The South African education system has experienced a paradigm shift from content-based education towards an outcomes-based education. The focus of outcomes-based education is a learner-centred approach. The criteria that learners should adhere to at the end of their school career are that they should be productive, successful lifelong learners. To achieve these criteria, learners should be able to maximise their own potential. The world of work requires learners to easily adapt and function effectively in groups and to have the ability to achieve the set criteria. This means that the world of work demands productive, critical, independent learners who are able to express themselves and communicate effectively within social situations. The question that arises is whether learners within the South African context have the ability to create opportunities to claim ownership and take responsibility for their own learning. The focus of this research is therefore on the role of maximising human potential as determined by the need of South African learners to be empowered and well prepared for the demands of the world of work. The literature pertaining to the nature, phenomenon and process of maximising of human potential is briefly examined and the fundamentals are identified. Maximising of human potential is contextualised as a component of the educational phenomenon. An observation study of two classgroups consisting of grade 8 and grade 10 learners respectively from the same school was undertaken in order to identify and determine whether learners within a realistic, diverse school setting are capable of maximising their own potential. Profiles were compiled to underline the socio-economic background of each learner and to serve as a mechanism to indicate and underline diversity in the classroom. Interviews with teachers and learners served as cross-validation of these results. The results revealed that learners from the school were demotivated with regard to maximising their potential. As a qualitative study, the final results indicated trends that may be generalised to similar classrooms. The phenomenon of maximising of human potential is based on the principle of outcomes-based education and should be the focus of learning in every classroom. Guidelines and models for a facilitator training programme in maximising human potential are suggested. The findings of the study indicate that by virtue of the fact that the teaching and learning process is to be approached from a new angle, teachers first need to have a changed perspective or execute a philosophical leap before they are able to maximise the potential of learners in the classroom. Recommendations for the future include, amongst others, that the teacher should be seen as a facilitator of opportunities for learner contributions; that because of the new and exciting demands made on the teacher by this approach, knowledge and expertise regarding maximising of human potential as didactic practice should be made available; that a longitudinal observation study of teachers who received such training, and their pupils, is undertaken as a follow-up study in order to evaluate the results of the training; and that further research is undertaken locally as well as in other countries where the maximising of human potential in language as learning phenomenon is already being practiced.
Dissertation (MEd (Curriculum Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2006.