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Life Skills - for success in

the 21st century


An overview

Th e im p or ta n ce of a cq ui ri n g n ew li fe sk il ls
th at a re re le v a n t in to day’s co n te xt
www.TimelessLifeskills.co.uk
Dragon Slayer Curriculum

Once upon a time there was a kingdom that was


over run by dragons

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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’

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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’

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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!

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Dragon Slayer Curriculum

This story is an abridged version of Dr. Roger


Schank’s article “Every Curriculum Tells a Story”
http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0395.html

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

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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?

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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?”

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About the Author

Co-founder, www.TimelessLifeskills.co.uk

Co-founder, www.EnablingDimensions.com

Blog: http://atulpant.blogspot.com

r e a d i n g.
s f or
Thank u r c o m m en t s .
o m e y o
I welc
- Atul

www.TimelessLifeskills.co.uk

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