The International School of Brussels

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Service in the Community

International Citizens understand that our world is made up of many different cultures, each of which has its own perspective on the world. They endeavor to understand these perspectives, and as a result become empathetic to the opinions and needs of others. Developing International Citizens is an integral part of the ISB Curriculum. We do this through the subjects we teach, the clubs we run, and immersion in a diverse student population as well as through Service Learning, which is part of the CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) Programme. CAS is an obligatory component of the IB Diploma and essential for all students to graduate from ISB.



Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need

The aim of the “Service” strand is for students to understand their capacity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility, and accountability for their actions. Service is often seen as one of the most transforming elements of CAS.

Four types of service:

  • Direct service: Student interaction involves people, the environment or animals. For example, this can appear as one-on-one tutoring, developing a garden in partnership with refugees, or working in an animal shelter.
  • Indirect service: Though students do not see the recipients of indirect service, they have verified their actions will benefit the community or environment. For example, this can appear as re-designing a non-profit organisation’s website, writing original picture books to teach a language, or nurturing tree seedlings for planting.
  • Advocacy: Students speak on behalf of a cause or concern to promote action on an issue of public interest. For example, this may appear as initiating an awareness campaign on hunger, performing a play on replacing bullying with respect, or creating a video on sustainable water solutions.
  • Research: Students collect information through varied sources, analyse data, and report on a topic of importance to influence policy or practice. For example, they may conduct environmental surveys to influence their school, contribute to a study of animal migration, compile effective means to reduce litter in public spaces, or conduct social research by interviewing people on topics such as homelessness, unemployment or isolation.

Service can be:

1. Ongoing service = students investigate a need that leads to a plan of action in the future
2. School-based service = while students are encouraged to participate in meaningful service that benefits the community outside school, there may well be appropriate service opportunities within the school setting. In all cases an authentic need must be verified that will be met through student action.
3. Community-based service = this type of service needs to go beyond single incidents of engagement, in order to arrive at sufficient depth and meaning
4. Immediate need service = in response to a disaster, students often want to move towards immediate action.
5. Fundraising = the approach to use is for students to develop their understanding of the organisation they choose to support and the issues being addressed before starting to raise funds. Students can draw from their interests, skills and talents to plan the method and manner of fundraising. Ideally, students directly communicate with the organisation and establish accountability for funds raised.
6. Volunteerism = students often volunteer in service experiences organised by other students, the school or an external group.
7. Service arising from the curriculum = teachers plan units with service learning opportunities in mind, students may or may not respond and act.


Exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance

Creativity in CAS provides students with the opportunity to explore their own sense of original thinking and expression. Creativity will come from the student’s talents, interests, passions, emotional responses, and imagination; the form of expression is limitless. This may include visual and performing arts, digital design, writing, film, culinary arts, crafts and composition. Students are encouraged to engage in creative endeavours that move them beyond the familiar, broadening their scope from conventional to unconventional thinking.

Creativity can be:

• Ongoing creativity, as a part of a club or school group
• Community-based creativity, for example, students could be encouraged to join a community-based theatre group, contribute towards a community art gallery, create a sculpture for the community park, take cooking classes, or other opportunities.
• Individual creativity, where a student engages in solitary creativity experiences such as composing music, developing a website, writing a compilation of short fiction stories, designing furniture, creating arts and crafts, or painting a series of portraits. Such projects must be under the supervision of a qualified supervisor approved by the CAS coordinator and CAS adviser.


Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle

The aim of the “Activity” strand is to promote lifelong healthy habits related to physical well-being. Pursuits may include individual and team sports, aerobic exercise, dance, outdoor recreation, fitness training, and any other form of physical exertion that purposefully contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Students are encouraged to participate at an appropriate level and on a regular basis to provide a genuine challenge and benefit.

Activity can be:

• Ongoing activity, as a part of a club or school group
• School-based activity, as a part of a timetabled sports session (G11/12 well being)
• Community-based activity, for example, rather than a single activity experience at a community-based fun run, students could be encouraged to join a community-based running club, a dance class, an aerobics class or an out-of-school sports group
• Individual activity, where a student engages in solitary activity experiences such as, for example, attending a gym, bicycling, roller-skating, swimming, or strength conditioning. Such activity experiences are of most benefit when they take place over an extended duration of time. Such projects must be under the supervision of a qualified supervisor approved by the CAS coordinator and CAS adviser.

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