A holistic approach to developing an international perspective: insights from the Impact of CAS study

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Since its inception almost 50 years ago, one aim of the International Baccalaureate (IB) has been the development of a curriculum which leads to an internationally recognised university entrance qualification. However, ‘international education’ in the IB also incorporates the ideals of twentieth-century internationalism and peace (Hahn, 1936). Achieving an international perspective by developing moral, physical and academic strengths in individuals creates, some contend, a tension (Tarc, 2009) that is difficult to reconcile within the modern International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). There is, however, an echo of internationalism evident in the mission statement of the IB. Students are expected to contribute to a ‘better more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect’ (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2016). The engine of that development is the holistic ethos of the IBDP three-part core, comprising the Theory of Knowledge, the Extended Essay, and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). Arguably, the burden of transforming students' perspectives from the local to the international is shouldered by CAS.

This presentation will draw on the findings of a recent large-scale mixed-methods study of the impact of CAS on students and communities which was carried out in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. To fulfil the requirements of CAS, students not only engage in activities which develop their creativity and their physical potential but also address global issues through service which meets an authentic need (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2015). It is especially through the Service experiences that an international perspective is intended to be nurtured whilst also contributing holistically to the development of the student. Our study found that CAS is perceived to bring holistic benefits to individual students although these were not always directed to develop a wider international perspective. This raises questions about the extent to which the holistic approach of CAS nurtures students' developing international perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Event50th Anniversary Conference Department of Education, Bath -
Duration: 1 Jul 2017 → …


Conference50th Anniversary Conference Department of Education, Bath
Period1/07/17 → …


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