Anh Tai Trang – History

History is like a book about things that happened in the past. It explains why, the course, the end or the continuation to the present time. In addition, some historians add some information to make the timeline more reasonable.

“History is written by the victors.”
-Winston Churchill-

The above statement can clearly show that the story taking place in history will have some details that will always be a mystery. The numbers we see when reading or viewing some historical documents are due to what is left over from history. For example, we know how many bombs there are in the war and the number of deaths. But, there will always be a missing number of people and sometimes people will find a few unworkable bombs and the number will increase when we find a new bomb stuck that somewhere deeply in the ground.

It is often said that we study history (war) so that we do not repeat these things in the future. But, it is not 100% sure because if we look back to the years from 100 to about 1000 we can see the wars getting more and more advanced. Let’s say we use swords and from there to guns and bombs. So far, I think the war will still take place because otherwise, why would developed countries like Russia or the United States study nuclear and “advanced weapons”?

History as a Reliable Source

In the previous topic, we were discussing the importance of storytelling. In this case history is humanity past, we see our failures and our enemies, our victories, and our defeats.  As we learn history in schools and universities, it helps give some idea of the domain over which managers actually do have power and influence.  Id we consider history as another Way of Knowledge, It helps you see where you can have an effect. Our history is repeating over centuries, as humankind is developing and growing.  In my opinion, we can trust history as it provides us with facts and proofs. It is a Reliable knowledge.  It is the knowledge that has a high probability of being true as its veracity has been justified by a reliable method. The historian is competent but unfortunately, does not have access to reliable sources of information. This exactly what is discussed in “How Texas Teaches History”. Humanity today,  do not know what has happened, as we haven’t witnessed events in the past.


History is the study of the past. From the point of view of TOK, history is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. It is true. Behind the term “history”, it is a field of knowledge, a record and study of past events, like anything that happened before the present moment can be called history, and that has more or less value of its own. Moreover, when people talk about learning history, actually it is true that “studying history also deepens our understanding of human behaviour, as reflecting on the past can help us to make sense of the present”(TOK guide 2015). For example, WW2 is a recognized historical event which has so many first hand information and second hand information (Historical documents) to prove. From this phase of history, we not only learn the destruction of war and knowledge of conflicts, but also know that how to protect peace and how to promote technological progress more effectively and so on, which in a sense to help human civilization progress.

Speaking of historical events like WW2, we can quickly find out that history actually is supported by all kinds of documentary evidence. Naturally, there are some questions: whether the evidence is reliable? How accurate are the historians’ accounts and analyses of historical events? All these questions will directly affect the authenticity of historical events. In fact, we can easily find out that much of history remains to be seen for its accuracy and veracity, especially for ancient history such as Greek civilization. Like we can’t help but wonder if the historical evidence handed down thousands of years ago really reflects the situation, because after all, we didn’t see it for ourselves.

There is properly no history; only biography.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

I agree with it to a certain extent. We can say that history serves mankind, mankind is creating history, writing history. We also can say that only what you see is real, and the authenticity of history can also be judged according to this personal way of thinking. However, everyone is different. They are in different environments, experience differently, and hear and see different things. These all negate the decisiveness and consistency of history to a certain extent, and that’s why there is no proper history. However, a  biography is a detailed description of a person’s life, which can naturally apply for record of history. Think about it another way, biography may be more appropriate for our current textual research on history.

Furthermore, for a recognized history (this is actually happening), it can not be consistent in life for a variety of reasons. In How Texas Teaches History, the question of grammar in the textbooks bring into question the reality of how black people were treated by white people in the context of slavery, although we can learn about the real situation from all kinds of real literature. Here is another example, up to now, many Japanese refuse to admit the crimes committed by their country in the war of aggression against China, including the fact that the education of the new generation of Japanese young people has not made a clear statement on the incident of aggression against China, and even denied the incident in many textbooks. Maybe they just want to base on the quote that “History is written by the winners.—George Orwell” to do some negation.

In conclusion, I think the discussion about proper history is contradictory.



