Trapti Trivedi, Extended Essay (EE) Coordinator at Overseas Family School, Singapore, shares her experience in initiating an annual Extended Essay Exhibition. The EE, along with other IB ‘culminating projects’ fosters independence as students utilize their tool kit of learner profile attributes and approaches to learning skills.
In 2021, Overseas Family School (OFS) in Singapore celebrated its 30th anniversary which seemed an appropriate time to launch our first Extended Essay Exhibition. OFS is an IB World School that offers both IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP), so our DP students have previously been immersed in the experience of the inspiring, gratifying, and rewarding MYP Personal Project (PP) and PP exhibition. The PP Exhibition and its success is an annual highlight for each school year. With that in mind, the conclusion of the challenging Extended Essay process seemed almost anticlimactic to our graduates of 2020. In a year-end survey, many of them reminisced about the PP exhibition and its joys and expressed a wish that the school might like to explore the opportunity of putting on an EE Exhibition—a suggestion that we keenly took on board.
The impact of the pandemic
As we all grapple with various challenges due to the pandemic, one thing is certain and that is, uncertainty. This was evident in our EE Exhibition execution process. Since IB Diploma students have multiple deadlines and due dates, it was optional for them to present in the EE Exhibition. Initially, the EE Exhibition was scheduled to be conducted in small subject groups, with willing students presenting the crux of their EE research to their peers. We were all set to go ahead with the plan, however, a week before the scheduled event, schools in Singapore were asked to switch to distance learning due to a high number of COVID-19 cases in the community. We moved to plan B for the EE Exhibition and asked our students to send us a video of their EE Journey instead. Our graduating class rose to the challenge, and fourteen of them sent in their EE videos for the exhibition at short notice.
Our aim for the virtual EE Exhibition was for it to be a 360-degree experience—similar to walking into an actual exhibition where you meet various people and ask plenty of questions to understand the context. Consequently, as a part of the exhibition all the key stakeholders in the EE process gave their insights on the challenging yet rewarding EE process. This included Diploma Core Coordinators speaking in response to the prompt: ‘How can TOK & CAS contribute towards the success of an independent research project like EE?’
Our EE Exhibition students responded to prompts related to introducing the topic and why they were interested in it, the methodology, conclusion, evaluation and reflection.
Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills (communication, research, critical thinking, reflection) were applied to ‘judge’ the EE Exhibition.
Reflecting on the EE Process and Exhibition
The IB Diploma is challenging and rigorous, and the EE is not any different. This year the school initiated a service CAS club called “EE Cafe”. Students in the EE Cafe collaborated and provided support to other EE students. Some of the popular activities led by EE Cafe students include:
- Maintaining an EE Instagram Page to update students about the deadlines.
- Spotlight event with various Grade 12 (G12) students sharing their EE Journey, its rewards, and challenges.
- Organising a Virtual EE Assembly to celebrate completion of the EE.
- Helping run the Virtual EE Exhibition.
One of our EE Cafe members, Isha Rajangam, reflected on being a member of this service club and said, “Being an EE Cafe member allowed me to help others. I actually quite enjoyed creating videos and talking to other G12s about their EEs. EE Cafe really allowed me to explore my creative side further”.
The image below shows EE Cafe members at OFS:
Below are some excerpts from the reflections of our students who participated in the EE Exhibition:
“I chose to participate in the EE Exhibition as I assumed it would be really useful for me to reflect on my EE journey as a whole. I thought I will learn and relearn what I had done for my research process and also for the actual writing process. I believe having participated in the EE Exhibition really helped me in this regard.” Jinhyung Kim, G12, EE in English B
“Participating in the EE Exhibition improved my overall communication and articulation skills. It also improved my reflection skills.” Leah Verma, G12, EE in Economics
“I chose to participate in the EE Exhibition because I really wanted to share my research with my schoolmates. It is interesting research in business and quite unique. In addition, through the EE Exhibition, I could also improve my oral communication skills.” Xuanyi Du, G12 EE in Business.
The EE Exhibition at our school provided a unique opportunity to our graduating class to share their research and critical thinking skills with the entire community. The EE Exhibition also allowed our students to see the IB Continuum in action as all our students had actively participated in one of the MYP culminating projects, the Personal Project. Furthermore, the exhibition served as an effective prelude and introduction to our Grade 11s and their parents so that they could learn and understand more about the Extended Essay as they embark on their own EE journeys.
Ms. Trapti Trivedi is the Extended Essay (EE) coordinator and science teacher at Overseas Family School, Singapore. She holds a Master’s degree in secondary education and has over 20 years of international teaching experience. She is a workshop leader, IA team leader, field representative and BQC reviewer for the International Baccalaureate. You can connect with her here.
To view the EE Exhibition 2021-22 at the Overseas Family School, Singapore, please scan the QR Code below:
The video is timestamped to allow viewers to choose which component they might like to watch if they do not have time to watch the whole presentation.