Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in
response to an authentic need
The aim of the “Service” strand is for students to understand their capacity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility, and accountability for their actions. Service is often seen as one of the most transforming elements of CAS. Use of the CAS stages in developing a service experience is recommended for best practice.
Four types of service action:
- Direct service: Student interaction involves people, the environment or animals. For example, this can appear as one-on-one tutoring, developing a garden in partnership with refugees, or working in an animal shelter.
- Indirect service: Though students do not see the recipients of indirect service, they have verified their actions will benefit the community or environment. For example, this can appear as re-designing a non-profit organization’s website, writing original picture books to teach a language, or nurturing tree seedlings for planting.
- Advocacy: Students speak on behalf of a cause or concern to promote action on an issue of public interest. For example, this may appear as initiating an awareness campaign on hunger, performing a play on replacing bullying with respect, or creating a video on sustainable water solutions.
- Research: Students collect information through varied sources, analyse data, and report on a topic of importance to influence policy or practice. For example, they may conduct environmental surveys to influence their school, contribute to a study of animal migration, compile effective means to reduce litter in public spaces, or conduct social research by interviewing people on topics such as homelessness, unemployment or isolation.
Service can be:
- Ongoing service = students investigate a need that leads to a plan of action in the future
- School-based service = While students are encouraged to participate in meaningful service that benefits the community outside school, there may well be appropriate service opportunities within the school setting. In all cases an authentic need must be verified that will be met through student action.
- Community-based service = this type of service needs to go beyond single incidents of engagement, in order to arrive at sufficient depth and meaning
- Immediate need service = In response to a disaster, students often want to move towards immediate action.
- Fundraising = the approach to use is for students to develop their understanding of the organization they choose to support and the issues being addressed before starting to raise funds. Students can draw from their interests, skills and talents to plan the method and manner of fundraising. Ideally, students directly communicate with the organization and establish accountability for funds raised.
- Volunteerism = Students often volunteer in service experiences organized by other students, the school or an external group.
- Service arising from the curriculum = Teachers plan units with service learning opportunities in mind, students may or may not respond and act.