Sha Tin College teachers Paul Hoang and Chris Taylor have written a new textbook to help students navigate the changes to the “Extended Essay” component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.
Hoang and Taylor celebrated the launch of their book, Extended Essay for the IB Diploma: Skills for Success, with fellow teachers and librarians from schools across Hong Kong at a special event hosted by Sha Tin College last Friday.
Since the book went on sale three weeks ago, 1,300 copies have already been sold.
The book comes after changes were made to the way the Extended Essay, a core component of the IB, is marked.
“The assessment criteria have all changed, and there is much greater emphasis on critical thinking,” said Hoang, who is a vice-principal at Sha Tin Collage and also an IB examiner. “That now makes up a big part of the new course, and it’s hard.”
Another new aspect of the Extended Essay component are formal reflections. “It’s what I call ‘looking backward in order to look forward’,” said Hoang, “It’s a bit like learning from your mistakes and making yourself what they call a self-regulated learner.”
Taylor, who is the Extended Essay Coordinator at Sha Tin College, said many students were often confused about the changes to the Extended Essay section. “It feels a bit discomforting and quite unsettling, [because] no one quite knows what reflection means and everyone is a bit puzzled,” he said.
“This book answers a lot of those questions and will help students with the Extended Essay.”
The new book features a guide for students about how to tackle each stage of the component. “Chris and I came up with a few brain teasers in the book just to help students develop a ‘thinking-out-of-the-box’ mentality,” said Hoang. “There are also checklists, and there are also study tips, pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid.”
All IB students are required to complete the Extended Essay, which consists of a self-directed, 4,000-word paper. Students have to conduct independent research into a subject of their choice before handing in their essay.
Hoang said it was likely that IB students would be able to find the book in their school libraries in the near future.