History is not study of past. History is a study of recorded passed. It is not possible to know every event which have happened before now to everyone, everywhere, at any time. What we could know is based on survived evidence such as pass newspapers, documents, articles, videos, etc.


History is not like other social sciences which can do the experiment directly and make conclusion. For example, economist can collect the data like GDP, and to predict future economy. History study is only based on the evidence that left behind from the past because historian cannot take time-travel to see what was happened, and those evidence are very limited.


Furthermore, those evidence which consider to be useful was usually created by authorized man, and because of the censorship. Those survived evidences usually were not complete story, even more, untrue. It only tell us what the “authorized man” thought what was happened or what he want others to think what happened. Therefore, it is hard to tell that what we learn from the history is the facts about the past or the story that the people in the past want to tell us.

Economics as a Human Science

The term social science is appointed to any subject that refers to human behavior.

“A fundamental difference between human sciences and natural sciences is in the interpretation of the word “science”. The human sciences might be classified as science because they use the scientific method to test the validity and reliability of hypotheses. However, unlike the natural sciences, the phenomena they try to explain might not possess hard and fast laws that admit no exceptions. They might therefore resort to statistical methods to establish their findings, producing knowledge that is less reliable in terms of issuing predictions.”

This is why many believe that they shouldn’t be considered a science. They are open to so many false positives, for example in physiology. Where we’ve seen many professionals tamper with results. This has been an issue because in the hard sciences someone publishes an article about their experiment they could test it in any part of the world. And is a physiologist publishes an article where we monitored the behavior of 5 teenagers for 3 years. It would almost be impossible that someone would try to recreate the same experiment so the community chooses to believe in the results. This opens the opportunity for false results in all of the human sciences.

So Is economics really scientific? Or do they just call themselves scientific to increase their credibility? I believe that within all of the social sciences economics is one is not the most scientific. I think that this is because it uses the scientific method to predict changes is the economy that can or will be proven eventually. But at the same time I feel they do use the term scientific to increase their credibility.  To quote Mr.Gardner, at the beginning of the year he told us that if you gave the same problem to 5 different economist you would most likely get 5 different solutions to that same problem. So if there are many answers to the same problem, is that really Science?

History as an Area of Knowledge

Based on what I read and already knew I believe that history is an essential area of knowledge. History is one of the few AOK that is composed a hundred percent by all the ways of knowing. For it to be what it is it has to be formed by language, reason/ logic, emotions and even faith.

“History is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. It raises knowledge questions such as whether it is possible to talk meaningfully about a historical fact and what such a fact might be, or how far we can speak with certainty about anything in the past. Studying history also deepens our understanding of human behavior, as reflecting on the past can help us to make sense of the present.”

But this doesn’t mean it is perfect, since history can be so easily manipulated or biased. This is because to every story there are at least two different sides to it, which can make this biased. A example that I’ve seen during my school years is the Spanish colonization over Mexico. I learned in history that the Spanish came killed many people and even built catholic churches on top of mayan temples. I was taught that the Spanish were the bad ones in this story. But as I grew older I saw the same story from a Spanish standpoint where they came to revolutionize my country. My point with all this is that even when you are not telling a lie that may not be the hole truth. Which is why I think that history is not the most reliable AOK, but it is good to analyze human behavior. Some say say that history is for us to see what when wrong in the past for us to prevent doing the same mistakes in the future.


I believe that history is the most important way of knowing, and telling history are just another way of telling story just with more FACTS and OBJECTIVE, because it helps to shape the personality of the next generation and it also gives them a better view of what is happening on this planet.

In the excerpts published by Jezebel, the Texas textbooks employ all the principles of good, strong, clear writing when talking about the “upside” of slavery. But when writing about the brutality of slavery, the writers use all the tricks of obfuscation.

despite the importance of telling the truth about history, some people are still trying to conceal them by using misleading expression in the text book, which I personally don’t agree with, because history is what people faith in.


