Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge tutor

Mr Ian Thomas joined IST in August 2018. He was awarded an LL.B degree from Queen Mary College, University of London (now QML) and an  LL.M degree from Hong Kong University.Ian is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and was a Permanent Magistrate in Hong Kong for over twenty years. After leaving the bench, Ian was the Senior Regulatory Development Manager, Asia Pacific for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). He has taught Legal Drafting and Legal Writing in the Higher Diploma course for legal executives at a community college in Hong Kong. He is an Document Examiner (e-discovery) assessing electronic documents in civil litigation for the purposes of discovery  and is an Academic Business Case Writer and Proof-Reader preparing course materials for use in tertiary management and business schools.


The Theory of Knowledge curriculum plays a special role in the International Baccalaureate ®️ Diploma Programme (DP) and is central to its educational philosophy. It is mandatory for all students. It challenges students to investigate the nature of knowledge and to consider how they think they know what they purport to know. It aims to make students aware of the interpretive nature of knowledge, that is the situation in which knowledge is subjective even when students and learners consider that many apparent facts and theories are objective. Such material is viewed by way of cultural, ideological and personal biases and the curriculum aims to make students aware of how knowledge can change depending upon the perspective of the learner.

Throughout his career, Ian has been accustomed to analyse problems in a fact-based manner. He is well aware of the way in which bias can influence apparently objective facts and situations, even when the protagonists in a debate are trying hard to eliminate preconception, prejudice and predisposition.

ToK is not a subject with defined areas to be studied: it is a process that every student needs to master in order to be proficient in other fields. By his training and previous experiences Ian is well placed to guide students through the complexities and challenges of ‘how to think’.


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