we enjoy it. If you want your kids to eat vegetables, what do you think they would prefer to hear that from, Popeye, or a news article.

“The advantage of the story over exposition was significant in all conditions…Science lends itself naturally to narrative structure–authors can tell the stories of individual scientists, their struggles, their discoveries, and so on.”

When we look up the definition of storytelling, we get “the activity of telling or writing stories”, and when we look up the definition of story, “an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something”. The act of “storytelling” is in our life all the time, this blog post that you are reading now is a story, it is me telling you what I have learnt.

When we go back to the question of if storytelling is a WOK, it could be considered a WOK or it could not. If we use it all the time, is that a way of knowing, or how we know, HWK? Anyone or anything can tell a story, it’s just about if we can interperate it or not.

“Until the lion learns to write, every story will always glorify the hunter”-African Proverb


most people think that story are created to amuse people, and I used to think the same way, until I saw an article called “Storytelling: Our Most Important Way of Knowing” written by Mr.Macknight.
If someone asked you about how do we gain knowledge most of the time, you will probably say “by learning ,of course!” though there are many different forms of learning, most people learned stuff from their teacher, parents, or even from a stranger, but they have one in common, you’ve gain knowledge from someone else, and think about how do someone try to explain a things to you that you don’t know and haven’t seen before, by giving examples of course! it is the most effective and simplest way, and according to

We cannot think without using metaphors, and the moment we use a metaphor we have begun to tell a story

this sentence metaphor is merely a short story which correspond to the terms examples: “a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule ”(google) noticed the phrase “illustrating a general rule”, isn’t that how metaphors all about?
In conclusion I do think that storytelling is the most important way of knowing and it also helped to shaped our personality and personal values throughout our life.

Storytelling as a WOK

We tend to think of storytelling as a form of teaching children simple life lessons or morals, such as do not talk to strangers, be nice to everyone, sharing is caring, etc. However, throughout our life we never stop believing stories that are told to us. Whether it is through marketing at a car dealership or a politician advocating their reasons you should vote for them, we will always be influenced by stories told to us in person and through the media. In the article, Storytelling – Our Most Important Way of Knowing, written by our very own Mr.MacKnight, he mentions multiple persuading points that have caused me to believe that storytelling is one of the most important ways of knowing. Storytelling is how we are taught most of what we know and therefore, “Shapes our view of reality.” If you read the story Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr.Seuss to a child, they will grow up with that moral in the back of their mind and they will give back to those who are less fortunate. Most of us do not remember when we learned all the moral things we know, we just believe things are right or wrong, based on what we have been taught. Even if we are taught these morals through Dr.Seuss books, we still learn them all the same. Most people believe storytelling is not that important and it is just to teach kids to be nice and share, but we have seen some very deep discoveries come out of storytelling. MacKnight also mentions a point related to this, “The most important stories we tell delve into the most profound questions about our existence.” Storytelling may be regarded as something for children, but as we have seen, it explores so many aspects of our life and shapes us into the people we become as adults.


After reading these documents, I am persuaded that storytelling should be a Way of Knowing. one of the things that stuck out to me after reading the documents was from Narrative Science by Daniel Willingham. I found it really interesting how after the students read the text about Galileo in narrative form instead of expository form, many more students comprehended and remembered the information in the text. I agreed with this, because I found that when I was younger I have a way better memory of things when they were told to me as a story, rather than just having them explained to me. I also really liked the proverb,

Until the lion learns to write, every story will always glorify the hunter.

I think this proverb means that people only ever hear the hunters side of the story, but the lion cannot tell anybody what it thinks. I think this can be applied to more than just a hunter and a lion, though. If someone is a victim of injustice by a government or a person, but no one listens to what they have to say, then no one will ever know their side of the story. For the picture “electricity explained” I had no idea what it represented. I probably would be able to understand better if it had been written as a story, with the ohm, the volt and the amp being a character, because it would have helped me visualize what each part was doing.

I think that storytelling should be considered a Way of Knowing, because as Mr. MacKnight said:

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know—or
think we know. The stories we are told, the stories we believe, and the stories we tell—both
to ourselves and to each other—shape our view of reality; our ideas of good and bad, right
and wrong, normal and strange; our most basic beliefs about what is true, and what is false.

