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Siete aprendizajes fundamentales
Sete aprendizagens fundamentais
* Doctor en Ciencias Sociales y magíster en Educación de la Universidad Javeriana; especialista en Docencia Uni-
versitaria; Economista, de la Universidad Militar Nueva Granada. Profesor de tiempo completo de la Facultad de
Educación y Humanidades de la Universidad Militar Nueva Granada y líder del grupo de investigación Cultura y De-
sarrollo Humano. Correo electrónico:
** Abogado de la Universidad Militar Nueva Granada. Docente del Centro de Idiomas, de la Universidad Militar Nueva
Granada. Correo electrónico:
*** This paper relates to the theoretical framework in the research Trayectorias laborales intergeneracionales y perspec-
tivas sobre el trabajo docente universitario en Colombia (labor intergenerational trajectories and a subsequent pers-
pective on the university teaching work in Colombia), financed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research of the
Nueva Granada Military University; dated February of 2014 and to be published in February 2015

58 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

Cómo citar este artículo: Cabrales Salazar, O. y Centeno, V. (2015). Seven fundamental learnings. Revista de Educación y Desarrollo
Social, 9(2), 58-73.

ABSTRACT will let them surf freely through this ocean of knowl-
edge. To begin with, we have based this discussion
This paper states arguments on the matter of
on the four basic learnings addressed by Jacques
discussing which the seven basic learnings that are
Delors: learning how to “know”, learning how to
suggested by the current educational trends are.
“do”, learning how to “live”, learning how to behave
Through this document, there will be mentions of
in a social context; all of which are joined in such
the abilities and skills that would allow the students
way that they become a single “overall experience”
to discern what kind of information they should use
that seeps in through life, at all levels, and to which
so as to perform ideally in an ever changing world.
three new skills are added in consideration of what
Due to the vast information available nowadays,
the student should develop in the XXI Century.
and due to the many –and easy- ways one could
acquire any kind of it, the teacher will have to play Key terms: Basic learnings, creativity, self-ac-
a major role in having students develop skills that knowledgment, meta-cognition

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 59
RESUMEN disponível e à multiplicidade de formatos em que
já podem encontrá-la, vai ser tarefa primordial do
El artículo argumenta al respecto de cuáles educador desenvolver em seus alunos as habili-
son los siete aprendizajes fundamentales que se dades que lhes permitam navegar com idoneida-
sugieren para tener en cuenta en la educación de nesse vazio das correntes de informação. A
del siglo XXI. Se mencionan las habilidades y partir dos quatro “aprendizagens fundamentais”
competencias que les permitan a los estudiantes ou quatro pilares da educação que Jacques Delo-
discernir sobre qué tipo de información deberán rs propõe: aprender a conhecer, aprender a fazer,
usar para desempeñarse en mundo en perma- aprender a viver juntos e aprender a ser, às que se
nente cambio. Debido a la gran cantidad de in- acrescentam três novas competências enquanto
formación disponible y a la multiplicidad de for- ao ser, de forma que se tornem uma “experiência
matos en que pueden ya encontrarla, será tarea global” que permeiam toda a vida do estudante.
primordial del educador desarrollar en sus dis-
Palavras-chave: aprendizagens fundamentais,
centes las habilidades que les permitan navegar
criatividade, autoconhecimento, metacognição.
con idoneidad en ese vacío de las corrientes in-
formativas. Se parte, de los cuatro “aprendizajes
fundamentales” o cuatro pilares de la educación
que Jacques Delors propone: Aprender a cono- LEARNING HOW TO “KNOW”
cer, aprender a hacer, aprender a vivir juntos y
aprender a ser, a las que se le suman tres nuevas But that which is inherent to mankind is
competencias en cuanto al ser, de tal forma que the development of a representative in-
se conviertan en una “experiencia global” que telligence and the power conveyed by
permee toda la vida del estudiante. such to reproduce the concrete universe
throughout a symbolic one; enabling one
Palabras claves: aprendizajes fundamentales,
to substitute real actions with structurally
creatividad, autoconocimiento, metacognición.
identical activities; this way having the lat-
ter take place in the Universe of symbols
and, hence, in less onerous and much
RESUMO more flexible conditions.
O artigo argumenta sobre quais são as sete Louis Not
aprendizagens fundamentais que são sugeridos
para ser considerados na educação do século
XXI. São mencionadas as aptidões e competên- To learn how to “know” is the first of the above
cias que lhes permitam aos estudantes discernir mentioned skills that, in a certain way, Jacques
sobre que tipos de informação devem usar para Delors (1996) has helped us elucidate as a priority
desempenhar-se num mundo em constante mu- in the education of the Future. It is with this kind
dança. Devido à grande quantidade de informação of learning that we mention the ability to discern

