Students show awareness of the consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences.

The student:
– recognizes ethical issues
– is able to explain the social influences on one’s ethical identity
– takes into account cultural context when making a plan or ethical decision
– identifies what is needed to know in order to make an ethical decision
– articulates ethical principles and approaches to ethical decisions
– shows accountability for choices and actions
– is aware of the consequences of choices and actions regarding self, others involved and the community
– integrates the process of reflection when facing an ethical decision
– shows awareness of the potential and varied consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences.

I think that when we plan out our CAS experiences this is often the learning outcome that we forget to consider, or purposely send to the back of our minds. Going on CAS trips, we try our hand at helping out for a week, without really considering what the long term impact of our work may be, positive or negative. I have been exposed to voluntourism for a large portion of my life, with my family often taking me overseas to help build schools or houses over a holiday. At first it feels nice, knowing we were helping out people in need, but it wasn’t until later CAS trips when I begun to question if what we were doing does more harm than good.

I went to Sabah, Malaysia for CAS week. For the service component of the trip, we went to a school, and paved a road leading up to it, as well as built a fence around it to keep vermin and livestock away. On the way there, I overheard the teachers discussing our work area with the guide. The guide mentioned that the site we we were working at was a new one, that they had only started working with that year. When the teacher asked why they didn’t stay with a previous site they had been working with for years, they said it was because the community there had grown overly dependent on volunteer services- even taking advantage of them- which was obviously not the ideal outcome of a service project.

Since that day I learned to be more wary of the ‘services’ we were giving to the people of a community, while trying better as well to ensure I did not leave any lasting negative impact on the people there. I tried to be as respectful as possible, knowing that I had inadvertently crossed some culturally disrespectful boundaries I shouldn’t have in the past. Even if I couldn’t speak the local language, I learned to smile and say hello if children walked past, fascinated by our work, or perhaps even simply by the presence of visitors. I tried to be more aware of if the communities looked like they disliked outsiders, or had already developed overdependence on voluntourism, which luckily did not happen on my trips.

Students are able to identify and demonstrate their understanding of global issues, make responsible decisions, and take appropriate action in response to the issue either locally, nationally or internationally.

The student:
– recognizes the global implications of local issues
– is able to identify global issues in the local or national community
– shows awareness of issues of global importance and takes concrete and appropriate actions in response to them either locally, nationally or internationally
– gets involved in CAS projects addressing global issues in a local, national or international context
– develops awareness and responsibility towards a shared humanity.

Over the years I have gone to many CAS trips, often overseas, but I feel that the biggest involvement I’ve had with globally significant decisions happened right here in Hong Kong. As part of my CAS project I got involved with the HK2030+ programme, as part of the Urban Thinkers Campus 2.0.

“Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030”, a comprehensive strategic study to update the territorial development strategy, is built on the foundations of Hong Kong 2030 and has revisited the planning strategy and spatial development directions beyond 2030 in the light of the dynamics and challenges ahead. It represents the Government’s vision, policy and strategy for the territorial development of Hong Kong beyond 2030. A visionary, proactive, pragmatic and action-oriented approach is adopted to ensure a focused public dialogue on the key planning issues critical to future development and a timely response to the changing circumstances in and outside of Hong Kong.

The statistics and plans I learned about all pertained to Hong Kong of course, but what surprised me most was how much politicians, planners and demographers relied on patterns that exist outside the country. I had learned about many of these patterns in geography class, never imagining that Hong Kong too was progressing through demographic transition just as quickly as any other nation. For example, during the Urban Thinkers Campus, a lady gave a speech about Hong Kong’s rapidly ageing population, and lowered birth rates. She took examples from Japan and Singapore to show what other nations had done to help the elderly and develop social, political and economic establishments around them such as increased work opportunities and pensions- things that Hong Kong severely lacks. Others showed how Hong Kong was very involved in global trade, and how our business sector was likely to be a fast-growing industry in the coming years, using examples from the United States to show Hong Kong’s international financial relations.

Despite the conference being about Hong Kong, I learned a lot more about the city’s interactions with other countries than I would have known otherwise.

Students are able to identify, demonstrate and critically discuss the benefits and challenges of collaboration gained through CAS experiences

The student:
– shares skills and knowledge
– listens respectfully to proposals from peers
– is willing to take on different roles within a team
– shows respect for different points of view and ideas
– makes valuable contributions
– is responsible for participating in the group
– readily assists others
– is able to identify, demonstrate and discuss critically the benefits and challenges of collaboration gained through CAS experiences.

