Experiential learning is an invaluable part of our teaching and learning programme. Our students learn skills that are needed in cross-cultural interactions, critical for success in the globalised world. Therefore, experiential learning is a quintessential element of an IB education because of its capacity to change mindsets and enrich behavioural dimensions. Students at OSC enhance their experiential learning through CAS. The function of CAS is to allow students to learn through experience and take action in the service of others. Students pursue their own interests and skills through projects, clubs, community service, sports, and other co-curricular activities. CAS helps to shape students into well-rounded, motivated, engaged individuals prepared to contribute to others. CAS is central to our programmes and our teaching.
Week Without Walls programme: Experience Sri Lanka!
In semester 2 of each school year, OSC’s secondary school implements its annual off-campus Week Without Walls (WWW) programme. Experience Sri Lanka! is a programme of experiential education designed to facilitate learning experiences outside of the traditional classrooms in our host nation Sri Lanka.
The WWW program grew out of a desire to better expose OSC students to our host nation Sri Lanka and its varied natural and cultural treasures. There were OSC trips into Sri Lanka and an ambitious outdoor education program at the dawn of the millennium. These coalesced into the WWW program which was launched in January 2008. The learning experiences are organized and planned by teaching and advisory teams with varying degrees of support from local tourist providers. The MYP 5 (Grade 10) and DP1 (Grade 11) WWW learning experiences are designed around “choice programs” where students have a role in choosing the program that they will be going on. Several of these trips have been running since we first offered choice trips in 2012-13. Microtrips are designed as IDUs but have explicit aspects Creativity, Activity or Service (CAS) incorporated in them. We typically offer five micro trips that have roughly 10-15 students each.
We continue to build the program and connect our WWW experience to MYP Interdisciplinary Units (IDUs) and the Creativity Activity and Service (CAS) program in the Diploma Program.
Experience Sri Lanka! is driven by four distinct goals:
- Fulfil mission statement of developing the whole person within a safe environment.
- Expose students to our host country Sri Lanka’s culture and environment.
- Enable opportunities for service learning and outdoor education.
- Use Interdisciplinary Units (IDUs) to support and strengthen existing secondary curriculum (including the DP CAS programme) for the benefit of student learning.
Duke of Edinburgh International Award
The Overseas School of Colombo introduced the Duke of Edinburgh International Award (DofE) for Grades 9-12 in the 2018/19 school year. OSC is a licensed award centre and an initial cohort of teachers have been trained as award leaders to initiate the programme. The DofE programme fits in closely with what OSC students already do and the Award helps to recognise these efforts in a way promotes promoting self-discovery and is helpful in the university admissions process.
The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) is designed to encourage and recognise student participation in extracurricular activities. This year we are going to be introducing the DofE’s Bronze Award for Grades 9-12 and in subsequent years we plan to offer the more demanding Silver and Gold awards. Students need to demonstrate engagement in four segments:
- Physical recreation
- Adventurous journey
The close association with the IB Diploma a Creativity Activity and Service programme makes the DofE a natural fit for our school. Some of the DofE segments are addressed in other after school activities (SAISA sports for example) and in OSC’s robust service programme. The adventurous journey segment is addressed on two designated weekend trips. The practice adventurous journey was planned for the beginning of December and the final adventurous journey was booked for mid-March, 2019. In the 2019/20 school year the school offered the Silver and Bronze Awards.
The Duke of Edinburgh International Award programme helps recognise the amazing array of extracurricular activities that OSC students are already engaged in.