CAS stands for Creativity, Action, and Service, and it is one of three essential elements that every student must complete to receive the IB Diploma. While not formally assessed, CAS provides opportunities for students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through hands-on learning.
One of the components of CAS is a ‘CAS Project’, a collaborative series of student-initiated CAS experiences over several months engaging students in one or more CAS strands (creativity, activity, and service). Following the five CAS stages of Investigation, Preparation, Demonstration, Action, and Reflection, students can explore their passions whilst challenging themselves to initiate purposeful action around defined goals. The following months will bring a series of interviews where the STC Media Team interviews different students around school to highlight their CAS projects and initiatives.
This week, Larissa speaks to the STC Media Team about her CAS project Auxin English, of which she is a leader. She created the Teaching English Experience alongside Grace Yeung and Cherry Chu, as they wanted to take advantage of their international school education to help others improve their English skills.
Can you introduce your CAS project? What intentions does your CAS project have?
This project aims to provide high-quality English teaching services to underprivileged students in Hong Kong and close the education gap. We want to show students that learning English can be fun and exciting, opposed to the route learning curriculum they usually follow. Moreover, we want to help those who may not have the same opportunities or resources to learn and improve their English skills.
What impact/outcome do you hope your CAS project will have on the school community?
As we explore the more underprivileged parts of our community, we hope our school community learns to appreciate the educational opportunities, learning resources, and support we receive.
Any changes due to COVID-19? How have you adapted?
Due to the pandemic, we have had to consider other options for teaching English in schools, such as holding online meetings over Zoom. We must be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances in times of such unpredictability.
In your opinion, what kinds of strategies and mindsets does an English teacher need?
Firstly, teachers must believe in their students’ ability at the forefront. If teachers believe in their students, they will gain confidence in their skills and improve more quickly, making their learning process smoother.
We also believe that it is imperative to understand that every student learns differently at their own pace. Some students may realise concepts faster than others, which is entirely understandable. The most important thing is if the students had fun and learned something new.
What do you think is the most fulfilling part about teaching others English and why?
As international school students, we are privileged to have such excellent educational opportunities. However, this is not the case for all primary and secondary students living in Hong Kong. We witnessed this first-hand when we volunteered to teach English at community centres and local schools over the summer.
We think the most fulfilling part about teaching others English is our ability to share our privileges and knowledge with students who may lack opportunities. Aside from this, communicating with other local students in our community is hugely insightful and enjoyable.
It is also fulfilling to see students’ progress after learning new vocabulary or techniques. They can compare their struggles at the beginning of the journey to the newfound knowledge they gain after finishing the programme.
Why should we teach others English, and how will English help them in their life?
The ability to speak and communicate in an additional language offers children fantastic opportunities in the future. Whether it be the ability to foster new friendships with individuals of different cultural backgrounds, making themselves more well-rounded individuals when applying for a job, or simply to be able to interact with others upon travelling – the opportunities are endless. Hence, we should take advantage of our privileged circumstances to teach those who do not have the same privileges as us, thereby granting these children more opportunities they can indulge in later in life despite their current struggles or limitations.