Monday, February 9, 2015

Extended Essay Journey: Progress Chart

Since the start of the Extended Essay Journey two weeks ago, I have set up a tracking mechanism for students. Our initial conversations about the topics they wish to investigate on had been purposeful and interesting. For one, many of the juniors see the EE as a ticket to college. A good and well written EE is proof that the student is ready for academic writing and in scholarly work, in general.  To some, the EE is a requirement to graduate from high school. Either way, the students writing the EE must have a purpose in doing it and that his or her perspective of it is clear. Writing a research paper is not an easy task, especially for students who are being introduced into the experience for the first time.

The EE Progress Chart is meant to help me, as EE Coordinator, guide the students through the process of choosing a topic, crafting a research question, preliminary research, outlining a structure for writing and initial writing of the Introduction and the Methodology. The chart is also a means to remind students where they are in the process. I keep reminding myself that the whole exercise demands competence, stamina and skill from students. A lot of thinking is put into this first stage of the process. Some students do well. Some falter.

In times when students express a difficulty at this stage, I look at the learning support structures in place in school. I recognize the individuality of each student; that there is no one way of learning; that there are varied ways to solve problems; and that, as a teacher of research, I too have my own limitations. In times like this, collaboration is essential.

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