60 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

what is to be wrought in the student, alongside It has to be taught that the ability to think can
the self-acknowledgment and the tools to reach be permanently developed, urging our brains to
it. In this sense, the knowledge that helps us iden- exercise by following elemental procedures un-
tify and use learning and the recognition of instru- der a new process perspective and demanding a
ments given by it, should be a part of the daily higher concentration and metacognition level. Sci-
experience. Not only including the indiscriminate licet, it has to be explained to the students how to
accumulation of information, but the development carry out these processes of awareness by self-
of tools that will enable the student to select and evaluating their learning pace.
validate such information, will be a relevant factor People who think, reflect about their functions,
in their intellectual and professional performance, their capacities, and their potential. They devel-
encouraging sound judgment and autonomy. op the ability to differentiate concepts, to be self-
These factors will contribute to the formation of taught students, and to control their own impulses;
a general culture that, to the extent of its focus and they have the chance to be optimistic, to improve
coverage, will also allow its expansion towards a themselves continuously; motivating others.
great amplitude of disciplines in the “Global Village”. That is why a deep learning of languages
To learn how to “know” also implies the exercising has to be reinforced through the whole educa-
of memory, attention, and focus and the develop- tional experience; being such the main mean of
ment of the structured thinking. In a society invad- communication for concepts and ideas. Lan-
ed by mass media, the student will have to develop guage is the main tool through which thought
the capacity to focus and to organize his/her brain is deployed; including the cognitive and meta-
functions so as to exercise this kind of thinking; be- cognitive skills development on elemental pro-
coming aware of one’s cerebral capabilities. cedures when aiming at grasping and applying
In that sense, it is necessary to have the stu- knowledge into logic-verbal reasoning for the
dent understand the importance of language as construction of strategies that facilitate the so-
a constitutive cultural patrimony as well as under- lution of structured problems.
standing the human role as the only concrete lan- It is common today to talk of a crisis, the world
guage thinker; for it is only the human kind the one discusses the existence of a humongous breach
in which this necessary attributes have been trans- between teachers and newly introduced Univer-
lated into actual words. As it is stated by Profes- sity students. It is due to the persistent ignorance
sor Francisco Cajiao (2003) “language is, then, the of language and the proper use of it through to-
crucial point of human experience, and its domain day’s technology. “There is a countless num-
and use make up the possibility for individual and ber of indicators that point to the complexity of
collective progress; for all which is human requires this crisis, including the growing difficulties when
a language –of any kind- to be structured amongst teaching a juvenile culture, raised among the ma-
the minds of people and within the social network nipulation of visual cybernetic and media sym-
in which things acquire their meaning” (s. p.). bols, how to read and write” (Torres, 2001, p. 43),

