First thing first – it’s been a quite long time since I’ve blogged, and the reasons are pretty obvious … not only I am now year 13 and I have loads of studies to do, but also I have stuffs relating to my future such as university. And the combination of those factors made me a little busy. Many things happened: predicted grades, university application, CAS completion, and just the news that I am going to my first and last formal! But the focus of this blog is, as you can probably guess from the title, is about Creativity, Activity, and Services – or CAS which is what we are more familiar with.
So before the half-term holiday I had my CAS completion interview with Mr Brown, and had another one after the holiday. In these 2 sessions, me and Mr Brown discussed my development over the almost-2 years on the 3 components of CAS, regarding the 7 learning outcomes, which are:
I cannot remember every words I said during the interview, but I will do my best to recap it and give a summary of what happened in the interview, and overall what I have done over the last 2 years.
So to begin I think the first question was Define in specific terms what you achieved in your service project/s and the degree to which you are satisfied with the outcome. This question related to my 3 projects – 2 individual projects, and 1 group project. My first project was a bee-bot project, a project that was suggested by Mr Thirkell. This project involved designing a mat for the bee-bot, which is basically a car-like robot that can be moved as the direction and movements are set.
So in this project, I basically completed the mat, which looks like:
Therefore, I recognize this mat as my outcome in my first service project, which still hangs on my wall. I am generally satisfied with this outcome, as I was not only able to demonstrate my passion toward CAS, but also was able to demonstrate my creativity by designing my own bee-bot mat. However, I believe that I could have done a ‘better’ job by actually having some practical uses of the mat, such as by giving the primary school students a lesson with this, which was what originally was intended. (I was not able to do this, as the schedule didn’t quite match)
In my second service project, which was the trundle wheel project, I started with some trundle wheels as shown in the photo, and tried to design some kit in order to teach Mathematics to the Sekolah Bisa! children. However I had no substantial outcome for this project, as this was a short-term project and I switched to my next project. Hence I was not so satisfied with this project’s outcome, as all I did from this project was to learn how to operate them myself. I think it was mainly due to the fact that I was over-confident with the first service project and ‘didn’t really need anyone to help me’, which obviously didn’t work out. This taught me that I couldn’t work on my own forever, and expect things to go as smoothly as possible.
Then I joined a group service project – one of the largest, and perhaps one of the most important group in BSJ CAS, as this project was (and is) concerned with the welfare of Sekolah Bisa! children, by taking care of their food, health, and possibly education. Obviously this project was there for a quite long period of time, so I’m not taking much credit for this one. However, I can say that I was responsible for the ‘food’ part, by managing the Rice Rack.
And the key part of the management for me was to make an emailing system that would send thank-you-for-donating-rice mails to the donors, so that they would be motivated for future donation and would feel that they are doing something worthwhile. I began collecting the email addresses, and the presence of the box collecting the contact details certainly seemed to have an impact upon the rate of donation. So in this project I am somewhat satisfied with the outcome, but I wish I could have took a more active role, possibly having role where I actually contacted the Sekolah Bisa! directly.
And then the second question came – Define what you have audited/assessed to be the benefit of your service to others; the sustainability of the impact and the what way/s might you have added greater value. This is also relating to the service aspect of CAS, and relates to my 3 projects. Firstly, I admit that my first two projects had no substantial benefit toward the society, as I was not able to offer a realistic lesson to whoever it could have been. However, I believe that I was able to ‘make a difference’ while I was in the Optimal Health team. This is as I was assuming the role of collecting food, which is an important role, as we need food for survival… As for the sustainability, I guess the Rice Rack wouldn’t be suddenly destroyed, so I believe that the new Year 12s would be able to carry on with the projects and certainly do a better job with innovative improvements! But then I could have enhanced the contribution toward others by having made contact with the children in all my 3 projects – it might be an excuse, but the busy nature of an IB student prevented me from actually going to Sekolah Bisa! (I’ve only been there once) and therefore not helping me from making more meaningful contribution.
The third question was: What is the single most significant learning outcome for you that is transferable to the next stage of your life and beyond? There are two main learning outcome that I found to be significant to myself in their own ways. The first one is LO 7, which is ‘I recognize ethical issues, I act ethically‘. I have found this learning outcome to be challenging at the beginning of CAS, as I was not really aware of the ethical problems around us, such as poverty in the periphery. However throughout the 2 years in CAS I came to recognize some ethical issues in my service projects, especially in the Optimal Health group where I was responsible for supplementing the local children’s food. That is one learning outcome which I was not aware of before CAS, but I am aware of, and know the importance of it now.
The second important learning outcome for me was LO 5: ‘I demonstrate collaborative skills, I recognize benefits of collaboration‘. This is because I was (an still is) a shy guy, pretending to work on my own rather than in a group. However, my first 2 service project taught me that as well as I can do on my own, I sometimes needed support and colleagues to work together with. In my third project, I had less responsibility and hence less pressure than I did in my first 2 projects. This enabled me to work somewhat work more efficiently as I had people to watch my performance, and eventually lead to a more substantial outcome. Being in a group project really led me to appreciate the importance of a communicative society.
The post is getting a little and long, and I’m getting worried that Mr Brown would stop halfway … so I will summarize the answer to the interview question. Then we discussed about the sustainability of the projects, and I answered that while my first two projects were completed and therefore weren’t handed on, the Optimal Health project would be passed on to the year 12, but that I was not responsible for the handing over and therefore I did not have much information on that aspect of the project. The next question related to the incorporation of creativity in services – how I used my sense of creativity in order to enhance the effectiveness of my service projects. My answer was that I used creativity to design the bee-bot mat myself rather than buying one, which made the project more personally engaging to myself. I also mentioned how I used creativity in the Optimal Health group to support donations through getting it recognized, by making posters and sending emails in thanks to donation.
For the ‘Activity’ part of CAS, I had some troubles getting qualified as I lacked evidence for my development over the two years, so I had to prepare an additional material; a plan for my activity – badminton. This is a table I made to show how I would improve my skills in badminton relating to smashes: actually doing smashes and blocking them. it consists of the SMART, which are:
S stands for Specific
M stands for Measurable
A stands for Assignable
R stands for Realistic
T stands for Time-related
If you have a close look at the table, it shows that my target would be to improve my percentages, although it is not explicitly evident from the table. This satisfies the Specific and Measurable, as I recognize the goal I will achieve, and I implies the value that I have to actually attain. Also, it is Assignable as it can be assigned, in this case to myself (?). It is considered Realistic as it is possible for a normal, un-sporty person to do, given that it does not require extensive time and it is easy to follow by step-by-step. The Time-related can be addressed by me measuring and carrying out these sessions over certain period of time, which is recommended to be on a 10-week base in order to see my improvement in the smashing skills.
Overall, that’s is for my CAS Completion Interview – I’m sure I missed bits and bits but I can’t remember all 🙁 Anyway, it is certainly true that CAS should not end at the end of IB as Mr Brown says – it should be incorporated and applied in the real world, to make it a better place to live in.
Well done to everyone for going through CAS – and good luck in the final.
– Hyo Jun Kim 13 NMA