When many people think of art- as with many other creative fields- they do not think of it as a real profession, not realizing that these studies are also vital to the wider society. Art and design mean much more than just painting a pretty picture, they are also the backbone of our daily lives: ranging from the furniture in our houses, to the technology we rely so much on, to the persuasive and informative features of advertisements. There is a lot of understanding beyond artistic technique that is required to create functional, effective products, that are designed to meet society’s needs while simultaneously catering to its interests. Through my CAS project, which involved communication with politicians, designers, environmentalists and other professionals, I learned the benefits and challenges of collaboration with other people who think differently from me firsthand.

For example, in order to create a building, skills in architectural design, a very arts and design focused area, engineering, stemming from physics and mechanical studies, and even urban planning, stemming from political and environmental sciences, may be required. In reality, during a project there would likely be multiple people who specialize in each of those fields working together to contribute to the final product. However, it is inarguably useful to all parties if everyone is mutually understood, which is where a diverse academic background, such as one offered at our school, would be completely indispensable.

Students demonstrate regular involvement and active engagement in CAS.

The student:
– demonstrates regular involvement and active engagement with CAS experiences and CAS project
– is able to foresee potential challenges to the initial plan and consider valid alternatives and contingencies
– demonstrates adaptability to uncertainties and changes
– gets involved in long-term CAS experiences and CAS project.

On top of other hobbies, I like to think of myself as an avid musician. As a child, I did not have a particular affinity for music, I thought of it as something routine, perhaps academic, and something I was forced to engage with. I was forced to play the piano at age 5, as my parents had enrolled me for lessons though I was not given a choice as to which instrument I wanted to play. I was very bad at music and couldn’t see myself improving in the near future. This changed when I was in middle school.

I began to notice and understand the value of music in around grade 5-6, when I picked up the flute. For me, it was the first time I had chosen voluntarily to enrol in an extracurricular academic activity. I had heard recordings of flute players online and had become absolutely enticed by the sound. I practiced harder than I had ever practiced piano.I became fixated on the flute- taking both my grade 8 piano and grade 8 flute exams within months of each other, I ended up failing the former and passing the latter with flying colors. I began to perform for friends and family, for my flute studio classmates, and then to the school and even in inter-school and solo competitions. I never won anything, but it was enough to inspire me to continue playing both of my instruments all the way through to the present.

Students can articulate the stages from conceiving an idea to executing a plan for a CAS experience or series of CAS experiences. This may be accomplished in collaboration with other participants. Students may show their knowledge and awareness by building on a previous experience, or by launching a new idea or process.

The student:
– is able to articulate the CAS stages including investigation, preparation, action, reflection (ongoing) and demonstration, moving from conceiving an idea to carrying out a plan for a CAS experience or series of CAS experiences
– demonstrates knowledge and awareness by building on a previous CAS experience
– shows initiative by launching a new idea or process
– suggests creative ideas, proposals or solutions
– integrates reflective thoughts in planning or taking initiative
– is aware of roles and responsibilities when designing an individual or collective CAS experience
– shows responsible attitude to CAS project planning
– is able to develop a coherent action plan taking into account the aim or purpose, activities and resources.

I joined the horticulture club- previously known as the gardening club- at the beginning of grade 7. I was new to the upper school and very much into taking care of plants, having taken care of cacti at home, and was looking for something to join. The executives of the club at the time were in grade 11, and by the end of the following school year, the roles of executives were suddenly passed down to myself and some classmates. All being only in grade 8, we had little to no leadership experience for anything, and initially needed to employ the help of teachers to try and understand how clubs were run. We did very poorly in our first year running the club. Members decreased by almost half, leaving few more than the executives and a few friends we each brought in. This all changed when our teacher supervisor reminded us of the plant outreach programme.

The plant outreach programme was a system designed to give plants to teachers to keep in their classrooms, both in the upper and lower school. Being similar to a class pet, but much simpler to take care of, we decided we could try to reintroduce it. There had been embryonic iterations of the same project previously but the programme had never been fully developed. Planning the outreach was difficult. I created a survey that was sent out to teachers to gauge interest in the programme, which was reacted to with surprising enthusiasm. Other members prepared plants, and we each decided to team up in pairs to deliver plants to classrooms. The problem was, we had very few members to keep up with the high demand. We initially wanted to give already-grown seedlings to classrooms so that we knew that the seeds would at least germinate, but sometimes there was so much demand for a particular plant (such as mint) that it was hard to keep up and we had to give some classes freshly planted seeds. We gave mini-talks to classes teaching them how to take care of the plant- simple instructions like watering them twice or three times a day until the soil was just moist enough, giving the plant adequate sunlight, things of that nature.

Despite difficulties, the programme was ultimately a success, with many teachers even coming by our booth at the family fun fair to get extra plants for their classrooms. Every year we aim to improve the programme, and we hope that when we graduate that the younger members will carry on our tradition.

A new challenge may be an unfamiliar experience or an extension of an existing one. The newly acquired or developed skills may be shown through experiences that the student has not previously undertaken or through increased expertise in an established area.