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 61
and not by teaching them through the use of nearby them; whilst some of us, the “digital immi-
phonemes, the alphabet, the words; through the grants”, have had to hardly, and badly, learn, with
use of properly written texts. certain disdain and sometimes from our students
themselves, how to cope with such new tools.
As it is stated by the same author:
Likewise, it is also important to train the
There is a profound crisis in the under-
teacher in the use and appropriation of new tech-
standing of the pedagogical object. That,
nologies, having University level education en-
which could be named as an endemic cri-
courage the impulse to remain a learner for as
sis of systems, evidenced in a real and
long as we remain living (Aspinwall, Staudinger,
symbolic dislocation between the mes-
2007). This type of learning understood, as ex-
sages of teachers and students and, by
plained by the European Union, as:
the same way, evidencing a dislocation
between the messages of the new gener- The development of the human potential
ations (what has been called the ´Nintendo in people through a constant support pro-
generation´) and the adult generations cess that encourages and trains our learn-
(Torres, 2001, p. 43). ing subjects to acquire knowledge, values,
skills, and the understanding of things that
are to be necessary so as to become able
Before such circumstances, it is necessary for to apply them freely and in a creative and
teachers to stop regretting the literacy difficulties joyful way; no matter the role, circumstanc-
of their students; for it is a fact that the previous es and environments they see themselves in
generations, perhaps more stable and more fond throughout their life (Longworth, 2011, p. 4).
to long readings, is not coming back; and there is
no point in trying to keep on educating students
into a context that is now almost extinct; a context LEARNING HOW TO
of which teachers still feel nostalgic, a context in KNOW YOURSELF
which the speech and the oratory, alongside writ-
The first approach made to this topic was
ing, were the base for learning; a context where
done by Foucault, through self-care and ex-
certain life codes were only accessible once peo-
plained as follows:
ple reached adulthood. That is why it is, not only
highly irrelevant, but stubborn, to persist on edu- In the first place, it is a general attitude, a
cating our students’ literacy for a world that is not way of behaving in regard of oneself, the
coming back for, if it is possible in today’s soci- others and the world. It is a determined
ety to “triumph” by learning from different sourc- form of attention; a certain perspec-
es and interpreting different kinds of language; tive. To worry about yourself implies that
for which the young have better predispositions you displace your sight from the exterior
and skills due to they having been born and raised world and into the inner one; it designs a

62 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

way of acting that relates to the self and interpretation, a reading that characterizes
through which one can be modified, puri- the indirect access to the inner self. The
fied, transformed and transfigured. It also subject will reach the experience and the
implies a “corpus” that defines a certain knowledge of the self through a reflective
way of being, an attitude, which turns it movement, a comeback to oneself, based
into an extraordinarily important phenom- on a long trip mediated by the others; by
ena for the history of the practices of sub- the narrative and the world (p. 40).
jectivity” (Foucault, 1994, p. 35).

By reaching the knowledge of the self, the con-

Socrates was one of the first to urge the an- scious of such is developed; that understood as:
cient Greeks to start a self-acknowledgment pro-
The ability to feel and perceive, a fasci-
cess. Deprived of a holy book, the Greeks were
nating competence, real and natural, as
forced to become exegetic analysts; as men-
it is strongly bond to life, behavior, and
tioned by Cuadros: “the lack of a holy book: the
the physiology of the more developed,
fact of one having to live without being prescribed
brain given, organisms; particularly, the
some specific desires and hopes, led them to
human brain, whose main traits are: tem-
better interpret both, themselves and their world.
porality, activity, content, unity and qual-
That “lack of knowledge, the non-existent pre-
ity; being based on the classic “mind as
scription of a truth led them to become herme-
a stream” metaphor by William James
neutic thinkers of their selves” (Cuadros, 2009).
(Diaz, 2008, p. 15).
Foucault (1994) states it as follows: The subject
is not substance per se. It is a form of it and, as
such, it is not always the same […], what matters Self-acknowledgment transcends the mere
to the discussion is, precisely, the historical con- knowledge of the self, for it refers to the evolu-
stitution of these different forms of the subject in tion of the inner conscience; in the sense that it is
relation to the game of truth. The latter implies a connected to a superior –divine, if pleased- con-
thorough knowledge of the self, focusing on the science; giving the person, and for the particular
truth and recording a detailed inventory of what case, the student, a sense of security and trust
has been. According to Saravia (2009), Ricoeur not given by any other competence.
expresses it in the following way:
Developing the conscience of the self, is the
For Ricoeur, the subject cannot be experi- ability to get to have a certain acknowledgment
enced in an immediate way –as it has been for the individual as different and opposed to
stated- unlike the Cartesian Cogitos that, most external realities, as well as recognizing it
as we think, is founded as the first truth. as the author of any executed thought when so
Access to oneself occurs through the long perceived. In summary, it is the ability to identi-
and poetic way, scilicet, it undergoes an fy oneself as an individual subject, which implies

