I was asked the other day how to motivate students to complete their CAS activities. My reply to this CAS Coordinator (who is more awesome than she knows) was to make sure your students understand the importance and meaning of CAS. The following is my own interpretation of CAS and it won’t be found anywhere in an IB document, but this is what I tell my students. And I explain it in the order that makes sense to me: Creativity, Service, Action: CSA
Creativity is what made the first caveman turn a rock into a wheel. Creativity isn’t just poetry, singing, dancing, art, or writing. Although these endeavors bring beauty and meaning to our lives, creativity is much more. It’s innovation, it’s progress, it’s new discoveries, new inventions. It’s the advancements in medicine that kept my dad alive for many years longer than he should’ve lived through his battle with cancer. It’s the iPad in my hands as I type this post. Creativity is certainly being involved in the Arts, but it’s also a better life in a better world through different thinking, new thinking, new ideas.
But this creativity would all be for nothing if we didn’t use it to serve and assist our fellow man. Creativity and progress doesn’t do anyone any good if its foundation is not born from a desire to help each other, to make someone else’s life better and more enjoyable. The majority of us will not serve in big ways and change the world, but all of us can serve in some way, even small ways, by using our time and talents to change the world for someone. CAS is at the heart of the IB program, and service is at the heart of CAS. We need to keep creating and using our creativity to serve our community and the world at large as best we can.
But if we don’t stay healthy then we can’t maximize our creativity or our service to others. Our lives may even be cut short. There are many health issues not in our control, but staying active and exercising the only body we will ever have is one small area of health that is in our control. Brain research tells us our bodies need physical exertion to keep the brain AND body healthy, so exercise has a two-fold benefit. Remember this: Move more, eat less.
This is why IB wants students, our future adults, to physically exert themselves. I like to think that IB boiled down the three most vital elements of being a responsible member of this world to these three elements: Creativity, Action, and Service: CAS. Or as I like to call them: CSA. 🙂
And remember: Move more, eat less.