History as an area of knowledge

We use a textbook to learn history every time. However, when we consider whether history is true, we hardly say yes because I think it is written based on facts but not the truth. History is more like watching a fiction movie. History is the subject that influenced by the author’s perceptions and circumstances, and it is very unclear because there is no way to verify it.

“bias present in the document itself. The reasons for which the record was created. The perceptions of the document’s creator”

“In-depth analysis and interpretation of a historical document is an important step in the genealogical research process, allowing us to distinguish between fact, opinion, and assumption, and explore reliability and potential bias when weighing the evidence it contains”

These are a similar opinion to me which were in the article “Analyzing a Historical Document”. History describes what happened in the past that it becomes uncertain things over time, so we might think there is a problem with history but actually people who recognize history, us, have a problem. I believe it is important to examine history not only from one point of view but from a different perspective. Therefore, history does not exist to have discrimination or bias but to connect it to our present life.  Because of history, many of us hold stereotypes about other countries and even murder is occurring. History is one of an area of knowledge that studies historical fact and can build our knowledge, but we must think what and how do you want to learn from history before we started.



History as a AOK

History is a way of knowing that studies the documented past. It also raises questions to understand, for example, whether it is possible to speak in a serious way about an historical fact based on something that has happened and what that fact might consist of, or to what extent we can speak truthfully of anything that has happened in the past. Studying history also deepens our way of understanding human behavior, since everything reflected on the past can help us to understand our present.

History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.
— Howard Zinn

History raises many questions, this ones inform us and help us to cope with the present with less possibility of falling into error than in the past, since thanks to history we have the answer to most things. Historical documents that have been collected over time also play an important role in history, leading to questions based on whether or not such information could be considered reliable.

“History is for human self-knowledge… the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.”
R.G. Collingwood

It is true that historical writing could be subjective, since historians are influenced by the social and historical environment in which they write, and this inevitably affects their selection and interpretation of evidence, but that is inevitable, we are all in a way influenced by society and the times we live in. History teach us many things which, if they were not documented under history, would hinder us in the present, because everything learned from the past through history can help us better understand the world and the human beings. So History must be known as an AOK.


History-Will R.

History is one of our most important subjects, because, as George Bernard Shaw said,

  we learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

I interpret this quote as him saying that there have been a lot of wars, mass genocides and other terrible things that happened throughout history,  and yet they keep happening all the time, which shows we haven’t learned anything. We need to look back at things that happened in the past, so that we do not keep making the same mistakes.

I also found the George Orwell quote

history is written by the winners

very interesting. I agree with this, because usually the losers of a war or a conflict have been defeated, so they do not get do decide what goes in the history books.  A lot of the time, the people who committed an atrocity or started a war and won, or something along those lines, change the story a lot when it comes to history.  They do this to put themselves in a better light, and make themselves seem less guilty, especially if they did bad things during the conflict, or are the only people who witnessed what really happened, and no one else actually knows the truth.  Much of what is written in history books, especially stuff from a very long time ago, may have some truth, but may be altered. The only way to really know whether a historical event is accurate, or blown out of proportion, is to see whether other textbooks and documents have the same description as what we read.

There are many different ways that we can learn about history. We can watch documentaries, read eyewitness accounts, or read textbooks. There can also be land deeds, historical artifacts, or memoirs of people who experienced the historical event, like the diary of Anne Frank. All of these methods are pretty trustworthy, because they all have to be approved before being published, or the information has to be verified. The only problem is that people who give eyewitness accounts could change the story to get more attention. This is why it can be hard to know what is accurate about history and what is not. For most of the historical events in our textbook, we were not there or were not alive when they happened, so if the person who writes or tells us about history is lying or making things up, or if they are biased, then we may have an inaccurate view of history.

History- Andrea

History is one of the most important disciplines that is considered as a science. This itself, studies events that happen in the past. Every historical event has to do with important things that human beings do. Therefore, it studies the actions and behaviour of past cultures and societies, as well as people who have created a change or have left some knowledge in the development of human beings and then considered as important characters in history. So if history is based on human beings, then it might raise the following questions: Does studying histrory impact our perspective and knowledge on human nature? And to what extent do historians’ way of thinking influence on what they know and teach?