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 63
having a deep knowledge of what one is and oneself is an attitude rewarding for the individ-
who one is (Cabrales, 2010). Heidegger, as writ- ual one and the others, as well as being itself a
ten in his letter to humanism, warns that the hu- relationship with the universe. Having students
man being must only be thought of in the exis- learn about the importance of caring for oneself
tent relationship between the being and the inner allows them to circumscribe that part in them
self, he stated that it is the man the one who lis- that defines their position in time (now and to-
tens to this self, and that it is not by the individ- morrow), also getting them to set a certain per-
ual means that one can grasp one’s destiny but, sonality in relation with moral accomplishment;
otherwise, by becoming true to the self thereby they reach control, they transform themselves;
revealed (Heidegger, 2000, pp, 259-297). they perfect themselves.

Scilicet, the concept of self-acknowledgment As stated by Moll (2014):

is understood as the “faculty of the mind to reg-
The more conscience your students ac-
ister its processes and recreate a depiction of its
quire, the higher the degree of indepen-
related organism” (Diaz, 2008, p. 15), which surg-
dence they will gain; displaying a better
es from the thorough exercise of introspection,
ability for decision making and conflict
from the focus of conscience to the inner self; al-
solving. Furthermore, they will be enabled
lowing the student to augment any existent self-
to solve their own conflicts by them-
acknowledgment as in the proper care for the self
selves for the degree of self-confidence
and for the surrounding community, for which it is
thereby reached will be much higher, as
important to become aware of oneself, of one’s
will be their self-perception and self-es-
physical and spiritual particularity, for that de-
teem. When you educate a student, not
mands the ontological knowledge of the individu-
from knowledge, but from the responsi-
al being, the others and of one’s reality.
bility implied by that knowledge, you are
Foucault (1994) mentioned the “care for making them become more independent
oneself” when trying to explain the techniques, and, hence, more free; for their ability to
procedures and ends that an ethical subject choose will also be better. Do not forget
may constitute in a certain introspective rela- that students will never improve by having
tionship. He began by addressing the care for them follow your commands; a command
oneself as the basic principle for ethical reason- is not able to create choice, while a per-
ability and at the same time the necessary con- sonal responsibility is (s. p.).
ditions for philosophy, as knowledge and as a
way of living. “Philosophy is the group of prin-
ciples and practices which with one can count
and that can be put to the service of society so What we pretend with this concept is to go
as to care properly of oneself and others” (Fou- beyond the formation for employment most uni-
cault, 1994, p. 61). As it can be seen, caring for versities are now dedicated to. The constant

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Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

change in developed and developing econo- Aiming at those effects, it is necessary to devel-
mies -being every time turned towards an in- op in our students the basic or transversal compe-
crease in the productivity of machines and to- tences, as well as considering this competence ap-
wards the ability of improving their production, proach as a consolidated and attractive alternative
distribution, and sales cycles- has set the pace created to promote University education so that it,
in the process of unhurriedly replacing human altogether, harmonizes the needs of people, the in-
workforce with machines (Gorz, 1991; Offe, dustry, and society; setting a new paradigm in the
1985; Rifkin, 2004). The great employment cri- existing relationship between the Education and
ses serve as an exhibit for that phenomena. Ed- Production systems in which certain consequenc-
ucation must then set its focus on the creation es, regarding the areas of labor market and human
of entrepreneurship and new employment and, resources management, are set towards their im-
above all, it shall conceive self-employment as provement. Some of the most basic competenc-
a viable alternative. The trend of intellectualizing es would be: conflict solving, information man-
labor demands a modification in the education- agement, teamwork, oral communication, written
al structures so that students develop self-con- communication, critical thinking, analytical thinking,
trol and discipline, so they learn and unlearn by and lateral thinking; among others.
themselves, becoming competitive sailors in an
ever changing world.

