MYP:Next Chapter – Service as Action

A Service project at GJIS: Assisting Down Syndrome students to produce a concert at GJIS 2014

A Service project at GJIS: Collaborating with YAYASAN ISDI (Ikatan Down Syndrome Indonesia) to produce a concert at by students from ISDI and GJIS

The background for Service as action:

  • MYP learning extends beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes but also thoughtful and appropriate action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process.
  • This action will extend the student’s learning, or it may have a wider social impact.
  • Both inquiry and action will clearly look different within and between each age group.
  • MYP schools can meet the challenge of offering all learners the opportunity to choose to act, to choose not to act, to decide on their actions and to reflect on these actions.

from the pre-published MYP: From Principles into Practise 2014

“Service requires that students are able to build powerful connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they encounter in the community.”

This new, greater emphasis on Service as action in the MYP:NC is something that addresses some prior weakness with our previous CnS programmes. Prior to this CnS was often a verb, i.e. ‘We’ve just Community Serviced some poor people’, OK, I’m being slightly facetious, but it’s not far wrong in terms of some student/teacher/parental perceptions. Service as action has to be a two way street to be meaningful and authentic.

Another weakness of CnS was that often it was viewed as an optional extra, outside of the curriculum and therefore of less relevance and importance. By embedding Service as Action within the curriculum we are more likely to be able to have sustainable and authentic learning engagements occur.

Service as action also does not just need to be related to ‘poor people’. Sure helping less fortunate folk is a worthy effort, but Service as Action could be environmentally related, (a campaign to stop Jakartan people from buying endangered birds as pets or informing tourists about the mistreatment of elephants being used in Bangkok for begging and educating them not to buy bananas to feed them) or it may be cultural such as resurrecting a renewed interest in Batik clothing at my Indonesian school, including Batik Fridays where all students and teachers are now allowed to wear Batik on Fridays instead of a uniform.


About Pak Liam

Living, teaching and traveling in Asia.
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