I think that history is important as an AOK because to study history we need to be able to analyze the past in order to understand the present. The study of history makes us wonder about our past and how a single change in these events could have affected our present. Of course historians can influence in the way history is told or written, because what we know about the important events in the past is because someone at that time wrote something about it, but we will never know if the history that we are tought is a 100% true or if it might have been distorted through time.

Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake. —Robert Penn Warren

This quote gives us a different perspective on how we see history. Robert Penn Warren compares history to poetry and tells us how history can be seen as the big myth we all live in. He tell us that like myths are made up by someone and come from their imagination mixed with something that is true, that can be the way history is. And I think that he is right, we do not know for sure if everything in history happened the way people tell us it did, because we do not have prove of it, and therefore we do not believe in everything.

History – Josefa

History has been very useful for us as to know what happened in the past and how was it, we can use it to learn about something or for us not to commit the same mistake twice. Everything we know is thanks to history and there is history in everything, maths, biology, everything, and thanks to history we have been able to learn and surpass what we already know. My question is, how do we know that history is true? Of course there are documents that have been registered as time passes that is an evidence on some historic events, but how do we know exactly what happened. When some event happens eventually every person who was present in it will be dead and the only evidence will be what the people that were present there said, but there is always two parts of the story or maybe some things get mixed up as the story keeps passing through generations and that is why I think that maybe history is not completely reliable.

As I think about it, it can be very scary when I think about some event, for example a war, the only thing we know are the documents left of it and what people have been passing through time, but we will never know surely if what we have grown to believe and be taught in school is true or is mixed up a little or is just arranged for it to be what is most convenient for us as a society.

History as an AOK

History has always been a very influential part of our lives. It continues to teach us to not repeat the mistakes we have made in the past and how we can learn from those mistakes to better ourselves. History is the storytelling of our past, as people. Our cultures all stemmed from different areas and blossomed and branched out to new areas of the world, creating new history for the future generations coming from those new cultures to learn about and grow from.  A common phrase we hear throughout our life is, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Although this statement by George Santayana is seemingly true, we also learn a lot from new experiences, that have not yet been taught to us.

Unlike other areas of knowledge, history is written then taught. Another AOK such as the arts, is not typically written as it usually comes in the form of self expression through music, visual arts, performance arts, etc. But history is in its own special box. When we are taught history we are typically told that it is reliable because it is written on true events that happened. However, in a quote by Schopenhauer, he states that history can easily be imbedded with lies, “Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis.” Although the example he used to compare this with is quite vulgar, it is also straight to the point. Not every area of knowledge is completely pure of lies. Not even history. This means you cannot base your own understanding of something off of just one area of knowledge. All areas of knowledge work together simultaneously no matter what topic you are talking about.

The interesting thing about history is that there is no perfect definition for it. It is always changing. Everyday is a new part of history. In fact, right in this moment we are all experiencing a very important part of history, a global pandemic. Just as the quotation mentioned earlier said, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We have had multiple global pandemics throughout history and yet we have still managed to repeat how we handle it. We may be influenced by history, but many still do not learn from it.



History AOK-Eloise

History is a very biased AOK, we believe what we hear and usually depending on where we are, what we hear is edited to make us the winner.

History is written by the winners.—George Orwell

In history a lot of the information we receive is one sided, and we usually are taught to believe that it’s the only side. A good example of this is the Texas textbooks, the current text books said that they brought “millions of workers” to America. This event was The Atlantic slave trade, but they made it seem as if they employed workers, less than enslaved them. Therefor making if seem like America was still the good side of the event. (How Texas Teaches History by Ellen Bresler Rockmore) This makes me think about the quite by Oscar Wilde.

Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.      —Oscar Wilde

Reading about almost any historical event, you will find that the side writing about it is the “good side.” for example if a citizen taking part of the American revolution was writing about it, they would be the good side, and the government is the bad side. Where as if it were the government talking about it, the government is the good side and the citizens are the bad. I think it is because we don’t we don’t want to admit that we are the bad people and most of the time we truly believe that are reasons are good enough to justify our actions. Although a lot of the time they aren’t. I find we do this personally on a smaller scale. for example if you get in a fight with your parents, a lot of the time we will say “they are mad for no reason” because we think that they are, but from their point of view they have a valid reason. That is how a lot of the information in history is spread around and why it is so biased.

History, a distillation of rumour. —Thomas Carlyle



Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author’s personality.

—Pieter Geyl

This quotation felt powerful as it made me realize that the people who write history can write it in a way that can express their emotions and how they feel about the subject. This can affect the way the people that read their books and how they understand what they are reading. If the author is writing about something they are not passionate about, they could not explain it very well or go into much depth. On the other hand, if they are writing about something they find interesting they might go into much greater depth and write in a more persuasive manner. This quotation makes us think about how we might need to look at multiple different sources to get the information we need in an unbiased way. Also, reading multiple different documents from different sources might help us get different views and opinions about history.

Something else that really made me think was the document “Analyzing a Historical Document”. It is all about how to look at different historical documents. There are seven different ways to look at a historical document or seven different ways to analyze a particular document. The one way that I found most interesting was number two. “What are the Physical Characteristics of the document?” I found this the most interesting as it talks about how we can tell if the document is fake or has been tampered with or if it is the original document or not. All this makes History an interesting AOK as there are so many different paths to look at and how we interpret what we read is completely up to us. I think that studying this AOK can make us think about what we read and how we read it. How can we really know what is accurate about history and what is not? Everything that we know about history is from history books and studying history in school. None of us were there when what we are learning about in school actually happened so everyone is affected by how the authors of history books write and that can really affect how we view History as an AOK.

History- Angelina Blacklaws

History without a question is an AOK. We know things because people have used techniques and such to go through life. For example, I know not to stick a key into an outlet because in my history/past, it had a bad outcome when i did it. People learn lessons from making mistakes in history. Of course we know things not only from our history but when we look at something such as storytelling, it is about something that has already happened (if it is true story) because once something is done it is no longer the present, it is in history.


The books play down the horror of slavery and even seem to claim that it had an upside. This upside took the form of a distinctive African-American culture, in which family was central, Christianity provided “hope,” folk tales expressed “joy” and community dances were important social even

From this paragraph we could know that in the textbook for little children they says that slavery which is not good is a kind of normal thing and even have some benefit. My point is this is not a good way for education. Everything happened before we called it history and it is a very serious object without upside, so nobody should being cheat on talking history. However in the Texas they even make slavery which is a wrong thing happened in history convert to a simple easy matter and teach this to they children in the education, when they grow up some of them might go out side of their hometown and here is one thing interesting, the history that they known was totally different, for the easy going person this would not be a matter, what about the person who are really cares about these things. For example if two people their culture were different it’s going to be very easy to have conflict and different culture was due to their different nationality and education. And I think the other state in America probably have different textbook to teaching children so if the people in a same country have a different acknowledge it’s very weird so I think upside history was not a good thing.

Uncertainty and unreliability of historical records

History (‘ἱστορία,’ historia, meaning ‘inquiry’ from Greek) is a study of the past. It is considered to be a humanitarian science. Humans study the events of the past recorded in papers and images coming from even before the invention of writing. History is an important part of human species’ as a civilization, humans even have a sector in their brains to record events of the past. Historical writings are a crucial part of historical assessment, however, they are an unreliable source of information individually and must be examined in conjunction and other historical writings covering the same event.


The reliability of the historical records is a question to be answered. Any historical writing is a way to pass the knowledge of the event to further generations and keep it in existence. History is written by people, people who lived through a life and experienced events which have formed and altered their views on the world and certain subjects.