To learn how to “do” also implies the devel-

opment of generic competences, for the simple
idea of a competent professional as the one who Before the grudging of indifference and of
possesses the necessary knowledge and skills some of the violence generating factors, edu-
that permit them perform successfully in a cer- cation must be conceived so as to encourage
tain profession has been left behind and has knowledge and respect to others, their culture,
been understood as the comprehension of the and their transcendence. This must include re-
personal competence as a complex phenome- spect towards those different forms without ever
non, which assesses the potentialities of an in- trying to change them, promoting the capacities
dividual to direct their actions within the exercise to understand and recognize the other from the
of a profession with initiative, flexibility and au- alterity; as another human being in the Universe.
tonomy, in heterogenic and diverse scenarios, Such is the philosophical view of Emmanuel Lévi-
based on the integration of knowledge, abilities, nas, whose work claimed ethics (in the study of
motives, and values that are evidenced in an effi- respect and the recognition of the other, where it
cient, ethic, and socially committed professional is founded on the personal encounter had with the
performance. In the words of Delors (1996), it is proximal individuals; and the responsibility born
not enough to know and to know how to do, it is from it; even before one becomes aware of their
also necessary to be professional. own existence) as the original philosophy.

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 65
Levinas will propose that we rethink our others, such are entirely different to us. It
view of philosophy; looking at it not as the was like this that Levinas proposed a hu-
fraternal love for wisdom, but otherwise, manism directed to another man, a man
as wisdom being born from love. For ev- responsible of the other (Gil, 2007, s. p.).
erything which defines the human being is
not the being per se, nor the interest on it,
but the disinterest itself. Hence, we are to In such way, we can conclude that alterity itself
distance from the traditional thought of a is a fundamental attribute in the exercise of teach-
cogitos, the system of the established and ing, for it leads to the student learning about the
the logic, for these terms shaped the west- circumstances of respect that must be inserted
ern lifestyle and the way it was thought to amongst any human relationship and, furthermore,
its current state, and recreate a philoso- the condition of vulnerability and defenselessness
phy based on difference for the being itself that other human beings have been thrown to by
is not the most important concept, whilst the neoliberal economy system. This sensibility will
the true difference between one another is make it more viable to learn how to live together.
(Gil, 2007, s. p.). Alongside the previously mentioned compe-
tences, being capable of generating an integral
development in the student, promoting his or her
That alterity, according to Levinas, consists cognitive, professional, disciplinary and human
on the acknowledgment of the other to its fullest; skills, and develop them so as to learn how to har-
for I can only exist once I am named and rec- monically live together. The acknowledgement
ognized by someone else. This kind of thought given to the other promotes affection within the
must start, as previously seen, from knowledge surrounding individuals; this serves as an addi-
itself; where the main role of the University will tional element in the teacher-student relationship.
be to ease the young student the ability to ac-
Human affection is one of the most relevant
quire self-acknowledgment, meaning, to help
studies addressed by the positive psychology. It
him discover who he or she really is; being plac-
has awakened a great interest in the scientific re-
es in the position of others, understanding their
search areas within the pedagogics in the later
reactions and needs.
years, in fact, some trends state this to be inte-
That is why we should worry about each grated to knowledge, motivation, and neurophysi-
other and see them as someone we face, ological functioning themselves. Opposite of the
for, every other way, my existence is owed perception had prior to such trends, which always
to the responsibility of one another for considered affection and cognition to be antago-
we are the result of someone else’s care. nistic and, naturally, different, for it was, and has
Thanks to that, we can feel non-substi- been, widely thought that these were compre-
tutable because, even though there are hended by separated brain channels.

66 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

Recent research have shown that affection

has a positive effect on cognition and has indicat-
ed that an emotionally healthy can greatly provide
thought, creativity and learning developments
with benefits. One being the ability to activate the
capacities that lie underneath innovation and cre-
ativity; the ability to solve conflicts and, indubita- Language is the
bly, the ability to provide solutions for the more
general troubles (Isen, 2007).
main tool through
Researchers such as Alice Isen (2007)
which thought is
have managed to document evidence that deployed; including
suggests that positive affection would, not the cognitive and
only, improve the development of innova-
tion and problem solving skills, through the
use of creativity, but furthermore, it would skills development
help the individual organize memories, pro- on elemental
moting cognitive optimization processes
for the sake of such improvements. For in-
procedures when
stance, the studies have shown that people aiming at grasping
who count with a certain degree of positive and applying
affection, can be attentive to more alterna-
tives when looking for a solution within the
knowledge into
context of a certain problem; such an indi- logic-verbal
vidual would try to find more solutions to reasoning for the
the more difficult adversities, counting with
a broader criteria system when making
construction of
decisions, so as to obtain safer and more strategies that
pleasant results, and being capable of un- facilitate the solution
dergoing negotiating processes in which
integration is required, also, it becomes of structured
more plausible that the individual would be problems.
interested in negotiations beyond the eco-
nomic aspect; even beyond the concept of
a compensation; motivated by otherness,
thinking in a more flexible, open, way about
others (Cabrales, 2010, p. 251).