The student:
– participates in an experience that demands an appropriate personal challenge; this could be with new or familiar experiences
– is willing to become involved in unfamiliar environments and situations
– acquires new skills and abilities
– increases expertise in an established area
– shows newly acquired or developed skills or increased expertise in an established area

When I was in middle school, my friends introduced me to many online art communities, on which I could reach a wider audience than I had ever previously imagined. That was the beginning of a new perspective on art for me. I became more business-minded, I learned to advertise myself, to sell my art for clients, and how to look for what the community wants. At this point, I became aware of how much of a sense of business-mindedness is required for me to succeed in the art realm. 

I am still very grateful for this experience today, and even now I continue to work towards improving my business skills in addition to my artistic skills. I look for advice on pricing my work, as well as collaborating with other artists for mutual promotion.

Students are able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, of which some are more developed than others.
The student:
– is aware of own strengths and weaknesses
– is open to improvement and growth opportunities
– is able to propose activities according to own interests and talents
– is willing to participate in different activities
– is able to undertake a thoughtful self-evaluation
– is able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, some more developed than others.

I was lucky to discover my passion at a young age. If I could name one thing that makes me lose all track of time, it’s when I immerse myself in the world of my art. At first, I did drawing for fun, but I eventually realized my small hobby was more than just a pastime, I lived for it, it is part of my identity. When I was young, I immersed myself in the world of virtual fiction and fantasy through the introduction to the famous Pokémon franchise by Nintendo, and as a result this became the source of inspiration and drive for creating character concepts and expanding my technical skill and creativity through art.

Having not had a real art teacher for the majority of my childhood, I learned to draw through tutorials on the internet.  I would draw for hours on end every day, hoping to one day be as competent as my idols. I didn’t realize at the time that I was teaching myself independence and self-directed learning skills- I didn’t have someone simply feed knowledge to me like was done in school. Instead, I went and looked for relevant information myself. This kind of self-development was key to the growth of myself as an artist- not only when I started out, but even now- and I am sure that it will continue to be key in my improvement in the future as well. The idea of knowing that I could make something that other people could see and appreciate, as well as being able to use a medium that could show my own enjoyment of certain subjects, were my primary motives for trying to learn how to draw, on top of the fact that I simply enjoyed doing it.

Urban Thinkers Campus 2.0

Timeline


  • March 22 – Urban Thinkers Campus Hong Kong announced
  • March 27 – Sign up
  • March 29 – New Urban Agenda and HK2030+ (pre-2017 edition) distributed
  • April 1 – Urban Thinkers Campus conference
  • April 3 – Information synthesized, suggestions survey released
  • April 19 – Production of UTC 2.0 report commenced
  • April 27 – Outcome document published and released
  • April 28 – Outcome document submission to HKSAR Government’s Planning Department

Relation to CAS


Information about the Urban Thinkers Campus 2.0 here: http://web5.arch.cuhk.edu.hk/urbandesign/urbanthinkers2017.html

Under creativity, action and service, my CAS project likely links to both creativity and service, though if only my own involvement in the project is considered, it ties mostly to creativity.

On March 22nd 2017, my geography teacher Ms. Safaya announced to the class on Google Classroom that there was going to be a United Nations-tied event at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I saw that there was going to be an urban planning workshop at the event, and since I am interested in pursuing architecture in university I decided to go to learn about the issues that I would likely have to face as a future architect.

Discuss what you particularly enjoyed about the retreat – and anything that you found challenging in a positive way; At least 4 paragraphs length (or equivalent video); Follows/engages with at least one of the Retreat themes (Challenge & Passion, Sublimation, Finding your Path.)
During the IB Retreat we had many fun activities, but some for me were much more memorable that others, and I remember those that were particularly enjoyable and challenging the most. One of the things I enjoyed most watching the movie 12 Angry Men, originally written by Reginald Rose as a teleplay and the movie we watched being produced by Rose himself as well as Sidney Lumet. The film stars Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and 10 other actors as 12 jurors attempting to deem a murder suspect either guilty or not guilty. The plot twists and turns as each of the jurors continuously change their views on the subject matter as more evidence is considered and new possibilities come to light.

1. Horticulture Club

Member September 2012-present, Executive member August 2014-present

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The horticulture club has had many service-oriented endeavours in the time I’ve been a member, though not all of them have been on a wide scale. One of our in-school initiatives was/is the outreach programme, in which plants suitable for the available conditions are given to teachers to keep in their classrooms, with the assumption that them and their students will be in full care and custody of the plant. We intend to teach not only plant-growing skills, but also responsibility through this initiative to both students and teachers alike. Another initiative is our organic farming initiative, in which we bring members of the club as well as other students who are interested to an organic farm in the New Territories to learn about aquaponics, self-sustaining environments (effective, minimalist gardening) and coordination between human intervention and natural occurrences.

