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Lifeskills for the 21st Century


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Are a different set of life skills required for success in the 21st century?

Yes, because the world today is complex, information abundant and fast changing.

We start with the story of the Dragon Slayer Curriculum and the Saber Tooth Curriculum...

Published in: Education

Lifeskills for the 21st Century

  1. 1. Life Skills - for success in the 21st century An overview Th e im p or ta n ce of acq ui ri ng new li fe sk il ls th at a re re le v a n t in to day’s co n te xt
  2. 2. Dragon Slayer Curriculum Once upon a time there was a kingdom that was over run by dragons
  3. 3. Dragon Slayers Curriculum The people were terrorized by the dragons They decided to create a new course in their finest University A Masters course on the ‘Art of Dragon Slaying’
  4. 4. Dragon Slayer Curriculum Experts from all the faculties were invited to create the curriculum for the new course, Business faculty drew the syllabus on how to finance dragon slaying and to create business plans Engineering faculty made sure that students would know how to build bridges and launch missiles Humanities faculty emphasized the importance of learning ‘Dragonsay’ and ‘art of negotiation’
  5. 5. Dragon Slayer Curriculum Two years later the first batch of students graduated and set-off to slay the dragons Three of the students failed to get funding and went into other professions One team of four could not find any dragons and they formed a company to train dragon slayers The last two had no idea how to engage in a battle. They negotiated a truce and now manage the public relations for the dragon!
  6. 6. Dragon Slayer Curriculum This story is an abridged version of Dr. Roger Schank’s article “Every Curriculum Tells a Story” Dr Schank notes, “What went wrong in the dragon slaying curriculum is that there was no actual dragon slaying in it” A curriculum should encourage learners to play ‘future’ roles they hope to play in life, based on their goals and aspirations
  7. 7. Saber-Tooth Curriculum In similar vein, in the book ‘Saber-Tooth Curriculum’ author J. Abner Peddiwell, with tongue firmly in cheek, says The first educationist, in the primitive age, was ‘New-Fist’, inventor of the first fist hammer That time men caught fish with bare hands, clubbed the lazy woolly horses for meat and drove away saber-tooth tigers with fire
  8. 8. Saber-Tooth Curriculum New Fist, who was a thinker, perfected these arts and thought of ways to teach these skills to children Thus started the first school, with Saber-Tooth Curriculum Conservative members of the tribe resisted these newfangled ideas about formal education They said ‘Great Mystery’ who speaks in thunder and lightening never wanted children to be formally taught However, since these skills were very useful and brought in more food, New Fist’s school prevailed
  9. 9. Saber-Tooth Curriculum Time passed and conditions changed A great glacier crept closer to the tribe’s valley The once crystal clear streams became muddy and it became impossible to catch fish with bare hands The ground became marshy and the lazy woolly horses went east to dry plains; instead came nimble antelopes The saber-tooth tigers became extinct; to be replaced by ferocious glacial bears
  10. 10. Saber-Tooth Curriculum Putting meat on the table became extremely difficult However, a free thinker of New Fist breed figured that vines could be knit together to form nets and fish could be caught even in murky waters Another discovered that the vine could be used to form a noose to catch the elusive antelopes Yet another found that digging a deep pit in a bear trail and covering it with leaves and branches was an efficient way to trap the bears
  11. 11. Saber-Tooth Curriculum These men proposed that the Saber Tooth curriculum be replaced with a new curriculum - fish-net making, antelope-snare construction and bear catching techniques The sober majority were horrified. “What have these practical activities got to do with schools?” they said The radicals persisted, “These activities require intelligence and skill - things we claim to develop in schools” The wise old men were indignant. “Oh you free thinkers! If only you had some education yourself” they lamented...
  12. 12. Welcome to the 21st Century Have the conditions changed in the 21st century? Is the context different? Do we need new skills to survive and thrive?
  13. 13. Why the need for different life skills? 21st century world is different World is no longer complicated; it is now COMPLEX! Jigsaw is complicated - difficult to solve but has a unique solution; Chess is complex - there is no unique solution From global warming to career choices - the issues today have become complex
  14. 14. Why the need for different life skills? Rate of change is faster than ever before Information is available in abundance Memorization is neither possible nor required - technology allows easy storage and access Deriving meaning and insights from information is what is key
  15. 15. Why the need for different life skills? Motivational drives may also be changing, from ‘Learning to Earn’ (e.g. do an MBA if you want a good job) to ‘Yearning to Learn’ and then also earn (by doing what you are passionate about and good at)
  16. 16. Why the need for different life skills? Success hinges on acquiring new life skills that are relevant in today’s context. Be it, Financial Success Social Success Self-success Positive self-image, high self-esteem ‘Beyond material’ success
  17. 17. Why the need for different life skills? In today’s complex, connected, information abundant, fast changing world what skills will make us really shine? I have examined these skills in my presentation titled “What are key lifeskills?”
  18. 18. About the Author Co-founder, Co-founder, Blog:
  19. 19. About the Author Co-founder, Co-founder, Blog: for lis tening Thanks ents. ome yo ur comm I welc - Atul