I agree with this. A lot of what I know, I learned from stories read to me when I was little. Most stories are meant to have a meaning, or a lesson that people can learn from. Most stories also have themes, that we do not realize are there unless we look closer at what the author is trying to say. Even the most simple children’s stories have very important themes, like Courage, Friendship, and Loss. All of these are very important things in our lives, and we need to learn about them. I think this is why our parents read us specific stories when we are young, that they know will teach us valuable life lessons that we will need later in life.



Something that I found very interesting about the articles that I read was in the article titled “Narrative science”. One statement in this article caught my eye. I was talking about how putting information and lessons into a story format can improve the learning outcomes in the students. I found that interesting as I think that I would learn better is all my lessons were in a story format. In the article Until lions learn to write, the quote said “Until lions learn to write, every story will always glorify the hunter.” I found that interesting because it made me realize that every story told abut going hunting is only from one perspective. We do not know what is going through the mind of the animal before it is hunted. When people tell stories, they are always from one perspective. That of the storyteller. It becomes easy to have bias in ones stories. The next article that I read was called Two Stories. In story number one, it talks about the different between smart and lazy people. It says that smart people get jobs and become successful, and that lazy people become bums and live off of their parents for the rest of their lives. I believe that is true because is one does not be proactive and work for what they want, then they will never get what they want. in story number two, it talks about how some people are born with more privileges than others. I found this interesting as I think that is it true. It can depend on where one is born and when one is born. This can affect how ones story is told as it can possibly change ones view on the subject of freedom and how one views what certain rights and privileges are. This next document I think is the most interesting one. It states that storytelling is how we know most of what we know – or think we know. This statement hit different because basically all learning that we do in school is a story of what has happened in the past. That was a big realization for me. WE learn a lot from just listening to what is going on around us and what is being said to us wither by teachers who are retelling what has happened in the past of even just what has happened to people that we know more like what has happened at work that day or something else that someone thought was interesting.

Storytelling- Andrea

I believe that story telling should be regarded as a way of knowing, because when we share stories with people through storytelling, we are exchanging knowledge. Storytelling has always been a part of our culture as human beings and in the past, it has been seen as a way of passing wisdom to others, not only do we share knowledge, but we also share values, traditions, experiences, etc. The reason storytelling plays a really important role on our way of knowing things, is that we share our stories through narration. Narrativity has always been an easy way for human beings to understand and make sense of events that occur. Therefore, I think that story telling might be one of the most important ways of knowing.

Everything we think, everything we believe, everything we know takes the form of a story. If we hope to understand ourselves and others, we must understand stories. (Eric T. McKnight April 2012)

Its importance is that it is a simple way or resource, that can help anyone to express something through storytelling. Since stories are a universal part of human experiences, they help us save our culture and pass knowledge from one generation to another. Everyone has stories to tell, so we can also say that storytelling is a form of power because it is a skill that when people manage to develop, it can have powerful effects such as communication, knowledge, building confidence, among others. It also makes us think of the person that is telling the story as a leader that inspires us and teaches us. Storytelling can also influence our brains when we are listening to the person telling it. Think of how music affects our mood and emotions, when we listen to music on our daily lives, we are listening to people telling us stories, all the lyrics in songs are also singers telling and sharing their stories with us. Like songs, storytelling changes and boosts our emotions, there is always a message left to the listener from the person that is telling the story. Stories are not only something that someone makes up to entertain people, but they can impact our brains, and can even alter the way we think and act. On our daily lives we are always listening to people telling us anecdotes, experiences, every time we talk to someone, we are sharing things that happen to us, we are always sharing stories. I think that storytelling also allows us to improve listening skills that we need for learning and having knowledge.



Storytelling is not the way

Storytelling is a method of transmission of information, usually in a chronological order, used by people through generations, both in text and images. Humanity uses storytelling to give orders, give explanations, entertain and perhaps most importantly – raise children. For hundreds of years, before the creation of the Guttenberg’s printing press, people have been sharing stories: the first ever book and story to be printed on the printing press is the Latin translation of the Bible.

In the Narrative Science, by Daniel Willingham, he describes how usage of narrative structure to explain the discoveries of Galileo or Marie Curie. According to the extract, students’ comprehension and memory for the information was increased when the same information was presented in a form of a narrative story. He explains it by arguing that science is narrative by nature:

Science lends itself naturally to narrative structure–authors can tell the stories of individual scientists, their struggles, their discoveries, and so on.