“REPORTER: How will history look back on your decision to drop charges against Flynn? ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR: “Well, history is written by the winners. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

—Interview, CBS News, May 2020”

Every historical event that is or not considered important has different sides that can, should and must be examined. Any historical event is a topic for discussion between people with certain opinions on the subject. For example, Nazism was the right ideology from the standpoint of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, while USSR considered communism the right ideology. The conflict between Third Reich and USSR is a big topic for discussion which must be looked at from all perspectives and standpoints. It is practically impossible for a writer to cover a topic without having knowledge about the topic, and thus forming an opinion about it. The only way for a historical event to be recorded without any bias, is for every small detail that has happened to be documented by a 3rd party that does not possess any knowledge about the event, an entity uncapable of forming opinions and emotions – a robot. An artificial mechanism to supervise the event and log all actions, decisions and words as they happen cannot put any bias into the writing because it is not capable of doing anything else other than outputting the events on film or paper. An entity as such is purely hypothetical and cannot exist (at the time of writing) in a physical world, thus, it is not possible for a historical writing to be free from perspective and bias, making History an uncertain Area of Knowledge.


The uncertainty and subjectivity of historical writing raise the question about the reliability of historical records made in the past. The records are essential for analysis and assessment of historical event, which is the main purpose of History.

“Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author’s personality.

—Pieter Geyl”

Events that have happened hundreds of years ago have to be assessed by the records made by the people who have lived through or have first-order knowledge about the events. These people put the bias and their own opinion in the writings, making them subjective, or worse, lied and altered the events on paper. The content is critical to the assessment of the events, altered content may lead to a different result that shows the subject in a better or worse light. The information learned from the writings may be taught to future generations and alter their views as well. Therefore, it is critical for the records to be proven reliable. One way to prove the reliability of a source may be to compare it to other records of the event made in the same time period by different authors. Every author will put their own bias and point of view in their writing, thus by examining different opinions on the subject and finding a common information, we may be able to form a more reliable and objective view of the event.


In conclusion, a historical writing as an individual piece of work done by one author cannot be objective and will always have some perspective on an event that it is covering. The reliability of a historical writing may be assessed by comparing it other works covering the same event made in the same time period. Multiple historical records form a wider and more objective point of view of an event, yet History as Area of Knowledge is uncertain and may never have one exact answer to any question.


After reading the document, in my perspective, the government in Texas change the descriptions of slavery in order to show the kids in school that slavery isn’t that bad, it’s a good way to grow the economy. The government do this may because they don’t want the kids understand the dark of slavery, which might leads them feel bad or don’t even trust their country anymore. They focus on telling how good the slaveholders treat their slave and use some ambiguous word when they arrive the pain that slaves have suffered.

“Families were often broken apart when a family member was sold to another owner.” instead of “Slave owners often broke slave families apart by selling a family member to another owner.”

I don’t think this is a good way of telling history. Even if people learned the upside of slavery when they were a child, if they meet another people which is in another culture, and in that culture his teacher tells the fact of slavery to him. A conflict might occur. Also, if a person were told the world is great, nothing bad will happened, the world is an “Utopia”, What do you want them to think if they see a person was killed in front of him? Or what if they read the fact of slavery in a book which is written by other people objectively? They might feel they have been told a lie and they treat this lie as fact in the past decades years. In my opinion, students should be told the fact of history, even if the villain in the history is their own country. They have the right to know the truth, they have the right to think this questions independently, without any leading. Because the world is never fear, it’s always a cruel world. People should know this even if they are a child.


Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.                                                                                            —George Santayana

I have learned, that History help us to understand change and how the society we live in came to be. For me this quotation represents how I see the history. Through it, it allows us to think critically about our present situations to take decisions for our future. understanding history helps us avoid repeating the mistakes over and over again. That’s why for history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes, and that’s one reason of why do we learn history. While those who fail to learn from their mistakes of their predecessors are destinated to repeat them. Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat it.

