Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 461–472 | Cite as

Educational Practice and Development of Human Capabilities

Mediations of the Student–Teacher Relation at the Interpersonal and Institutional Level


When you enrol as a student you are assigned a ‘place’ in education. This assignment will gradually imply an assessment of you as a human being. We argue that these are processes taking place in educational practice. In our orientation in educational research an orientation towards a theory of action has been inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. In our search for an educational practice that could describe what it is that makes the student a capable human being we continue in the spirit of Ricoeur. The text is divided in two parts. In the first part, Basic Capabilities in Education, we are asking: Who is the student if education is the process where the student learns to be a capable human being? We try to answer this with the help of Ricoeur’s phenomenology of the capable human being which is structured around the capacity to speak, to act, to tell and finally to impute. In the second part, Institutional Mediations of Capabilities in Education, we try to show how the transmission of the human capacities to an actualization through education at an institutional level, represented by the teacher, is necessary. If the student shall become a capable human being s/he has to have conditions for actualizations of her capacities. A paradigm for this is found in the process of assigning and assessing in education.


Phenomenology Practice Education Institution Capabilities Relation Identity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesFinnmark University CollegeAltaNorway
  2. 2.TrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Program for Teacher EducationNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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