While the experiment may have shown the positive effect of storytelling in the education sector, the information transmitted was two pieces of writing, which effectively makes usage of language. Other documents examined try to express information narratively in image format, for example the “electricity explained” image makes an attempt to explain a physical concept (Ohm’s law) by visualizing the 3 properties of the Ohm’s law: Resistance, Current and Voltage in a story, making use of visionary sensors: eyes. One document combined usage of language with an image. All of them combine existing “Ways of Knowing”, such as language or sense perception, or emotion which some stories might create, but not represent any new way of knowing at its foundation.

Reading Mr. Eric MacKnight’s paper on storytelling, he makes a point about people thinking in metaphors:

We cannot think without using metaphors, and the moment we use a metaphor we have begun to tell a story.

While some studies show that metaphorical thinking might be the way humans think, the left/right brain theory suggests that different people think differently, using two halves of their brains. At least 40% people think in images, using their imagination to analyze and predict data, and 60% think in word and language, or mixed with images. The nature of human brain is a mystery to be discovered, but it is a fact that some people have more trouble or success when dealing with a mathematical science, such as Physics, or with human sciences, such as history. These two sciences are different in their core, and so is the type of data they return. For example, explaining historical events in a narrative style would be helpful and effective, because human history is a story, but not describing mathematical models in Physics: going back to the “Ohm’s law” image, while the image represents the base of the concept in the simplest and most understandable way possible, it neglects the scientific depth behind the topic which might reflect negatively on the resultant information understood by the students.

In conclusion, while storytelling might be a better way for some students to learn and analyze knowledge, it mixes the existing ways of knowing such as language, sense perception and emotions, but essentially does not introduce a new way and thus cannot be considered a Way of Knowing by itself. It also might not be as effective for some students who prefer different types of information, or even deform the concepts that the students must learn.

Sources: Page on Metaphores, by Steve Rathje; Article on Laterization of brain function

Storytelling- Steven

In my opinion story is a way that people could getting knowledge and it’s also a kind of interesting way.

We’d rather read a novel or watch a movie than read a serious textbook or watch a video course. The latter is a story with characters and plot, while the former is a lot of boring knowledge. But are those fictional stories just entertainment? No, the fictional stories are actually the key to our understanding of the world. To live in this world, human beings need to make many decisions. To make a decision, you need some background information. For example, if I were to buy one of three apples, I would need to know the taste of the three apples, the price, my own taste preferences, and how much money I have in my wallet. In this way, I can decide which one I like more, within the price range I can afford. So, I decided to give the money to the person who sold the apples, and he gave the apples to me so that I could eat that apple to satisfy my appetite.

Strictly speaking, any information that can change our behavior is a kind of knowledge. And any acquisition of knowledge, is learning. So, we read novels, we watch movies, maybe we are studying. But the efficiency of this kind of learning is not necessarily high, and it’s pretty hard to control on this.

Are you persuaded that storytelling should be regarded as a Way of Knowing?

I think storytelling should be regard as Way of Knowing. When I asked what is the meaning of Way of Knowledge to Mr. MacKnight, he told me it is a method or means of knowing: reason, emotion, storytelling etc. It is not what we know, but how we know.

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know—or think we know.

—Eric T. MacKnight April 2012

In my opinion, there are two types of Way of knowing. One is “experience” and another one is “storytelling”. The experience we had will be our knowledge. For example, if we touch an ice, then we will know that ice is cold and that will be our knowledge. Then, how can we have a knowledge which we did not have an experience? I think somebody should tell you, or you read a textbook, etc. This means the knowledge except from the experience is learned by storytelling. For example, most of the history is storytelling. We don’t know what happened in the past and also we cannot go back and check what happened, so we listen to the people or read a book and believe it and it will be our knowledge. However, when people tell a story, it will also includes their emotion or belief. That is why the facts we believe are different for each person. For instance, in my country we learn that atomic bomb is awful and war should never be started. When I listen to the TV documentary of  the atomic bomb, I can hear that Japanese are blaming Americans and I believed that until I heard a story from my cousin. I have a cousin who lives in US and having an education in US. He told me that he learned that US dropped the atomic bomb to save the life of  Japanese citizen. Because Japanese government did not stop the war, US dropped the atomic bomb and try to bring the war to end. After I heard this, I started to think there will be other perspectives or stories when I hear a story. Therefore, there is one true fact, but it will change depending on storytelling and it will influence to our knowledge.

