Mediation of the human being's awareness of his being a modifiable entity
Besides the biological changes and the growth associated with age, the human being perceives himself, and is perceived by others as possessing a continuous identity??, and in accordingly also as an unmodifiable entity?? possessing innate character traits. We may notice pessimism arising from this from the educational standpoint in the individual, and in relation to the situation of person in general, in all areas of life. This pessimistic approach, which clearly derives from a deterministic outlook, according to which the probability of the occurrence of change is extremely low, leads to a sharp differentiation in everything to do with setting goals and choosing the means to achieve them in education, in employment, in rehabilitation, and even in the penal system?? Whoever can-that is to say- shows signs of correct development, doesn't need any investment of effort?? And whoever shows signs of inadequate development, investment of effort will in any case not benefit him. The notion that a human being is modifiable, without connection to the developments determined by biological factors, is not particularly accepted. We hear, quite frequently, parents and teachers who say: "What can one already expect from him? You of course know how he is? He doesn't change; one can predict what he will do, how he will behave and what he will achieve." Such an approach is liable to have disastrous outcomes in the two cases: the one who functions well may possibly not do enough or may even not do anything in order to maintain his performance level or even to improve it. Perhaps this may explain why gifted children are, sometimes, under-achieving. On the other hand, why should the one whose functioning level is low invest effort to improve his situation, if he is convinced that his situation is unmodifiable??
The assumption regarding the existence of these "innate traits" stands in the way of a human being like an obstacle, and paradoxically, blocks??? the possibility of modifying himself, a possibility which is crucial for his adaptation? The person says: "How will I be able to do this? For I am like this, that is how everyone knows me and that is how I shall be." And if he dares to think of the possibility of modifying himself, someone will take care to remind him: "Hey, did you forget who you are? After all, we know you!"
The mediator must create in the person the feeling of his being modifiable. Parents who point out to their child the changes that occurred in him for the better, as the outcomes of certain actions, create in him the awareness of the possibility and the need of acting and being active in the realization of goals of development and improvement. Mediation of modifiability, as a uniquely human characteristic, is liable to become a source of increasing the potential of the one who receives the mediation; he increases his ability to adapt through the increase of the autoplasticity - his plasticity??, besides the preservation of his identity. The belief in the ability of the mediatee to increase his modifiability is liable to bring educators to search for signs of change as a way to evaluate the individual, and to give a more dynamic prognosis, which takes into account the changes that have occurred in him more than it is based on the existing level of functioning, as a prediction of future functioning.
The LPAD- the instrument which we developed in order to diagnose?? the modifiability of the examinee is based on this belief of ours. We shall deal with it at greater length in Chapter 10.