By Mr. Daniel Trump,
Diploma Programme Coordinator,
I was so incredibly inspired and impressed by the students who spoke at the March for Our Lives, anti-gun rally in Washington on Saturday 24th March 2018 (if you haven’t heard their speeches I urge you to watch them). Many of these young people are students at the high school in Florida where the mass shooting took place on 14th February 2018 in which 17 students were killed.
The students at the rally spoke with clarity, conviction and precision. They held themselves with dignity and made their case clearly, as they urge us to make changes for the better. In the face of the most horrific circumstances they are not cowed by structures of authority and power, they’ve decided to make things better for themselves. They’re not waiting for change to be done to them, and they’re not waiting for someone else to make the changes for them. They’re going to make the changes themselves. As Ghandi said “be the change that you want to be”.
The Florida students exemplify all that we want to see in our own young people at KIS, they exemplify all of the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. The attributes include being Committed Communicators, who are Caring, Balanced, but are also Risk Takers. It is an opportune moment to remind ourselves of the Mission of The International Baccalaureate:
“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
A demonstrable way to “create a better and more peaceful world” is organising and campaigning for fewer guns in society, just as the Florida students are doing. There are many other ways to fulfil this aim, and in our everyday lives in the DP at KIS we most directly work towards this aim by doing Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS), Theory of Knowledge (ToK) and The Extended Essay (EE).
ToK develops the critical thinking skills necessary to identify better knowledge and understanding.
EE develops the skills to produce that better knowledge.
CAS develops the skills to put that better knowledge into action in the real world.
We see our KIS students undertake these core programmes with remarkable enthusiasm and commitment. In this last year I have seen ToK students dissect the causes of damaging knowledge systems such as homophobia, misogyny and racism. I’ve read Extended Essays on a wide range of topics such as the positive benefits of bilingualism, the need for environmentally sustainable architecture and the importance of storytelling in the formation of identity. I have seen incredible CAS activities such as students performing on stage (showing confidence and creativity), students engaged in service learning, and the KISCO fair trade coffee company (which also happens to be the best coffee available in the world - see Kiara in G11 to place your order).
CAS is the crowning glory of the IB Diploma, it’s the most challenging of all our courses, and it’s the course which will bring the greatest benefits to the student, and the world in which they live. It may often seem like the exam score given at the end of the Diploma is the measure of the quality of the Diploma, but this is very much a short term illusion. In the years to come it’s the qualities of personality and character developed during a student’s CAS programme which will make them who they are. Another tempting illusion is the idea that it is the university which a student attends that will most influence their success in life. However, scientific research shows that it is the personality qualities that they take with them from school which determines their success far more than the university that they attend (see the first chapter of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than EQ by Daniel Goleman to see research findings from graduates of Harvard University).
The Florida students have already started to show the way for their generation, they’ve changed themselves and now they’re changing their world. However, they’re not just role models for our students, they’re role models for all of us, they’re role models for our very humanity. They’ve put out the warm hand of humanity to us, are we strong enough to take it ?
“Mission.” International Baccalaureate®, International Baccalaureate, www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/mission/.