Voluntary vs Mandatory

“It is the sin of the soul to force young people into opinions – indoctrination is of the devil – but is culpable neglect not to impel young people into experiences.” Kurt Hahn

I’m sure that you’ll always find students who will question why is CAS, and especially service, compulsory in the DP.

The question of whether a service program should be mandatory or voluntary is, according to Samuel Halperin – the director of the American Youth Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. “.…a red herring. The students who benefit most from service activities are the ones who would never volunteer.  Those who think they’re going to hate it end up loving it.”

Our own knowledge and experience about learning makes the mandatory aspect of service easy to justify, does it not?

And don’t we surely know that a compulsory program of service is like a tonic or a panacea – a cure all – for the reluctant, the passive, and the lazy CAS student?

However we will always encounter students, parents, peers, and administrators who will challenge this and question this aspect of CAS.

Will service really make the student a better person?

Our responsibility in CAS is to create a program that is mandatory and highly attractive to the students.

As the students become aware of the numerous possibilities in service and the countless ways for self-improvement (e.g. from other students in the program) they will be challenged and invited to experience these same activities, reflect and respond to others, and in turn learn more about the world and themselves.

In CAS they are always trying out those new learnings in their next service project.

Engagement is a key to learning.

To add more to this debate please read a testimonial from Emmanuel Lammonier, a JIS CAS alumni and good friend whom I interviewed for inclusion in our book CAS Illustrated.

Emmanuel What you did for CAS when you were a DP student-1-2

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