The Nature of Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
CAS Coordinator: Dr. Roxanne Giampapa
...if you believe in something, you must not just think or talk or write, but must act. Peterson (2003)
Creativity, action, service (CAS) is an important component of learning at Pinewood and it is at the heart of the IB Diploma Programme. It is one of the three essential elements in every student’s Diploma Programme experience. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies.
CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the Diploma Programme. In line with our mission, Pinewood aims to promote a CAS program that is both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life-changing.
For student development to occur, CAS should involve:
All proposed CAS activities need to meet these four criteria. It is also essential that they do not replicate other parts of the student’s Diploma Programme work.
The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. IB learner profile booklet (March 2006).
Creating “a better and more peaceful world” is a large aim. Working towards it should be seen as involving many small steps, which may be taken locally, nationally or internationally. It is important to see activities in a broader context, bearing in mind the maxim “Think globally, act locally”. Working with people from different social or cultural backgrounds in the vicinity of the school can do as much to increase mutual understanding as large international projects.
CAS and Ethical Education
There are many definitions of ethical education. The more interesting ones acknowledge that it involves more than simply “learning about ethics”. Meaningful ethical education—the development of ethical beings—happens only when people’s feelings and behavior change, as well as their ideas.
Because it involves real activities with significant outcomes, CAS provides a major opportunity for ethical education, understood as involving principles, attitudes and behavior. The emphasis in CAS is on helping students to develop their own identities, in accordance with the ethical principles embodied in the Pinewood mission statement and the IB learner profile.
Various ethical issues will arise naturally in the course of CAS activities, and may be experienced as challenges to a student’s ideas, instinctive responses or ways of behaving (for example, towards other people). In the context of CAS, Pinewood has a specific responsibility to support students’ personal growth as they think, feel and act their way through ethical issues.
Within the Diploma Programme, CAS provides the main opportunity to develop many of the attributes described in the IB learner profile. For this reason, the aims of CAS have been written in a form that highlights their connections with the IB learner profile.
The CAS programme aims to develop students who are:
Learning outcomes are differentiated from assessment objectives because they are not rated on a scale. The completion decision for us as a school in relation to each student is, simply, “Have these outcomes been achieved?” As a result of their CAS experience as a whole, including their reflections, there should be evidence that students have:
All eight outcomes must be present for a student to complete the CAS requirement. Some may be demonstrated many times, in a variety of activities, but completion requires only that there is some evidence for every outcome. This focus on learning outcomes emphasizes that it is the quality of a CAS activity (its contribution to the student’s development) that is of most importance. The guideline for the minimum amount of CAS activity is approximately the equivalent of half a day per school week (three to four hours per week), or approximately 150 hours in total, with a reasonable balance between creativity, action and service. “Hour counting”, however, is not encouraged.