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Love and affection are topics that psychology Being, as the act of being per se, relates
still isn´t prone to consider as a rigorous discipline; to the human condition of corporeity, thus it
although the latest trends in the fields of scientif- is set by the fact that we possess a body that
ic production on human potential have agreed on comes from the Earth, from which the attribute
the importance that these feelings have when re- of earthliness is born. It can then be said that
ferring the development of intelligence and happi- “we are ludic beings captured in a chrysalis
ness of students: there is no motivation more ef- made of cocoons containing the whole of ex-
fective, determining, and definite than love itself, istence in the Universe” (Jimenez, 2008), which
the affection projected towards other human be- implies that we inherently carry the essence of
ings and, fundamentally, the one projected to- life, Earth, and existence.
wards students (Aspinwall and Staudinger, 2007).
Quoting Zambrano may suit the closure of
this appendix best, for as he said “The word hu-
man has its etymological roots in the Latin voice
humus meaning Earth, and the term culture has
In a world of constant change and suffering its own in the word cultivare meaning to grow, or
of a high dehumanization level, freedom is only to cultivate the soil. Humanity, let it be said, is the
attained through the liberty of the soul, and such cultivated humus, which would etymologically be
liberty is only conquered upon the conscience then related to the word civilization, meaning that
of oneself. This implies that one is to have the humanity would be in the process of moving from
deep and confident conviction that belonging to the cultivated soil towards the urbanized lands;
the human species, means belonging to the only civitas” (Zambrano, 2007).
specie known to mankind capable of defining the
fate of many other life forms; something both, ter-
rifying and exceptional. TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE
In that sense, as members of the only life known As important as media and technology are
(for now) to inhabit within this Universe, this Earth, today, for they provide the student with the tools
it is necessary that the student realizes that we are needed to be creative and create, it is necessary
all to remain amongst the essence of this planet to help students develop the abilities required for
and the Universe itself for, as does our conscience, creation processes through the use of schemes of
the Universe is ever-expanding; ever-transforming. thought expansion and contraction, mind activa-
It is inside us that it, and all that exists, survives; it tion techniques used to stimulate the production
is inside us that we find our origins; infinity. We, as of original and non-conventional ideas, and lateral
humans, are to understand that as long as we do thought schemes to design concrete and abstract
not feel connected to this existence we are being products and, finally, help them develop the abil-
shaped in and are bond to this infinite Universe, we ity to apply the concepts and procedures learned
will not cease to destroy the world we live in. throughout their University and daily life.

