By B. Sapiro and I. Weber
During the course of the 2-year IB program, students are required to create and develop a CAS project, including two strands of CAS( Creativity, Activity and Service). Being expected to fulfill this requirement within our tutorials, it was hard to construct a project that would satisfy everyone and their schedules. However, some students create amazing projects inside and outside of school such as, Senior Buddies and Speak Up
The Senior Buddies CAS Project is led by students in the Upper 6, where they go down to the Prep School on odd weeks Wednesdays to help the prep school pupils with their daily tasks. In this Project, the senior school is able to create a bond with the Prep school, something that before did not exist. Furthermore, this also provides aid for the teachers who are sometimes overloaded with work and need some help managing the students.
This projects also allows the Upper 6 students to consolidate skills such as patience and commmunication, vital for another activities in and outside of school.
Overall, the project has been very successful in which Senior and Prep students have both been enjoying the opportunity. For the future, students are planning on expanding the Project to Prep 2 and Prep 1, and then pass it on to the Lower 6, in order to the project continue and become even better.
The idea for our project came slowly. One thing that was clear, though, was that we wanted to go beyond that just what the IB asked of us; we didn’t want the easy way out. Being fluent english speakers since a very young age, we began to reflect on how that knowledge puts us at an advantage in the professional world. It is only the vast minority of Brazil’s population that has access to the education of that language, even though it remains one of the most widely-spoken languages on Earth. That thorough reflection led us to the idea of teaching children from local state schools our knowledge of english. We have the knowledge, why not pass it forward to people who need it? After carrying out research about public schools close to us, we settled on teaching english for students at Escola Maximiliano, a state school in Vila Madalena. Thus, our project would involve Service and Creativity.
Since the project would happen at a location of which the school was not familiar with, the process of gathering the approval needed for us to begin teaching, was long. Not only that, but we also encountered long periods of waiting whilst the coordinator of Escola Maximiliano asked for the permission of the parents of the state school students, for their children to take part in our classes.
From the date we settled on the project idea to the day we received the approval for it, months had passed, and end-of-year exams were approaching. This, therefore, messed with our weekly schedule, and alterations had to be made regarding the lesson dates.
We all worked together to create the first lesson, of which we unanimously agreed would be on the theme of introductions, with the aim of introducing ourselves and our project, and helping them to be able to introduce themselves to others. The first lesson was hugely successful; every child in that room was excited to learn, something that we don’t see very often. They were all actively engaged throughout the entirety of the lesson, as if becoming more and more interested in the language with every passing minute.
We came out of that lesson feeling incredibly fulfilled, and have been after every lesson since that first one. Teaching children with less-privildged backgrounds than us has given our group a whole new perspective on life. We saw how we can use knowledge that is familiar and robust to us, as a tool to help others. Coming from backgrounds with much to be thankful for, it is crucial that we use our knowledge to develop that of others. Studying in an environment with hundreds of teachers, it is only rarely that we reflect on the impact that our instructors have on us; this experience has taught us to value the education we receive, as well as the priviledges that we have.
We are extremely proud to be representing the St. Paul’s community at Escola Maximiliano with our project, of which we named Speak Up Organisation, and plan to continue this project until a group of Lower 6s take over it in the future.