Viva Voce in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Traditions are meant to be followed. During the last week of November, as tradition demands, Zlatarski International School celebrated Humanities Week, dedicated to literature, philosophy and the social sciences. Despite the pandemic, or more precisely, just to spite it, students from all grades participated in projects, discussions and debates on a variety of humanitarian topics. The icing of the cake was the oral public defense of the IB Extended Essays by the 12th Graders – the so called Viva Voce. These academic works are the most demanding and rewarding achievement of the diploma students and are an essential part of both their university application portfolio as well as the best teacher’s academic reference for selective top university programmes and disciplines.  

Due to video conferencing the diploma students had the opportunity to present a glimpse of their 4000 word essay to a wide audience- Extended Essay supervisors, classmates, junior students from Grades 10 and 11. Thus, we were given food for thought on works by Bulgarian and Anglophone authors. The topics were very diverse, and the research – thorough. There was a little something for everyone – from the Uncle Ganyo mentality that still finds its place in the contemporary society in “Mission London” to the heroism of the ex-patria exiles in “Nemili-nedragi” to the self-defining moments of the female character and her dialogue with the word in Ibsen’s “Doll’s House”. We also learned that the animal characters in “Alice in Wonderland” are encoded with symbolic meanings, criticising the Victorian mores, or how the motif of time as a literary technique opens as if with a key the novels by Harper Lee. Modern history also had its rightful place with the investigation on the August Putsch from 1991 in the then Soviet Union. 

It is a fact that teachers and future IB students are going through their bookshelves in search of the next challenging and most interesting Extended Essay topic. What would that be we still have to figure out during the traditional Humanities Week next year.

Mrs D. Angelova