68 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

The development of nations within the cur- presented and innovational methods can be de-
rent context of globalization, is based on signed; so they “think out of the box” and dear
the creative and innovative capacities of break the traditional schemes.
their men. The changes that have been
We have, in example, the concept of “lateral
lived through the past decade by the en-
thinking” devised by De Bono (2008), which is
terprising companies are the result of de-
defined as the group of thinking methods that
cisions made by capable leaders who
allow the student to transform knowledge, gen-
were determined to promote innovation
erate different points of view and increase the
and creativity as tools for progress. The
levels of creative production. It gathers a certain
need of such capabilities within compa-
group of theories on “divergent thinking”, which
nies is becoming evident for the reason
are far from obvious and complicated to apply
that they allow them to reduce costs, time,
under the perspective of a traditional logic. This
and the amount of other resources invest-
kind of thinking is concentrated in producing
ed in favor of optimal production and dis-
new ideas and in putting our perspectives un-
tribution; they make planning, organizing,
der the lens of change. It is known that our brain
directing, and controlling effective prac-
addresses faced problems in a rational way, it
tices; meaning they enable a company to
simply is the way we have been taught to do so,
fulfill its objectives. They all constitute fun-
remaining a dominant trend in the western cul-
damental elements for the success of a
ture. De Bono, then, sets a difference between
business venture, which, in the end, bene-
the creative and the reactive thinking. The lat-
fits consumers, users, and citizens in gen-
er, in which he considers the most part of west-
eral (Castillo, 2005, s. p.).
ern tradition is based on, consists of dialoguing
and dialectic argumentation, and where the us-
ages are aimed at being able of replying to an in-
It seems that crises force people, fami-
terlocutor; they do so, however, no intending to
lies and companies to find solutions for their
produce ideas, as does the creative thinking in
problems. When they see their resources grow
which the production of ideas can result without
scarce, the economic entities have to make de-
the need of argumentation.
cisions so as to being able to cope with the ex-
treme circumstances and remain standing. Re- We support our replies with that which we
producing creativity within students requires the learn, in a historical sense and with a purely logi-
simulation of real life situations that involve cri- cal approach, for the aim of history, known as
ses where they can freely come up with origi- the compilation of facts that have taken place in
nal ideas without fearing rejection or judgement. the western world, has been built chronologically
There must then be provided the necessary en- on a time line that sorts events as if they had not
vironmental elements for the alumni to culti- really been simultaneous, more prone to chaos
vate the creative attitude so that ideas can be than to such “historical organization”. This way

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 69
of sorting facts and historical events has also in- We finish this part of the paper by quoting De
fluenced the way we think and the way we try to Bono’s book New Think:
solve problems, and so we have tried to organize
Most scientists could learn much about
ideas within time, in a sequence, one after the
lateral thinking from artists, but many art-
other; when we should probably consider their
ists would be most uncomfortable if they
simultaneousness and chaos.
had to follow lateral thinking through its
De Bono (2008), urges us to apply a different proper end. Those people who believe
perspective when solving problems and to seek that the artist’s way of living is the high-
for other alternatives rather than the traditional est expression of lateral thinking have not
way of logical thinking; as it is greatly limited when yet understood the nature of the process.
it comes to finding solutions to new problems Lateral thinking does not intend to break
that demand new approaches based on a more the rigid and accepted ways something is
creative thinking. The term “lateral thinking” was approached, but to encourage the search
coined so as to differentiating it from the “logical of alternatives that are real and objec-
thinking” which he also named “vertical thinking”. tive, not anarchic. This resource is but a
mean to escape, not a goal. However, lat-
The ways “lateral thinking” work are shown
eral thinking would serve a poor use if it
when strange situations, absurd or illogical, to our
only produced a new order rather than an
brain require an explanation. We expose some-
old one. Its objective is to discover new
thing that must be solved, something apparently
ideas, simpler and more effective, but
difficult, but when we think of it in a “lateral” way;
without affecting the fluency that allows
being the avoidance of traditional logic, we end up
an idea to be perfect through the pass of
facing the old with the current, and both, with the
time (De Bono, 1985, p. 37).
production of new ideas.

Lateral thinking acts by releasing the mind

from the polarizing effect of old ideas and
by stimulating the new ones; and it does Today life, conditioned by success and in which
so throughout acumen, but above all, everything has been structured for the benefit of a
through creativity and cleverness; all in triumphant, has imposed new challenges to stu-
all, mental processes to which it is deeply dents who, perhaps facing failure, may be over-
related. Instead of waiting for these three whelmed by it. Resilience, of the topics addressed
traits to manifest spontaneously, De Bono by the psychology of human potential, serves as
introduces the use of lateral thinking in a an example to teach students to persevere and re-
conscious and deliberate way, as a tech- main standing before failure; in a world where the
nique to broaden the spectrum of brain one who wins is always praised while the rest are
functionalities (De Bono, 2008, s. p.). forgotten. These studies have appeared since the

