When I was a high school kid…..(hang in there, I won’t bore you with my HS history!) But, when I was a high school student I was pretty much focused upon sports and (in my last 18 months some drama). As well I was pretty responsible
with the academic game. I thought I was well balanced because I did a couple of sports and I did a couple of plays in high school. Later in life, as a 21 year old, I learned to play the guitar, something I always wanted to do. As a 40 year old I started singing in an acapella vocal group. In my 40’s I finally began satisfying a long-standing interest in service projects. I didn’t have the opportunity as a teenager, during formative years, to fully explore and develop my interests in music and service. It wasn’t part of my school experience. I don’t know how a CAS requrirement would have impacted me. I’m not sure. I know it would have forced me to consider ideas and activities that I never came close to exploring as a high school student. As a parent, I appreciated the CAS requirement for my kids given that it required various experiences. For some students CAS experiences have great potential to truly shape values, ideas, and lives.CAS is part of being an IB student. It is a requirement and a pillar of the program. Why is it required? What is the goal of the CAS requirement? Why do educators believe CAS is vital in the educational experience of students?
Being an educated and knowledgeable person is much more than earning grades and “doing school”. The CAS requirement removes you from the structured expectations of the regular school day. It places students in the world of different experiences in which students must plan, act upon, observe, and reflect on their involvement in those experiences.
CAS is often associated with service projects. Service is an essential component, as is Action and Creativity. You must explore opportunities and learn from experiences with sports, creative endeavors, or service activities. Finding your interests and passions in life is part of growing and maturing.
Students are often:
- Too caught up in accomplishments – becoming a human “doing” as opposed to a human “being”.
- Too caught up in academic demands and the grind of regular school work.
- Too caught up in social networks and issues and the challenges of being a teenager.
learn through other experiences.
A foundation of the IB program is nurturing the growth of the Learner Profile in students. To support this nurturing, CAS provides opportunities. Undertaking challenges, planning activities, exercising perseverance and commitment, reflecting upon actions, understanding strengths, are all related to the Learner Profile traits of inquirers, risk takers, communicators, caring, balanced and principled individuals. Sincere involvement in CAS develops and strengthens the IB Learner Profile trait in each individual.
CAS is a pllar of the IB experience. It is a requirement. But, more than a requirement, it supports the important development of a well-rounded individual. Completing the requirement of CAS,which involves serious participation and sincere reflection, will have significant benefits to individuals as they forge their pathways in life.