by Ka Ue Lu and Faith Yip
Have you ever wanted to try and make a service to serve your community? Can you believe that a group of three Form 3 students could actually use their own knowledge to help the community? Well, that’s what Creative Secondary School Form 3 students are doing this year.
Community Project is a year-long activity that all Form 3 students need to complete in order to graduate from MYP. Students must plan a service action that benefits the community. Doing this allows us to understand the whole community better. During this project we are able to explore different IB ATL skills, for example: communication, collaboration, time management, thinking, and research skills.
But how are we going to explore these skills? Even working as a team, CP is a huge process. We begin by creating a proposal and a process journal and then we will need to set our goal and global context, describe how our project is related to our personal interests, and what kind of service are we working on, whether it’s an indirect service or a direct service. After doing this we still need to work on our action plan which is a very useful table that allows us to keep all our things organized. Finally, when we finish all the preparation work, we will be able to work on our service and collect the data we need and then finally we will end up with a 15-minute presentation.
This is what some students have to say about the experience. Lotta (Form 4) says “The Community Project was one of my first chances to work on a long-term project. It was very daunting at first with all the work that needed to be finished within months or even weeks, but once we got used to it, it became more enjoyable. And looking back on it, I feel very proud of our work and I always feel happy remembering the joy on the janitor's faces. It still feels unreal that we were able to create a service like that, that we were actually able to make a change for our chosen community, no matter how small.”
Coco (Form 3) had a similar experience. “As this is my first time doing a community project, I think it is actually quite hard for me. I always feel lost and have no idea what I should do. But then I’m very grateful to my CP teacher, my supervisors and my tutor’s support. They guide me step by step and I’m now back on track. Now I feel happy about being able to do this by myself.”
Here are some thoughts from teachers about what students learn from the CP. “Lots of skills,” Mr. Kevin Toong told us. “I would say the biggest ones are self-management, collaboration, and communication.” He added, “Learning how to set goals, a schedule and keeping up with tasks so your actual community service can be meaningful for the group of people you are targeting to help. Learning what the strengths are for each of your group mates and using those strengths throughout your CP. Putting aside differences and working together to achieve a common goal.” Ms. Maria Lazcano stressed that “Collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills will definitely be strengthened by the CP.”
Projects ranged from beach cleanups to raising awareness about unwanted pets to food waste to how music can help students deal with stress and everything in between. What seems clear is that big efforts and big challenges achieve big benefits. It’s been a cool experience for students to actually try and make a service to their community, and from this project they get to bring what they learned to their future life.