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Thursday, November 12 • 11:00 - 11:15
As if Authenticity Matters: Moving life-skills to the center of the curriculum to prepare for the VUCA World

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The Problem: Our academic based education system is not preparing youth to be confident, solutionary, and resilient. Curriculum still does not address life-skills which young adults need when they graduate high school to go out into the world. Also, life-skills are not developed in a day or at the last minute; they need to be germinated, nourished, and reinforced.
The Reason: Tests, papers, computers and homework take up most of students’ time and energy but are not engaging enough to stimulate our children to learn who they are and to help them validate themselves. The majority of education has been updated by being digitized and made more complex with corporate testing. Students are having a harder time. And privilege maintains a huge advantage.
Youth spend too much time on computer screens and with a push for technology the future does not look like it will let up.
The Result: Identity crises, stress, and externally validated youth receding into computers and phones for refuge and to customize an avatar-identity as the life they want to live, but get caught up in intense games of fame and shame.
Teachers struggle to retain the attention of students who do not have the socio-emotional skills to process their stress. Heading into a “VUCA world” – all its volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity only heightens everyone’s stress.
The Solution: An intrinsically motivating learning experience that offers endless opportunities to notice (aka “to learn”) through iteration-after-iteration of problem solving on as many self-development levels as will awaken and boost self-validation and empathy towards others.
Imagine a curriculum that offers a tested game theory merged with a social-emotional, narrative-driven framework to deploy and facilitate life-skills development, broaden subject teaching into narrative-based practicum, and expand literacy in academic skills and interpersonal skills.
If the single most important function of learning is noticing, imagine a curriculum that generates multitudes of continuous opportunities to notice things around core skills of self-development. Each skill can also be looked at through one of four lenses, or domains, of applied study and work: academic, kinesthetic, makerspace*, and social emotional. Taken separately or together there is a vast array of combinations to approach any challenge and to generate authentic opportunities for learning.
Presently, more and more people are looking for alternatives to the four-walled box education, but most are afraid to give it up entirely. Role-Playing Games (RPGs) in schools offers a complement to any curriculum. Some educators may see it as a break from the norm, a reward for students, something extra-curricular, or an activity to do after school. Others may be looking to start or add to a community, social, or mindfulness program at the school. And yet to others, it may be to try something more extreme for correctional use or explorative for behavior therapy.
I can see it being used for all of these purposes and more.
For those who are ready for a sea change in education, there is also making RPGs in school a pillar of an inter-disciplinary curriculum.

avatar for Zachary Reznichek

Zachary Reznichek

Author of the Teacher-Gamer Handbook, Teacher-Gamer
Life-skills Innovator and champion for offscreen education opportunities for all, Zach believes teachers help shape the future by bringing their passions into the classroom to inspire learners to follow their instincts and engage with mentors. With an MA in Education and experience... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 11:00 - 11:15 CET