ERIC Number: EJ1117472
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
A Reappraisal of Children's "Potential"
Beauvais, Clémentine; Higham, Rupert
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v35 n6 p573-587 Nov 2016
What does it mean for a child to fulfil his or her potential? This article explores the contexts and implications of the much-used concept of potential in educational discourses. We claim that many of the popular, political and educational uses of the term in relation to childhood have a problematic blind spot: interpersonality, and the necessary coexistence for the concept to be receivable of all children's "potentials". Rather than advocating abandoning the term--a futile gesture given its emotive force--we argue that the concept of children's potential must be profoundly rethought to be workable as a philosophical notion in education. In an era marked by the unspoken assumption that "unlimited potential" is always a good thing, we argue that it might be necessary to think about the limitations of the notion of individual potential; namely, the moment when it comes into contact with other people's projects. We propose a conceptualisation of potential as the negotiated, situated, ever-changing creation of a group of individuals, in a process marked by conflict, and which remains essentially difficult.
Descriptors: Children, Child Development, Self Actualization, Philosophy, Interpersonal Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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