To become aware of the paramount importance of the personal reality in human beings allows us to try to explain the development of the person within the educational context. It gives us more trust in this revealing attempt to find the most vital contents of human beings, the personal ones, the person’s clear definition and its inclusion as fundamental motivation in the development of education.
From the beginning, the person is proposed as the foundation, subject and object of education, because from this point of departure we will be more skilful when explaining the excellence of an educational process which achieves in accomplishing this state according to its implication in the personal realities. In other words, and with more nuances, education is at its best when it considers the person as its essential foundation, proposing, in this way, persons in their prime.
This may seem a platitude, but it is not so if we take into account that a human being is a person, but not everything in this being is personal, because it is exposed to multiple kinds of depersonalisation. This is the main reason why excellence is not a verified fact in any educational situation or it is not one of the objectives of the educational processes in school contexts, the main topic of our reflections.
That is why person and education are so closely together in the achievement of a goal which attracts the former to the latter: the development of the human being as person, looking for a perfection because of the fact that this being is a human person, but also an imperfect personal realisation. As it can be seen, it is here where education plays an inevitable role as motor of the personal development; the person fills this task with motives, and education finds contents and propose them with suitable measures.
This is the central idea, which can be better understood taking into account the actual sphere of human beings’ realisations and the materialisation of the personal condition. We can understand this immediately when we realise that depersonalisation elements and actions have their place in life, in society. This is assumed by the educational system by proposing specific models of human beings – every manner or idea of education has a conception of the human being.
In this field of possible depersonalisations comes out the idea of a return to the person and personalisation through an educational process at its source. In this sense, this study is stated through four moments, which are the bases of four chapters:
1) The need for the person as the demand of a time (a reflection on modernity and postmodernity in the study of the unity and fragmentationof the human being).
2) The concept of person (the question about present-day human beings, conceptual analysis of the person, the bases of this concept of person and its distictive features).
3) The concept of development in present-day thoughts and practices (what is congenital and what is acquired along the development, mechanicist and organicist conception of the development, development theories).
4) The concept of personal development in the educational processes (social and personal development, personeity and personality, responsability, effort and motivation, development of the person and personal sense of education, signification of the personal development in the educational process: towards the Well-Made Work).
Turning to the history of human realisations, previous to our situation, modernity came out coexisting with postmodernity. It was a period in which the emphasis was put on the superiority of reason and in the illusion of progress, specially the scientific and technical one. With this progress the Human Absolute was thought to have been found, believing that human freedom had no limits and situating human beings at the centre of their own world, rejecting any external rule. Big ideals become the contents and motors of legitimation and emancipation and these are the ones which propose the educational system from the proper ways to reach this development.
The pedagogical optimism of modernity stated the problem of an educational renovation which could find the solution to its problems. This is still hoped by many, although this attitude coexists with a perhaps more widespread one, by which this hope has been frustrated, when this optimism was followed by a period of uneasiness. This more present-day attitude made clear that the educational system is unable to solve the problems of human life. Today, modern humans feel weaker to hold the weight of the world that their own exhaltation put on their shoulders.
The step taken between these two moments has characterised the last one, not by the irrepressible temptation of fundamenting all in human reason, but by the renunciation of any attempt of fundamentation and by a surrender without conscience to hedonism and to the pleasures wich consumer society offers.
Then, Postmodernity has created a schizoid, fractured and fragmented subject which does not trust any project presented as the answer to the whole of existence.
But, it is at this moment when, not in a generalised way, but as point of force, a question about human condition comes out with strength. It is a question which answers the need of getting rid of a situation which has been contradicted by postmodernity, but which has not been properly answered. It is a question about humans and their deepest consistences, their beings, in order to confirm a series of relationships and truth contents which can keep away this generalised attitude of bewilderment and manifested depression.
Then, we realise the truth of the fact that it is necessary to order this abysmal confusion, that it is necessary to return to human nature in order to confirm definitely the possibilities of our beings. But a return to human nature is to establish an essential point of reference: the person.
That is why, once established the importance of the person, it is necessary to establish also its possibilities of development. Although the person is the origin, there is also a process in which one reaches the person. This is what is called personalisation.
One can consider that the person has to bring up to date its own potentialities by trying to be more and more the person, a more complete and prefect person. Personalisation is, then, the ultimate ain of education. It is in this way that the process of personalisation, a process of personal development linked to the educational process and under the prerogatives of an integral education, is identified with an authentic educational process in which the person is and states the necessity of becoming. In other words, human beings, who need to discover their personality and make them more perfect, use the personal development as an educational form full of identity and sense.
It is in this way that excelence can be achieved in the processes and contents of education. Perhaps, the idea of excellence is not what is truly important. That is, it is important the fact that a superior quality, which makes the educational process worth of respect, is searched, but even this fact has to be subordinated to the superiority of the person. Then, the reality of the person and its personal realisation is what is more important. This is what makes the educational personalisation be shaped in the personal development in a specific context, a field which is favourable for this development: the educational one, with the acting educational processes which constitute an adequate personal development. This is what provides a value and dignity which can be also called excellence referred to personal development.
Around the central concept of person, its distinctive features – singularity, autonomy and opening – have been studied, turning them to the concept of development and its more important theories, in order to complete the definition of personal development. Finally, the study of the so called personal development in the educational process, the idea of departure in the previous commentary, appears as the necessary reference to move the concept of person to the educational context.
Responsability, effort and motivation in the materialisation of the Well-Made Work are the necessary end of this work, because, once the educational actions have been established, it is necessary to introduce what personal features take us to the person, an effort of perfection which makes us better, a consistent motive which makes us do good with joy, when the person is considered as the goal, the environment and condition of a real and excellent education.
That is why the work ends with the importance of the personal development in the educational process and the understanding of the Well –Made Work, because the most important thing in every educational activity is not the mere technical qualification but making the individual a person through an adequate process of personal development.
And because this development is linked to a process of integral improvement, it is indispensable the contribution of the concept of the Well-Made Work. This concept contributes the development of the person, to the personal fulfilment, because it is linked to an internal and external growing, dignifying the human person in an educational context which must aim to the good in the processes and the results.