Saturday, 19 September 2015


What comes next?

I made the following brief note yesterday for another purpose. Today it seems a lost opportunity not to post it here to see whether it excites comment...
  • Abilities are what one can do now, unaided, without further teaching and learning, at the 'level of present ability'
  • Potential is what one can learn to do now, given optimal appropriate teaching, including teaching positive motivation and attitude, at the 'level of potential development'
The two should never be confused.

Potential can be 'assessed' only by teaching, and thereby starting a dynamic process. What works best to achieve this will be determined only through what is tried. And when that has been successfully incorporated, seeing what can be taught and learned on the basis of these new mental structures.

It is misleading to say 'fulfill somebody's potential' as if potential were existing 'fruit' waiting to be plucked (Vygotskii's allusion). It can be assessed only through intervening, through doing something to teach, and is not ripe till this brings it into being.

Conductive pedagogy is directed to creating the tomorrow of development, not to its yesterday.


  1. Whether fulfilling, reaching or unlocking, I am at a loss to understand how the notion of potential, however, defined contributes anything to my understanding of pedagogy. It seems to me to be a relic term from a whole different era of understanding (still sadly widespread).

  2. My punctuation above should, of course be "... notion of potential, however defined, contributes ..."