08 Sep, 2017
10 : 00
For many years, CAS has been an integral part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme student experience at Yew Chung International School of Beijing. As one of the standard requirements to receive an IB diploma, CAS stands for “Creativity, Action and Service”, and adds a holistic element to the IBDP curriculum, where students are required to pursue artistic, athletic, and charitable projects and activities to augment their academic studies.
However, seeing that the ideals set forth in the CAS programme align with YCIS Beijing’s own Philosophy & Objectives, and feeling that the programme’s benefits should be extended to younger students as well, the YCIS Challenge was created – a programme modelled on CAS, but aimed particularly at Years 9-11 students.
Lianne Yu, IGCSE Coordinator at YCIS Beijing, explains more about the YCIS Challenge, how it prepares students for their eventual IBDP studies, and how teachers support students during this rewarding though demanding programme.
Preparation for the IBDP
Essentially every component of coursework from kindergarten through Primary and Secondary school leads towards and prepares students for success later in life. Every project they undertake, every book they read, and every homework assignment they complete is a successive step towards that end – being well-rounded and capable adults, successful in the sense that they’re able to set and achieve their life’s goals.
Of these stepping blocks, however, one of the most challenging for students is the IBDP Programme. The intensity of the programme, along with the pressure of its implications towards university acceptance, is a lot for students to endure. Therefore, easing students into the demands of the IBDP Programme, wherever possible, can hugely affect their comfort and ability to complete the coursework when that final “sprint” towards graduation begins.
The YCIS Challenge was designed as a way to do exactly this – to prime Years 9-11 students for the CAS component of the IB Programme. Yet at the same time, that’s not to undersell the intrinsic value of the CAS activities themselves! The YCIS Challenge involves the same types of Creativity, Action and Service projects, which helps students to be more creative, healthy, and charitable – and leads to a more holistic education.
A Partner in the Challenge
Overcoming any challenge takes teamwork. Even in projects that are thought to be an individual effort, that effort is always founded on a support network of mentors and teachers who have trained the individual to succeed on their own.
For the YCIS Challenge, homeroom teachers prepare students for their individual efforts by acting as mentors and ensuring foremost that a proper procedure is followed. Each project must follow the steps of Planning, Doing and Reflecting, while teachers oversee student activity through the ManageBac online platform. Planning is a joint exercise between students and teacher, as is Reflecting – one of the most vital components of the process.
Through individualized oversight and support, teachers aid students in conceiving worthwhile and significant projects, while also prodding deeper reflection – which is where the magic of growth really happens.
Creating Time and Space in G100
Another way to support students is by opening G100 class time for YCIS Challenge pursuits.
Part of YCIS Beijing Secondary Learning Communities involve weekly G100 classes, where students have the free time to independently explore areas of academic interest and to dive deeper in the exploration of themes and ideas that they’d otherwise not have the time for.
G100 provides a perfect opportunity for students to experiment with project ideas and to engage in active reflection with teachers.
Leading with a Carrot
There are also awards associated with the YCIS Challenge, with different designations of Gold, Silver and Bronze depending on the number of projects and amount of work that students undertake.
For younger students, awards and achievement is a way to build and reinforce their self-confidence, which in turn, like a self-fulling prophecy, can lead to even better results in the future. If a student first believes in their ability, their ability then often shines through.
Moreover, awards work especially well for the YCIS Challenge because they’re based-on work ethic instead of raw ability – so any student who works hard can achieve them.
To learn more about the YCIS Challenge, and our Secondary and IBDP Programmes, please click here to contact a member of our admissions team today.