This month, I became the preening peacock when my student got an A on her essay. I literally jumped out of bed, ran to wake up my parents (home on holidays!), and exclaimed about how proud I was. They muttered something nice... not really knowing anything about the IB... rolled over and went back to bed. Where was the falling ticker-tape? Where was the band?
After I calmed down, then questions came. While all my extended essay students have done very well, I couldn't really understand - see - how one was deserving of a higher grade than the other. I racked my brains, trying to analyse (from my scant memories) the differences between them all. For example, a student that I thought did excellent had a lit review of good depth and good analysis, she did well. One student that I thought did okay had a very tiny lit review lacking depth but heavily in-depth analysis. And she's the one who got an A!!! So I sat and had a think.
Sometimes it takes a hammer over the head to make an idea sink in. I've always read in the guides that papers based on research will not be successful. I've always talked to the kids about ensuring their work is based on real-time analysis of physical scores or performances. However, being the APA-nut that I am, I also wanted them to provide a really, really solid base through their lit review. I've come to realise just how much emphasis is placed on the score analysis / discussion part of the paper. This student wrote a few, smallish paragraphs on why she was researching her topic and then jumped right in with analysis.
--> I'm going into my 8th year of teaching IB and I'm still constantly learning something new. I once told my principal that my first year of teaching IB was like being back in teacher's college. I think I should amend that to, "Teaching in an IB school is like being a practicum student in a teacher's college; always thinking, learning, and improving while in a classroom setting."
And now I'm looking forward to DP Music's Musical Investigations, because now I definitely know that analysis is super important!