The Tacit Dimension
: Understanding International Mindedness in Hong Kong International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Schools

  • Timothy Kaiser

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to
deliver the International Baccalaureate (IB) are expected to understand and
enact International Mindedness (IM). Through this qualitative dissertation
built on a methodological approach of pragmatism allowing for a mixed
method I give credence to a re-shaping of our current thinking around IB
schools’ engagement with IM. I do so firstly by providing an extended
theoretical foundation through two philosophical thrusts: 1) the tacit
dimension as put forward by Michael Polanyi, and 2) language games and
family resemblances as put forward by Ludwig Wittgenstein. The tacit
dimension allows for the exploration of dimensions of human thought and
communication whereby “we can know more than we can tell” (Polanyi 1966,
4). Wittgenstein’s language games and family resemblances provide the
framework for the identification of underlying patterns and connections of IM
within this tacit dimension. Secondly, I apply these theoretical assertions
empirically to two practical research methods: 1) content analysis of the
vision and mission statements found in the websites of the 29 Hong Kong
IBDP schools, and 2) semi-structured interviews with five school leaders of
Hong Kong IBDP schools. The conclusion I draw is that content analysis and
semi-structured interviews give ample evidence to show family resemblances
of IM at work in the tacit dimension of Hong Kong IB Diploma Programme
schools. My study thus provides a positive avenue towards an understanding
of how IM functions within IB schools through a shared awareness and
recognition that IM first and foremost exists and operates within the tacit
dimension. Secondly, my study shows how Hong Kong IB Diploma
Programme schools weave IM into their educational fabric through the family
resemblances at work within the tacit dimension.
Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJanet L Orchard (Supervisor)

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