Story Telling – Eloise

I knew story telling was a way of passing on knowledge because in B.C. part of the curriculum in elementary school is learning about First Nations and their culture. The elders usually tell stories to the children to pass down information from their lifetime and stories that they’ve been told by their elders. I had never questioned it beyond that though, such as what what classifies it as a story, who tells stories or anything of that matter. For example teachers. I have never seen a teacher as a story teller unless they are telling us a story about their lives, however, everything they are telling us is technically a story.

Thought flows in terms of stories – stories about

events, stories about people, and stories about

intentions and achievements. The best teachers are

the best story tellers. We learn in the form of stories.

—Frank Smith, Canadian psycholinguist

I’m specifically interested in the third sentence, “the best teachers are the best story tellers.” Frank Smith is absolutely right, if the information isn’t presented in an interesting way, most of it goes right over students heads, while if the information is presented in an interesting way, it is easy to follow along and you tend to remember it more. There was a study done on this in 2012 by Ayra and Maul (Narrative Science by Daniel Willingham).

Another part of this that I found interesting was the “Electricity Explained” picture. A popular saying is that a picture is worth 1000 words. However looking at this picture I couldn’t think of any. I knew the terms “Ohm, Volt and Amp” but I wasn’t able to make anything out of the picture without calling a physics student to explain it to me.

The last document that I found interesting was “until Lions Learn to Write” because it was a good way to understand that with storytelling you will often only get one side to the story and sometimes that isn’t the whole story. In the case of the lions being hunted, the hunter is always the good person because he brought down a beast and brought home meat, fur and bones. While from the lions point of view the hunter is the villain, taking away a lions life.

Should Storytelling be regarded as a WOK?

There are several ways of knowing, language, emotion, and reason are a couple of examples. Storytelling is seen as the most important way of knowing according to Eric T. Macknight in “Storytelling: Our Most Important Way of Knowing”. And yes, it is a great resource, especially for kids. It is an interesting way to teach children new topics that prevents them from getting bored or losing interest too quickly. There has been a study made to prove the positive impacts of using storytelling as a learning tool. This study conducted by Daniel Willingham in “Narrative Science” proves right how teaching kids certain topics with a story showed better results in a test than in kids that were taught in a conventional way. However, I completely disagree that storytelling is our most important or most reliable way of knowing. This is because stories will tell us the story from one perspective, or “The danger of a single story” according to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This Nigerian author warns us of how just listening to one story about a person, topic or country will be risking us to fall into a great misunderstanding. A good example would be World War 2. If you hear a story from the Americans or the British the common claim is that all Nazis are reckless killers. However a great amount of the German troops did not support their leader, but if they didn’t fight they would be executed and their families would be shamed. Stories can lead to creating stereotypes, and as Chimamanda N. Adichie said: “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete”.

The problem with stories is that typically, they are written from one perspective. So the hero will always be the protagonist, but what if we heard the other side of the story? Someone who is seen as a thief would be called a villain or a bad person, but what if this individual can not find a job to feed his children? Is he still such a bad person? In my opinion, considering storytelling as a way of knowing is not right since there is always a great margin of error. If this method is used, children will only hear one part from the original story and there would be a lot of misconceptions. These children would grow to learn, to believe, and listen to just one perspective.


From the IBO TOK Guide (first exams in 2015):

How does language shape knowledge? Does the importance of language in an area of knowledge ground it in a particular culture? How are metaphors used in the construction of knowledge?

Language can refer to the mental faculty which allows people to learn and use complex communication systems, or it can refer to those systems themselves. Language consists of a system of signs with agreed or conventional meanings combined according to a set of rules for the purposes of communication, formulation of ideas, storage of knowledge, or as a medium of thought. The term “signs” can be interpreted very broadly to include letters, symbols, sounds, gestures, images, and even objects. Language is a crucial part of our daily lives, but is also filled with potential problem areas, for example, ambiguity, sarcasm, irony, and translation issues.

Language plays an important role in communicating knowledge. However, some see language as having an even more central role, arguing that language doesn’t just describe our experiences of the world but in fact actually structures those experiences. In the section on the knowledge framework there is a discussion about whether certain types of knowledge are actually constituted by language—the idea that language is part and parcel of the knowledge claim itself and not merely a description of something that exists independently of language. The view that facts about the world might be determined by language is called linguistic determinism.