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Best of the Week 2021-2022: Teaching to the Future


St. Ed's IB Diploma candidates celebrated this week with a Thanksgiving feast in honor of finishing their Extended Essays and as a way to relax all together before the holiday break. Extended Essays are a self-directed piece of research that provide students with the opportunity to investigate topics of interest and relate them to the IB Diploma Programme's subjects. This extensive research process helps students develop skills in formulating appropriate research questions, engaging in personal exploration, communicating ideas, and developing thorough arguments. These Extended Essays not only prepare students for undergraduate research, but help them discover their capabilities as communicators, self-managers, researchers, inquirers, and social and emotional beings. "The IB Extended Essay has shown me that pure, unbiased research is a skill that everyone needs to learn, as it reveals the problems that need to be changed," says Ian Harrington '22. "I have also become much more particular about the sources I use for material to eliminate unnecessary bias." "I have discovered that I am more of a complex thinker, especially when I start to learn about a topic that interests me," says Jeremiah Ratcliff '22. "That's one of the reasons why I liked the Extended Essay, because I was able to learn what I wanted and had more of a drive to inquire more as I learn."

"My Extended Essay topic was film and I have found a new facet of my own thinking and thought process. I've gained a new appreciation for film and find myself thinking deeper about them and noticing many more techniques and understanding what the director is trying to do," says Jackson Miller '22, the author of the Extended Essay entitled, "The Evolution of Masculinity and How It Is Portrayed Across Director Martin Scorsese's Career Through the Movies Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Wolf of Wall Street." "I love looking at a screenshot of a movie and dissecting it to find a deeper meaning hidden away within a still image. When I go into my film class now, I can implement the things I've learned from my Extended Essay experience and from what I've seen in other films into our student-produced films here at St. Ed's." "During this process, I have realized how much I value student teacher relationships. I would not have been able to complete my Extended Essay without the help of Ms. Munnell in our meetings and writing conferences together. I truly believe that those meetings both enriched my Extended Essay and our relationship as a whole," says Isaac Cudnik '22. "In this season especially, one of the things I'm pleasantly surprised by is the way the extended essay process can build faculty/student relationships," says Film Department Chair and Extended Essay Moderator Lydia Munnell. "When students lean on their supervisors for help and guidance, and when they communicate clearly along the way, they're making a genuine academic connection with a teacher who cares deeply for them and their success. The relationships at the center of Extended Essays require students to grow at heart at the same time as they grow as thinkers and writers."

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