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Non Scholae Sed Vitae Discimus

Prof. Gabriel Mario Rodrigues

Gabriel Mario Rodrigues, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES

“The activities of the most varied themes are brought by the teachers and each student has the autonomy to choose what interests him the most, to work in groups or alone. Thus, they can divide between the desks or even learn in the open air. “(Prof. José Pacheco – Vila das Aves School – Portugal)

I attended the elementary, junior high and high school in Santo Alberto, a school that no longer exists. Led by the Carmelites, it was between the Liberdade neighborhood and the Bela Vista neighborhood, in the city of São Paulo. Some priests taught and one of them always challenged the students to say who the author was or to translate a Latin phrase, kept in a frame in the library, with the words of the title of this article, which in free translation is: “We did not learn for school, but for life. ”

I came across an interesting and intriguing subject written by Karina Balan Julio, in Meio & Mensagem, about the School of Life, the creation by a pair of philosophers, Alain de Botton and Roman Krznaric, in London, ten years ago. The institution’s proposal is to teach timeless social skills, not as volatile as the technical skills that change with each new technology.

In a interview with Roman Krznaric, given to Karina, it is known that, with units in more than ten countries, including Brazil, since 2013, the school has been surfing the growth of the self-help industry and has conquered the corporate universe, workshops, books and intensive courses to final consumers, consulting and training for companies. And the 2019 Intensive courses of The School of Life are already scheduled for March 30-April 3.

Note that The School of Life project is by no means a college/university proposal and does not want to compete with them. It has another purpose: to be a school for life with its workshops offered to clients and companies with classes on professional objectives, resilience, happiness and sociability, among others. As they say, soft skills for a connected and troubled world. All due to the collective weakening of social skills, due to social networks, and the need to rescue them with the advance of artificial intelligence.

The institution has adopted this niche whose mission is “to help people live the life they want, not the life that others want for them,” says David Baker, in an interview with Rafael Carvalho of the www.napratica.org.br site . How? By giving support and guiding students in small, experimental steps outside their comfort zones. For Baker, education, in essence, is the celebration of curiosity, which must be practiced during ones lifetime.

Numerous times, according to him (and to the theories of creativity …), the best ideas come together when completely different ideas from completely different disciplines come together.

The discussion can go a long way on the effectiveness and formative reality of students in higher education, where they can not always break the challenges encountered throughout their personal and career lives. Unlike School of Life’s aims to develop emotional intelligence through culture and teach its students to live well, offering free classes often on unusual subjects, and that do not pretend to target a specific audience. Thus, there is no prior training as a requirement. According to Baker, the school is geared towards anyone who is interested in living a fuller, more fulfilling and true life.

Therefore, the courses are not oriented directly by disciplines (philosophy, psychology, art, history …), but by the questions and reflections that are part of our daily life: ‘How to balance personal life and work’, ‘How to choose a partner ‘,’ How to be more creative ‘and’ How to make better decisions’ are some of the lessons available.

I have a habit of reflecting and taking my interlocutors to discussions about inventiveness, creativity, entrepreneurship as a form of innovation. We are surrounded by technology and we live in a world in which it is often seen as the most important thing. But what about our emotional intelligence? How has technology changed our relationship with others and with the world?

Botton and Krznaric with their School of Life want to get people to learn about relationships or talk about difficult topics such as achievement at work and even death. Their input was to teach things that are life skills, seeking to embrace universal topics. It was something like gathering hunger with the urge to eat.

According to them (and Baker), curiosity is the competence that brings more strength to someone. It is the ability to look around, investigate, explore and discover new things, not be mono-thematic, but have diverse interests and, above all, autonomy. This is the key to survival in a world in constant and accelerating change that requires adaptability/resilience of professionals.

In the interview for “Meio & Mensagem”, Krznaric opens the game about creativity:
“I believe that one of the great misfortunes of the Renaissance and the culture we have created over the last 5,000 years is the idea that you are born creative and that Michelangelo, for example, was born with a genetic or divine gift. This idea is a disaster, because it makes people stop being creative, stop wanting to draw, paint or sing and have ideas, for example. In the late 1960s the proposal that creativity could be taught became popular. I agree with that and I think you can nurture creativity over time. But at the same time, I also see that creativity is about spontaneity. Nowadays we base our lives on calendars and electronic calendars a great deal, and that prevents us from being more inventive. ”

For him, and consequently for School of Life, the idea that work must have purpose is new in many respects. The pursuit of this purpose occurs when the culture of valuing it (purpose) in its environment (of work) began.

According to Krznaric,
“It is no surprise that formal education in schools and universities does not account for all the challenges we encounter throughout our personal lives and careers. It was with the intention of filliing that gap that te School of Life has emerged, a school that aims to develop emotional intelligence through culture and teach its students to live well. ”

And the reader is wondering: so what? What profit can the university take from the School’s experience?

I believe it is an immersion in emotional intelligence, ideal for those who seek transformations and changes in courses with more meaning. As this ability to recognize and deal with feelings, both yours and those of the people with whom you live, is not directly related to our intellectual side, knowing how to use it makes us emotionally apt for social interaction in the most diverse situations.

Thinking twice before making a decision, being empathetic with a colleague who thinks differently, receiving and absorbing feedbacks fairly are some of the skills that must be encouraged in order for one to achieve the development of soft skills.

Today, more than ever, the Latin phrase of Seneca, one of the most celebrated lawyers, writers and intellectuals of the Roman Empire, is prophetic. Our mission is to prepare the student for life.
[1] David Baker, author and former editor of the famous English magazine Wired, is also co-founder of the School of Life in Brazil, which has units in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.