Why are projects included in CAS?

I recently read a report on project based learning and the following scenario immediately resonated with my own experiences.

Ever woken up late on a Saturday morning and realized that you have no milk for your coffee? You pull a coat over your pajamas, put on a hat, and run to the local shop.. Just as you are leaving the store unrecognized, a former student sees you from across the parking lot. She comes rushing towards you and your unbrushed teeth with arms outspread and gives you an awkward hug. The former student wants to reminisce. She enthusiastically begins a sentence, “Remember that time we…” The rest of the sentence is never “crammed for the standardized test” or “used all of our spelling words in one big stupid sentence.” The student’s reminiscence always concludes with a description of a project.

Projects are what students remember long after the bell rings. Great teachers know that that their highest calling is to make memories.

Written by Gary Stager, an internationally recognized educator, speaker, consultant and Executive Director of the Constructivist Consortium, the summary is in the pdf attached.

I invite you to read more as Stager expands on what he terms the 8 elements of good project design that are listed below :

  • Purpose and Relevance
  • Time
  • Complexity
  • Intensity
  • Connected
  • Access
  • Shareable
  • Novelty

How do projects make great memories and experiential learning in CAS?

The current CAS Guide (page 12) makes a clear indication that, all Students should be involved in at least one project involving teamwork that integrates two or more of creativity, action and service, and is of significant duration. Larger scale activities of this sort may provide excellent opportunities for students to engage “with issues of global importance”.

The glossary in the CAS Guide (page 21) clarifies this definition of a project as, an activity that involves teamwork, integrates two or more of creativity, action and service, and is of significant duration……. The importance of duration is that it provides opportunities to reflect on progress and adjust plans, in order to resolve problems that arise.

 Projects intrinsic to CAS.

  1. Projects are based on an exchange, an exchange of 3 student ‘currencies’ viz. ideas and abilities, the soft skills of collaboration and cooperation, and creativity in problem solving and decision making.
  2. Projects are challenging and require students to become involved in sustained activities and for ongoing reflection and planning …… they also enable students to show perseverance and commitment.
  3. Projects offer opportunities – opportunities for students to achieve all of the 8 CAS LO’s (Learner Outcomes) and experience critical transformations.

Projects can charge and invigorate experiential learning in CAS. They are based on a real learning exchange, they involve real challenges, and they lead to real outcomes and unique memories.

good pbl

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