2. CAS Week – Sabah

November 2015

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While the school’s CAS week trip to Sabah, Malaysia is half action-based, the other half is service-based. We dug a road leading up the hill to a kindergarten to allow for easier access not only by vehicles but also by foot, as previously the dirt roads could be difficult to traverse by any means. We also helped build a fence around the perimeter of the school premises and around each of the buildings to help keep animals such as livestock out of the school grounds. We didn’t do much in terms of interacting with the students as we were mostly operating in another area of the site from where classes were held, but we were taught basic greetings and questions in Bahasa Melayu that we occasionally conversed with the children in.

How did you become more aware of your own strengths and areas for growth?

I was part of the planning team for the 2014 outreach programme in the horticulture club.We spent a disproportionately long amount of time putting off setting up, we found that the means by which we contacted teachers tended to be quite indirect, and on top of that once the plants and teachers were planned out, the actual method by which we would distribute the plants was poorly planned and disorganized. The next year, we vowed to improve our existing plan and develop new ideas so that the issues we faced in the previous year would not be encountered again, or cause problems in the outreach programmes of any subsequent years.

How did you undertake challenges that developed new skills?

In Sabah for CAS week, since I had never done this type of construction work before, I had to learn a lot of new skills, which were definitely challenging. I’m not exactly physically strong, so digging the roads even for short periods of time tired me out quickly, and I wasn’t able to get much done compared to a lot of other people. I’m also not exactly the tallest person, so I wasn’t able to reach a lot of the higher-up spots on the fences or flower beds we had to build. However, I was still able to be involved in the work and even though I wasn’t very good at it I was still able to contribute what I could.

How did you discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities?

In 2016 we started the organic farming initiative, in which we bring members of the club as well as other students who are interested to an organic farm in the New Territories to learn about aquaponics, self-sustaining environments (effective, minimalist gardening) and coordination between human intervention and natural occurrences. We researched potential sites that would allow for groups as large as ours to come and do activities for a given period of time. I then went in a small group with only a few members of the club on a reconnaissance-type trip to survey the site and see what type of activities could potentially be done there.

How did you persevere in action?

Again, I was not the most physically strong person on the CAS trip to Sabah this year, nor the most daring person, but I was able to do all the activities during the week without backing out of any of them, even if I was sick, because I felt that if I didn’t that my self-worth would decrease due to not contributing as much as I think I should, as selfish as that sounds.

How did you work collaboratively with others?

This year, for CAS Week I went to Sabah, Malaysia, where I helped build structures around a kindergarten, though there were also more scary aspects such as jungle trekking, though I feel that now that I’ve had those experiences I have better interpersonal teamwork skills. Even though above I primarily discussed the service aspects, I believe that the action aspect also had an element of improvement in collaborative skills as well. Part of it was learning to assign tasks to people in a group and making sure they get done. The whole group was split into two and each person would be delegated a job to carry out. We would each need to do our fair share in order to keep the balance and harmony in the group, for example we would need some people to start the fire while another got water in order to be able to boil water to cook food. I also learned to help others in the same way they would help me, and by helping each other we learned to collaborate and gain trust and solve problems as a group.

How did you develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding?

When we went to Sabah, there were many cultural and traditional customs that the people there followed that were vastly different from those here in Hong Kong. Religion was one, with the majority of the people in the areas where we stayed being of a Christian division, whereas here in Hong Kong most religious people are Buddhists. Another was manners, as with visiting any foreign country, they had rules which people of certain status must conform to in a way that is not seen in my home city, such as children having to behave a certain way towards adults. Of course, when we went there the rules applied to us as well, so we followed them. We also followed the rules set by their local folk tales and beliefs, such as not harming nature. They also spoke a different language from what we speak here, they mostly speak Bahasa Melayu in Sabah, or otherwise regional dialects, while people here mostly speak Chinese, usually Cantonese. We learned a few basic phrases in Bahasa in order to try and communicate with the people there and find out what life is like for them to an extent.

How did you consider the ethical implications of your actions?

Someone on the CAS trip once asked why the camp this year was moved to do service work on a different site from many years prior. We were told that it was because the people there had grown a dependency on outside help, and if something went wrong they just assumed that some student group would come around and fix it for them, and they didn’t want that kind of reliance being developed. Another implication that was brought up was: once we leave, when we think back, was this trip really for others? Or did we come here for ourselves? This type of self-reflection made us think about the implications of what we were doing: sure, we were helping people perform a job that they may otherwise not have the resources to do, but on the other hand we may be doing it for our own selfish reasons such as for CAS hours or to feel better about ourselves. However, I personally believe that it’s a bit of both, and that overall the ethical mindset and implications behind our actions are valid and thoroughly thought through.