Action and service are focal points in each of the IB programmes. The International Baccalaureate Organization (“IBO”) states, “Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service – making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment”.
While this is the guiding principle of the IBO with regard to service across the programmes, the manner in which this takes effect looks different within each programme.
Primary Years Programme: Action
In the PYP, it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action. An explicit expectation of the PYP is that successful inquiry will lead to responsible action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process. This action will extend the student’s learning, or it may have a wider social impact, and will clearly look different within each age range. PYP schools can and should meet the challenge of offering all learners the opportunity and the power to choose to act; to decide on their actions; and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in and to the world. This is visually illustrated through the PYP Action cycle, which emphasizes how students begin to understand their place in and impact on the community (Making the PYP Happen, 2009).
Middle Years Programme: Service as Action
In the MYP, service requires that students are able to build authentic connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they encounter in the community. All MYP students are expected to engage in meaningful service activities in which they work with others in a shared commitment towards the common good.
Diploma Programme: CAS
The creativity, activity, service (CAS) requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, providing a counterbalance to self-absorption some students may feel within a demanding school curriculum. The creative, physical, and social development of human beings can be shaped by their own experiences.