70 Universidad Militar Nueva Granada // Bogotá D.C. // Julio-diciembre 2015

Omar Cabrales
Víctor Centeno

mid 1990s as a result of the research conducted […] an emerging branch of psychology
by authors such as Martin Seligman, P. Baltes and that seeks to understand, through sci-
Ursula Staudinger; all who have related the devel- entific research, the processes underly-
opment of human potential with the concepts of ing the positive qualities and emotions of
wisdom, optimism, growth, resilience, altruism, human beings, so long ignored by psy-
successful aging, and the positive aspects of the chology. The purpose of this interest is
human behavior; among other things. Although, none other than to provide new insights
the constitution of this new discipline has been into the human psyche not only to help
rather tortuous, for as was stated by Lisa Aspinwall solve the problems of mental health suf-
(2007) and Staudinger herself (2007), the psycho- fered by individuals, but also to improve
logical studies have been, in a greater way, dedi- quality of life and wellbeing, all without
cated to pathologies than to the research of the departing from the most rigorous sci-
positive aspects of welfare and health. entific methodology; itself, all health sci-
ence. Positive psychology represents a
One reason that the approaches in repair
new perspective from which to under-
and healing psychology have been his-
stand the psychology and mental health
torically predominant could come from a
that comes to complement and support
question of values. It is much easier to de-
the existing knowledge (Seligman and
fine the desired adaptive change direction
Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p. 7).
if the goal of this change is to restore a
normal or previous state. On the contrary,
it is much more difficult to define a human In fact, more and more scholars on psychol-
potential if one considers the psychologi- ogy are expanding their fields of research into
cal changes more than the return to the the positive aspects of health and wellness rath-
previous levels of functioning (Aspinwall er than the negatives such as depression and
and Staudinger, 2007, p. 28). disease. After arguing that scientific and organi-
zational psychology has focused mainly on pa-
thology, repairing and processes for interviewing
Evidently, it seems simpler to bring back the people recent authors like Seligman and others
human mind to known states of normality and made a call to turn back to the study of human
relative balance than to take it to unknown stan- potential and protection.
dards of productivity and efficiency in which it is
The purpose of using this new discipline is
turned into its own cure and can, even, prevent
based on the need to argue about how the psy-
different kinds of pathologies related to depres-
chology of human potential works with a greater
sion, stress or sorrow.
emphasis on resilience to failures, all being nec-
The studies on human potential are related to essary skills that should be developed were one
positive psychology, and it can be defined as: willing to improve life quality.

Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social // Vol. 9 No. 2 // ISSN 2011–5318 · e-ISSN 2462–8654 // Páginas 58-73 71
Staudinger (2007) defines human potential as is an ever ongoing process with a never-ending
“the ability to flexibly implement many different nature, because of the constant changes and
resources, however necessary, to solve a prob- rediscoveries to which it will be subjected. So,
lem or to work towards a goal. This potential learning to develop self-awareness involves giv-
seems to arise discriminatory facilities or algo- ing students guidelines for knowledge acquiring
rithms that help people benefit from the optimal and evaluating and fro becoming aware of the
characteristics or regulatory mechanisms, at the changes that occur while identifying the causes
right time and the right degree.” and consequences of their actions.

As it was previously mentioned, and in con- Albeit, humankind is still to discover the prin-
sideration to the multiple variables of a chaot- ciples that are yet unknown when it comes to
ic world involved in the development of school the views we have about intelligence, knowledge
activities, it is sometimes necessary to consid- and learning. What is so far known is that such
er the possibility of failure. If, as we have said, act in diverse and multi-formal ways, hence,
the world is now immersed in a constant evolu- teachers are to reassess the way they approach
tion including untimely changes, today’s student the learning experiences lived by the alumni, as
should be able to overcome failure. “So, it was well as design strategies that promote a more ef-
established that resilient people have a great ficient method for doing so. The aforementioned
sense of commitment, a strong sense of control statements are supported on the idea that it is
over events and are more open to changes in life, Education, in the end and above of all human
while they tend to interpret stressful and painful sciences and disciplines, the one study that truly
experiences as a part of existence. It is gener- reaches and transforms one’s essence, and it is
ally considered to be a multifactorial construct learning the only process through which one is
with three main components: commitment, con- capable to meet the true self.
trol and challenge. The concept of hardiness is
closely related to existentialism” (Seligman and
Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

Arendt, H. (1998). La Condición Humana. Paidós:
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Cabrales, O. (2010). Competencias gerenciales para
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