The two concepts that stood out to me after reading the Pedagogical support for the extended essay were the Reflection and the EE and the Student-Supervisor Relationship.
The Reflection and the EE
This concept stood out to me because this is new in the EE. To devote a criterion for reflection only goes to show how important this is. Besides, Reflective is one of the ten qualities in the list of the Learner Profile.
Previous to working in the Beacon Academy, I was a school librarian in a Jesuit school. As a lay partner of the Jesuits in educating and forming men and women for others, it was there, among Jesuits and their lay partners where I first encountered the relevance of reflection in a person's life. I learned from them the cycle of Experience-Reflection-Action. This permeates the teaching and learning practices of the learning community.
Back to Beacon. In my first year, I attended the IB Workshop and Training required of newly hired faculty and there I met the words Reflection, Action and Inquiry. Somehow, I did not feel entirely foreign to the IB as I have prior knowledge and experience to latch on new things that I will learn from peers and colleague who were IB trained. Over the years, my colleagues have been supportive of this continuous process of learning and some of them have become good friends. Oh boy! It has been unexciting ride as there are new things being incorporated in the IB within two or three years time.
In this journey of learning continuously in the IB, reflection remains at its core. The PYP is grounded on inquiry based learning and statements of inquiry are essential parts of unit plans. To reflect on process in the EE journey in the DP, as I take it, manifest as the capstone skill in year 12.
I believe in reflective teaching and learning. I enjoy reflection even though it is difficult to do at first and it is not akin to the Filipino psyche and culture. Reflection is something we need to consciously learn and teach. Despite the challenge, there are techniques to use and apply to help students (and teachers) become reflective learners. Once reflection becomes a habit, it is a life skill that can help a person push farther and further on in life.
This is where I find the TSM helpful, especially the section on Pedagogical support for the extended essay, because it has a slew of activities and strategies that prompts, helps and aids supervisors and students reflect in the EE. There are many things to unpack and set in place. In my plan of action, I included a Research Writing (RW) workshop for EE supervisors. I will add activities and points for reflection in the RW workshop that I will design with the help of my DP Coordinator and Dean of Faculty. I will definitely select and use the recommended activities in the TSM’s Pedagogical support for the extended essay.
The Student-Supervisor Relationship
Working with students in the EE for the past two years made me realise that I am building a relationship with them that is grounded on trust and mutual respect. Below is the description of what makes for a good student-supervisor relationship and the primary role of the EE supervisor.
Taken from the Pedagogical support for the extended essay, I will keep these statements to heart:
A good student–topic–supervisor fit is likely when the supervisor:
- knows the student well
- shares the student’s excitement and curiosity about the topic
- is comfortable establishing a clear work plan with the student
- follows up with timely feedback.
The supervisor should:
- mentor the student with advice on the skills of undertaking the research process
- encourage and support the student throughout the research and writing of the EE
- guide the student in formulating a well-focused research question that satisfies appropriate legal and ethical standards
- ensure that the student understands the importance of using credible/accurate sources.
Implementing policies and procedures of the EE may appear as highly administrative. But, beyond these administrative layers, a school community needs to work together and each member has a role to play. School leaders create the learning environment and systems, supervisors teach, administer and form students as knowledgable, inquiring, principled and reflective learners within the EE journey, and parents are needed for support at home.