The Effect of Bias and Grammar on History

“History is written by the winners.” -George Orwell

Whenever we read an article, a book, or a novel about any historic event, it is very likely that it has been written from the perspective the author favored the most. Read anything about World War 2 written by an American or British author. Odds are that they will portray their own countries as the ones who won the war. The “peacekeepers”. It is true, they did fight and they did suffer. However, the truth is that while the Americans and the British were fighting 20 Nazi divisions, the Soviets were fighting 200. Nevertheless, bias does not have to be a lie. It can be an incomplete truth. There are several articles and books about the Spanish Conquer of Mexico. Most of them say the truth, but not all of it. It is common to read how the Spanish colonizers entered the country and just killed a lot of natives to then rule everywhere, which is completely right, but it only tells half of the story. The Spanish arrived at this new land, allied with any town who were under the tyrannic reign of the Mayans, and then took down their empire. Afterwards, they ruled everywhere. As Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis”. It is a fact that any historic matter we know is not fully accurate. This is because “History is written by the winners” and therefore we will probably just know a part of the story. King Aethelred described the Danes (Vikings) as “a bunch of merciless raiders and killers”, while the Anglo-Saxons would murder or prosecute the ones who refused to praise god.

Grammar is another possible variable that can affect the veracity of any past event. Ellen B. Rockmore in “How Texas Teaches History” states how the writer’s decision about how to construct sentences, the subject of a passage, and whether the verb will be passive or active, will shape the meaning of a sentence. The use of passive voice and improper nouns can lead to a misinterpretation of a text. It can be used to give less importance to a topic while still technically maintaining the truth. An extract from a history textbook, “Texas United States History” shows a good example. “However, severe treatment was very common. Whippings, brandings, and even worse torture were all part of American slavery.” Here we can see how the use of passive voice makes the sentence sound less powerful, therefore obscuring some parts of it and decreasing its influence on the reader. However, if the passage was written as “Slaves were whipped, branded and tortured” the whole sentence sounds more vigorous therefore truly stating the relevance of the matter.





We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

—George Bernard Shaw

When I read this sentence, I could not understand what is this means. I guess I read this more than ten times.  It confused me because it says we learn from history at first and then it says we learn nothing from history. This sentence seems contradictory. However, now I have my interpretation for this sentence. People make mistake and it will be a part of the history, but they will make the same mistake again that they did before. For example, when people think many victim of the war, they think it is sad and war is not good. However, in reality, there are a lot war happening in this world, even though they had many experience of wars and learned that war will kill people and made people sad. It means they learned nothing from the history.


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.

Anh Tai Trang – Storytelling

“Elsewhere, the mosaics take the form of constellations — a reminder that the empire and its economy once dominated everywhere you could see the stars at night.”

They were right to compare economics like stars because we can see it everywhere. The economics of all countries are particularly interested in because it can evaluate how much money you hold is worth if you travel through another country. For example, 1USD = 23,000VND. It is an estimate and comparison of the economic development of each country. In addition, when it comes to economics, we always think of something very formal.

“Economics often appears to be an exercise in number-crunching, but it
actually resembles storytelling more than mathematics.”

It’s correct. Economics are calculated from mathematical numbers and used in a very logical way. But it’s not just numbers, economics is all about people’s living conditions, their relationships, big and small in the society.

I think that one should not be overemphasized because one can do something. Not to say that we should not applaud them for what they can do for the economy. What I’m talking about is honoring more standards and focus on the younger generations; The younger generation may be the next ones to be able to do more feats or “beat your high scores”. Do not put one person too high because there will be another higher than them and it will continue. I find that these readings are quite good because they contain a lot of important events that have happened and make some hidden comments in the reading. It can be seen that when we only do something small in daily life, it will also make something extremely useful for society. Just like an individual can revive a large economy and only need a little motivation in life.

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.


I do think that storytelling should be considered a way of knowing. From reading the different articles I have learned that the stories that we tell and the stories that we are told are an important part of what 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”

Storytelling is a way that we can pass down information and different life lessons between generations of people. Hearing these stories that have been passed down to us is one of the ways that we now know the things that we know.

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

Not all black and white; the most interesting bits are gray.