Creativity, Activity, Service

IMG_20160131_083511The Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) is an integral part of the Diploma Programme (DP). Participation in CAS encourages students to be involved in creative pursuits, physical activities and service projects in the local, national and international context.

It takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, requiring students to share their energies and special talents while developing awareness, concern and the ability to work cooperatively with others. CAS extends students. It develops a spirit of open-mindedness, lifelong learning, discovery and self-reliance. It inspires a sense of responsibility towards all members of the community. It encourages the development of attitudes and traits that will be respected by others, such as determination and commitment, initiative and empathy. The stress of the CAS programme is to create an atmosphere conducive to the development of the “informed heart” within each student. It is integral to the international education that the school offers and leads naturally from the Community and Service programme followed in the Middle Years Programme (MYP).

What is CAS?

IMG_20150813_091450CAS is a framework for experiential learning, designed to involve students in new roles. The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time. This process of doing and reflecting on the doing provides an excellent opportunity to extend what is learned in the classroom to a form of service. The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop the self-worth of both server and served. CAS should build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy and self-reliance.

This aspect of CAS is interpreted as imaginatively as possible to cover a wide range of arts and other activities outside the normal curriculum which include creative thinking in the design and carrying out of service projects. Students will be engaged in group activities, and especially in new roles, wherever possible. Nevertheless, individual commitment to learning an art form is allowed, where it respects the requirements for all CAS activities: that goals are set and the student reflects on progress.

WP_20160326_08_01_50_ProThis aspect of CAS can include participation in expeditions, individual and team sports, and physical activities outside the normal curriculum; it also includes physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects. Activities may involve participation in sport or other activities requiring physical exertion—such as expeditions and camping trips, or developmental and environmental drives. Students should be encouraged towards group and team activities, and undertaking new roles, but an individual commitment is acceptable where the general requirements of CAS are met: goals are set and the student reflects on progress. Both creativity and activity can be enhanced by incorporating the service element.

IMG_20160123_110313Service projects and activities are often the most transforming element of the Diploma Programme for the individual student; they have the potential to nurture and mould the global citizen. Service involves interaction, such as the building of links with individuals or groups in the community. The community may be the school, the local district, or it may exist on national and international levels (such as undertaking projects of assistance in a developing country). Service activities should not only involve doing things for others but also doing things with others and developing a real commitment with them. The relationship should therefore show respect for the dignity and self-respect of others. The three elements (Creativity, Action, and Service) of CAS are interwoven. The service element is the most significant, but the other two are very important as they provide access, balance, and flexibility to meet individual students’ interests and preferences. It is the interaction of them all that creates the richness of CAS. The whole of CAS is greater than the sum of its parts.

What is not CAS?

casThe spirit of CAS needs to be considered at all times. CAS should consist of an interesting variety of activities the student finds intrinsically worthwhile and rewarding, and which is mutually beneficial to the student and his or her community. Generally, CAS is not taking place when the student is in a passive rather than active role. There should be interaction. If the student is passive, nothing of real value, either for the student or for other people, results from what the student is doing; no real reflection is possible. In such circumstances the student will be able to meet the programme objectives only to a very limited extent.

Examples of activities which, at first sight, would appear to be inappropriate:

  • Any class or activity or project which is already a part of the student’s Diploma Programme course.
  • An activity for which a student is personally rewarded financially.
  • Doing simple tedious and repetitive work, like returning school library books to shelves.
  • Babysitting or tutoring.
  • Working in an elderly or children’s home when the student has no idea of how the home operates or is just preparing food or has no contact with the elderly or children.
  • A passive pursuit such as a visit to a museum, the theatre, art exhibition, concert or sports event, unless it clearly inspires work in a related activity in which a student is already engaged.
  • All forms of duty within the family.
  • Religious devotion and any activity which can be interpreted as proselytizing.
  • Work experience which only benefits the student.
  • Fundraising with no clearly defined end in sight.
  • An activity where there is no leader or responsible adult on site.
  • Activities that cause division among different groups in the community.
  • An activity done in consecutive years with no ‘new task/challenge’ involved.