How to Reflect on Community, Action and Service Activities

As you do your IB Community, Action and Service activities you’ll need to reflect on your learning. This serves as evidence of all that you have accomplished, but it also helps you to make sure you are learning as much as you can out of each activity.

Writing is like that. William Faulkner said, “I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it” and I agree. Writing forces us to focus on what’s actually going on, so it helps us to notice things.  

So as you do your 150 hours of community, action and service activities you’ll want to make sure that you lock-in as much learning from those activities as you can. Think of this as a time to learn things about yourself: how you like to work, the ways you like to contribute to society, what your values are, what activities you enjoy and a time to learn about all the skills you’re going to need to develop that you haven’t yet. 

For each of your big activities you’ll want to do 3 reflections. 

If you aren’t sure what to write about, we recommend you answer the questions listed below. They are designed to help you to think critically about your experiences. But feel free to go beyond these questions. If you only try to tick the boxes you might miss out on some important learning.

So I recommend, touching on each of the recommended points (from A to N), but also feel free to go beyond these or to only focus on some of them if they help you to do a more useful reflection. (These were developed by Mrs Mares).

Reflection #1 Questions

Why have you chosen this activity? (A)

What do you hope to gain/ learn from this activity? (B) 

What if anything about this activity makes you nervous or concerned? (C)

What challenges do you expect from this activity? (D)

What are you most excited about? (E) 

After your first few weeks, what are your first impressions? Concerns? (F) 

Reflection #2 Questions

How is this activity going so far? (G)

What challenges have you faced? How did you/ do you plan to resolved these? (H)

What has been successful about this activity so far? (I)

What have you learned about yourself so far in terms of: working with others; things you do well, areas requiring improvement; commitment and perseverance; meeting deadlines; and developing leadership skills (J).

Reflection #3 Questions

Overall, was this activity a success? Why or Why not? (K)

What could have you done to make it more successful? (L)

What was the most significant thing you learned from this activity? (M)

Chose at least ONE of the learning outcomes (below) and reflection on them/it (N):

I have increased my awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses

I have undertaken new challenges

I have planned and initiated this activity

I have worked collaboratively with others

I have shown perseverance and commitment in my activities

I have engaged with issues of global importance

I have considered the ethical implications of my actions

I have developed new skills

Your FINAL CAS self evaluation

When you have finally completed all of your CAS activities for IB (in year 12) you will also want to reflect on all of your activities, as a whole, and what you have learned from CAS overall. We ask that your final reflection be at least 500 words. Take advantage of this. Use it as an opportunity to tie together and summarize all of your main insights. You will be able to use these insights in future job interview and in your college applications. You can use the following prompts to help you reflect:

Personal Achievements that you have developed through CAS. For example: meeting challenges, regular participation and commitment, awareness of personal limitations, progress in a new role, learning from experience, helping to solve problems

Personal Skills that you have developed through CAS. For example: thinking creatively, planning and organization, resource management, identifying success and failure

Personal Qualities that you have developed through CAS. For example: perseverance, self-confidence, humility, responsibility, commitment, punctuality

Interpersonal Qualities that you have developed through CAS. For example: adaptability, collaboration, empathy, respect

Awareness of Global Issues that you have developed through CAS. For example: ethical appreciation of humanitarian and environmental issues, action from a local, national, and international perspective

Final Learning Outcomes

It is very important that you cover all of the learning outcomes and show how you have met each of these. This is the main part of this summary. And (at OFS) we also ask you to fill in a another document, a checklist.

You do not need to reflect on every CAS activity, but rather cover important events and activities in each area of CAS (Community, Action and Service). You may want to think about and compare how you felt about at the beginning of your time doing CAS and how you feel about it now. Think about how CAS has changed you as a person. As with your college applications, be as specific as you can. What have you learned? What have others gained?

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2 Responses to How to Reflect on Community, Action and Service Activities

  1. Ginamarie says:

    When is the deadline for the 150 Community/ Action hours, can you still complete them into your Senior year?

    • Tim Woods says:

      Good question. Schools set their own deadlines. Normally the deadline is somewhere between February and April. In my school students finish in December, so they can focus on their exams. 

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