Interview with Sean Lacey, Head of EAL

In the interview transcript below, Sean helps us understand the expectations for students considering an English B Extended Essay. Questions from me are in blue, while Sean’s answers are in red.

Who can write an English B Extended Essay?

Any student enrolled in English B can write an English B Extended Essay.

As Head of EAL, what would you like to see in a student’s Extended Essay?

I’d like to see an examination of language more so than literature. This comes along once every few years, and it’s the area where I can give the most constructive feedback and advice.

What would be some good resources for students to consider?

That really depends on the topic. Of course, their EE booklet is an important resource, but that is the same for everyone. For Group 2, there is no one superior resource. One student might write on poetry, while another writes on semantics / pragmatics. Resources will really depend on the topic.

In your experience, what are some common struggles students have had in the past?

For English B, the biggest issue is language. Quite often, the students have the task of producing a piece of academic writing that may be beyond their linguistic capability. As the EE begins in Grade 11, they may not have acquired a level of academic English that allows them to write clearly without a lot of struggle.

What advice would you provide for students who are just beginning their English B Extended Essay?

One of the things I often tell students is to have the end in mind when they begin. Many times, students do not do any background research before developing their topic, so they expect that they will eventually find the resources that will answer all facets of their research question; they often end up disappointed and panicked. They should have an idea of the body of research available to them before they submit their proposal, and certainly before they begin the writing process.

I’d like to thank Sean Lacey for providing his time and expertise with regards to the English B Extended Essay. If you have any specific questions, please direct them to his UWCSEA email (SeL).


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