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What is Passion Arena all about?

When it comes to education, everyone can agree it’s a worthwhile endeavour. Where we start to disagree, however, is on the specific content that should be taught, or the method by which to teach it.

It is our belief that the best education should balance standard schooling topics (such as math, languages, science etc.) with broader but less typically taught skills that allow students to achieve the best possible outcomes from their life. The education experts refer to these as non-cognitive skills, but many of us refer to them as life skills. 

Passion Arena provides a platform to ensure that young students have the opportunity to learn these valuable habits and skills. We've created a range of content (which we'll continue to expand) that introduces students to a wide range of ideas and concepts, and then provides simple exercises that allow them to try the ideas out, and see which ones work best for them. Along the way they'll gain a greater understanding of who they are as individuals, and what is most important to them.

Helping students to achieve successful outcomes in life is the sole purpose of our platform.

Why is it needed?

Education is slow to move and transform, and like it or not, the model of education currently offered has difficulty in keeping pace with the changing landscapes outside of institutionalised learning.

In his 2006 TED talk “How schools kill creativity” education expert Sir Ken Robinson made this statement:                             

 

“If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue, despite all the expertise that's been on parade for the past four days, what the world will look like in five years' time. And yet we're meant to be educating them for it.”                                                  

 

We are trying to educate the next generations in the same or similar ways to how we’ve always done it - or at least for the last 100 years or so. Yet we have no clear idea about what we’re educating them for. We need an education solution that teaches our younger generations skills that will prove beneficial regardless of what the future looks like.

Additionally, the employment opportunities that previous generations have enjoyed may cease to exist, or be severely limited for generations starting school now. Consider this simple model of how workforce requirements aligned to jobs in the past:

 Employment distribution in the 20th century

Employment distribution in the 20th century

 Education output by employment type in the 20th century

Education output by employment type in the 20th century

In these models you can see that the typical distribution of grades (or success) through high-school correlates reasonably well with the needs of employers. But this employment model is rapidly changing. Robotics and automation are removing many of the labour jobs that were filled by most of the population, while computers and artificial intelligence is rapidly changing industry's requirement for Information Processing roles. Consider this quote from Khan Academy founder Salman Khan when talking about just this problem:

 

“Even though our aggregate productivity is increasing, those bottom two layers are getting collapsed”   

 

What does this mean for the role of todays educators? If we are facing a revised employment model, can our education system deliver greater outcomes to meet the increased demands of industry?

 Is this the employment distribution model we're heading for?

Is this the employment distribution model we're heading for?

 Can we improve education outcomes to meet a changed employment model?

Can we improve education outcomes to meet a changed employment model?

We believe that if our employment needs have been flipped on their head (or at least are heading rapidly that way), then we need to support our schools and educational institutions to meet this challenge head on. The development of Passion Arena is our attempt to do just that. It's not a complete solution by any means, but we hope it's a big step in the right direction. 

Why are we called Passion Arena?

You may be wondering how we came up with the name Passion Arena. In creating and expanding on the idea that became Passion Arena, we were regularly reminded of two of our favourite quotes. The first is from The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick:

 

“To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality”

 

The second is from American President Theodore Roosevelt, and is an excerpt from his speech titled ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France in 1910. This section of that speech has come to be known as ‘The Man in the Arena’ quote:

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 

The aim of our programme is to help students reach their potential by teaching them the non-cognitive skills that can help them achieve any success they seek. We believe that success is born from passion, but we also believe that success cannot be achieved until you ‘actually strive to do the deeds’. We intend to give students the tools they need to have the best possible chance of achieving success.

We hope you'll join us.