The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme curriculum consists of the DP core and six subject groups across various disciplines. Our students choose six subjects from the available 14 options at B.D. Somani. Apart from these subjects, what makes the IBDP curriculum unique is the IBDP core comprising TOK [Theory of Knowledge], CAS [Creativity, Activity, Service] and the Extended Essay [Independent research based essay]. While a part of the IBDP core, at B.D. Somani, elements of CAS are introduced to our students as a voluntary program in Grade 5 and as part of the curriculum from Grade 6 onwards.
CAS consists of three strands, often interwoven with specific activities, and characterised as follows:
- Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
- Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP
- Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected
Since 2010, our students have been volunteering at Vatsalya Foundation and we’ve previously shared reflections from our students on their experiences. Here are some more experiences shared by our Grade 11 students who continued our tradition of volunteering inspite of the ongoing pandemic and the challenges it has presented.
For CAS this quarter, my peers and I were given the privilege to teach English during our Vatsalya sessions. Before we conducted our first session, I was unsure if our interactions would go smoothly as we faced numerous difficulties in the first semester of CAS. However, we did our best to make the students comfortable and they reciprocated in a very positive manner with their enthusiasm. My experience of teaching the Vatsalya children was very fulfilling and encouraged personal growth. I feel that it especially enhanced my communication skills as conversing with them online rather than face to face as we would do normally was challenging at first. It was heart-warming to see their excitement when it came to learning, as they always seemed enthusiastic and looked forward to our sessions. Though my experience was not without technical problems, the students were very active in participating, making it much easier to conduct sessions. All in all, my experience this quarter has been very insightful and fruitful.
With the intent of helping Vatsalya students learn and grow, I chose to teach them English. The reason I chose to teach English was not only because of my great comfort level with it but also the growing reach of the language and its nearly universal use. Learning such a language would help them for years to come and putting effort to teach them the same seems worth it. It has now been a few weeks since I have been teaching the Vatsalya students. The online experience has created a small gap in understanding. However, we continue to help them in the best possible way and we can reach out to each other at any time. Lastly, we have seen them put effort into learning the language and that has motivated us to further build on what we can teach them and how we can guide them online. Currently we have solved worksheets with them and conducted Q&A sessions related to a video which we present to them and we will soon build on these activities.
When I first learnt that we had to teach young kids at Vatsalya arts and craft through a video call, I was very apprehensive as I didn’t know how a hands-on activity like art could be taught online. After our first meeting, where we brainstormed ideas and drew up a plan, I think we all felt a lot more confident to be able to pull off this task. We decided to divide the work by splitting up into pairs and coming up with arts and crafts ideas for children between the ages of 9-13. We taught them how to make landscape drawings, perspective drawings and even taught them how to blend colours. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the kids from Vatsalya and really appreciate the enthusiasm they brought to each session that we had with them. It made, not only me, but our whole group want to work harder to help them with the art and crafts effectively. Through continuous collaborative work, team efforts and Ms. Neha’s constant guidance and support, we were able to achieve so much in the 45 minute sessions while also having a meaningful and enjoyable time.