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“As I watched the workshop unfold, I saw my students find meaning and significance in a variety of new ways. These experiences are part of an ongoing growing process that students benefit from and will continue to inspire them through their CAS journey.”

Designed to take place over one or two days, our CAS Induction Workshops are a unique combination of innovative approaches to CAS as well as strategies for creating and understanding CAS Projects, reflection, and Service Experiences. 

Co-developed by Cathryn Berger Kaye, IBDP students are invited to join our team of facilitators to discover what CAS is and explore what it could mean to them.

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of hosting one of our first induction workshops with a dynamic group of juniors at Awty International School in Houston, Texas. We had 132 student participants, and, as always, we were impressed with the magic that happens when you bring young people together to discuss innovative ways to explore their passions and interests. 

As summarized beautifully by Mrs. Tairong Zheng, IB CAS Coordinator and Secondary School Chinese teacher at Awty, when reflecting upon the workshop:

“The CAS Induction Workshop provided our students with a wonderful opportunity during this pandemic to learn, interact with others, and work collaboratively to help solve a real-world problem. It is part of an ongoing growing process that students benefit from and will continue to inspire them through their CAS journey. 

As I watched the workshop unfold, I saw my students find meaning and significance in a variety of new ways. Having these experiences helps them to not only identify their own interests and develop new skills, but also gain an understanding that they are members of local and global communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment.”

Main takeaways 

Our workshops are designed to provide ample opportunity for students to explore self-initiated ideas for Creativity, Activity, and Service Experiences. Here are some of the key features they offer: 

Service Learning support

Using techniques and activities developed by Cathryn Berger Kaye, our workshops help students cultivate a solid understanding of what ethical Service Learning is and how to Think Global, Act Local. As Mrs. Zheng explained, “during the pandemic, students have had limited access to the on-site volunteer opportunities and have had to learn how to look for virtual opportunities and host all clubs and meetings online. The workshop provided a lot of inspiration for ways to move forward and encouraged students never to stop thinking or trying new things.”

CAS Project inspiration

Our workshops also help students create a collaborative action plan for a month-long CAS Project in their own community. Following our workshop at Awty, 85% of students reported that they most enjoyed the CAS Project module, as they felt this was the most intimidating part of CAS. As a result, 88% of students intended to continue planning and implementing their CAS project plan from the workshop.

A refreshing approach to reflection

At CAS Trips, we work hard to cultivate an appreciation for reflection in all the students we work with. Our workshops highlight this and offer a formula and approach for creating stress-free, meaningful reflections regularly. It was great to see students taking an engaged and proactive approach to this component, and as Mrs. Zheng commented, “the workshop gave me confidence that through CAS experiences and reflection, students will continue growing and exploring who they are and who they want to be.”

Enhanced peer support

Overall, students said their favorite part of the workshop was having the opportunity to learn from and engage with their classmates. Thanks to the collaborative aspect and willingness to engage with the content provided — 98% of students felt better prepared for their CAS commitments in the coming year.

The pandemic continues to present challenges, but together we are finding ways to overcome them. As Mrs. Zheng stated in her final remarks on the workshop, “The pandemic cannot stop students from thinking, planning, and doing. We are learning how to overcome the obstacles together, do things safely, and look with hope towards the future.” 

Cover photo credits: Gia Oris via Unsplash