A read through the new CAS guide for 2017 intrigued me a lot. It just made me reflect on much the Diploma program is dynamic and informed by the latest developments and research in education. The new guide had so many areas that signified two main highlights...
1. How much collaboration is needed across the various disciplines of of DP
2. How much more more meaningful, contextual, engaged and relevant each CAS experience is meant to be.
The few areas that caught my attention were as follows:
1. The scaffolding of CAS strands having explicit meanings and the various approaches the school could embrace
2. The application of the CAS FRAMEWORK of Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection and Demonstration. A definite tool to determine the success of a CAS experience.
3. Shifting the focus from getting CAS hours to achieving learning outcomes.
4. Guidelines to setting up meaningful reflection that shifts from narrative writing to deep rooted critical thinking and analysis.
5. The Research part of Service led so much into the curriculum integration.
My AHA moment
We were given an activity on reviewing whether or not a CAS proposal would be accepted and approved or not. This opened up for so much of debate and conflicts amongst the participants and challenged our mindset and comfort zones. When we applied the given CAS frameworks no way we could reject any of them. However what came up as conversations amongst participants was how we get biased by our own experiences and prejudices and what affect that has on the approval of the proposals.
Two interesting ones are mentioned here.
The second one was very special for me as I found myself supporting and justifying something my sons are immersed in. Playing online games in a collaborative platform. When we put this on the CAS framework and I tried to connect it with all that I see at home and hear from my sons.
We made our own analysis how the League of Lefends game could become a CAS proposal. The activity challenged our thinking and comfort zones.should we be open to other forms of creativity too?
See here for our justifications of accepting this proposal as we tied it to strands, learning outcomes, and learner profiles.
The entire CAS program now seems to gel with IB philosophy of creating internationally minded people with strong skills, ready for the 21st century.