Home Education Skills and Abilities: the Discussion of the Moment (part II)

Skills and Abilities: the Discussion of the Moment (part II)


Gabriel Mario Rodrigues, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES

A popular saying is: “Two heads think better than one”. Often, because of our limitations of knowledge, our ideas run into barriers that can easily be overcome when working with others. Besides innovation, the exchange of knowledge can lead to the improvement of the initial concept. (Nex Coworking)

Last week, I published on the ABMES Blog a reflection on “Skills and Competencies: the discussion of the moment”. Although in these articles I act more the role of a curator more than of a writer, I are flattered when I receive comments that give greater density to our texts and that add value to the articles.

Because of the weight of these collaborations, I have chosen to share them in full. First, that of doctor Valter Stoiani, who is also director of the Anchor Project. In short, he asks how the teacher enters the process discussed in the previous article.

“Good evening, Gabriel! I have read your text on Skills/Abilities. I found this approach interesting, under the S/A vertex. But it seemed to me that the focus was on the student rather than on the educator. I would like to see or hear your thoughts on some ideas that came up during the reading. When it brings up the Nildo Lage metaphor about seed and land, it occurred to me the notion that EDUCATIONAL ACT occurs in the student-educator relation and that the skills and competences should be of both for this Act to exist. That is, the seed (pupil) and the educator (earth) must be able and competent for the seed to germinate.

Just as the mystery of germination remains difficult to access, the mystery of the educational act also requires delicate and special research. However contributions of the neurosciences, medicine and more deeply psychoanalysis, has thrown some light on this complex phenomenon that we call education.

When Luísa França refers to the educational act as the student’s “knowing to know”, I understand that, in our view, it refers to the wisdom of knowing, the beauty, the joy and the pleasure contained in the educational act. “I learn because it gives me joy, pleasure, self-esteem, dignity, not because I am required to give a college entrance examination or assessment.”

It is, in our view, the knowledge of this emotional learning experience that can make the student stay in learning avoiding the avoidance and abandonment of their projects.

Enabling both educators and learners to feel, perceive and create conditions for this positive emotional experience to emerge would be the great educational challenge in this age of great malaise in civilization. Difficult, but not impossible, as Freud said in the nineteenth century.

A great scholar of the human mind, the English psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, has already given us some ideas of what we might call emotional education and become aware of what an emotional experience is.”

I also received another excellent collaboration from a friend, who felt there was no need to mention his name.


“My dear friend!
Your article addresses two of three concentric circles: knowledge – competencies – skills. These circles intertwine because one depends on another;

When the first courses were installed by modules, each module was organized by knowledge – competencies – skills;

In undergraduate courses, this thematic organization is a bit more complicated in curriculum architecture and these circles lend themselves even as the current curriculum is destroyed and one reinvents another based on just about every discipline – knowledge – competencies – skills that they can drive. Of course this has to do with the professional profile of the course and its final purposes and objectives. (See Ordinance No. 1,432, republished on April 5, 2019)

But most important of all is that the world requires competence that presupposes knowledge and competence must generate skill.

It seems easy, but it is not, because there are people with great manual skills, inventive but with little knowledge, but it has competence to put the skill into action.

It is not a syllogism, but this must be the cycle of things.
In theory it is easy, but in organizational practice it gets a bit more complex. That is what the market demands today: knowledge – competence – ability, and I will not decline each one what it presupposes, because you know, just let’s exemplify:
– knowledge – is the act or effect of knowing, is to have idea or the notion of something. It is knowledge, instruction and information.
– competence – the term comes from Latin for competitore which means an ability to fulfill some task or function. It is also a word used as a synonym for culture, knowledge and jurisdiction.
– Skill – The concept of skill is closely related to the ability to fulfill a specific task with a certain level of skill. Some synonyms for ability can be: ability, talent, intelligence, ingenuity, dexterity, agility.

By understanding the terms one can justify what I stated in the beginning, it is very difficult to have competence without knowledge and the skill presupposes at least a common sense knowledge, which has to do with inventive creativity as well. I have an example of my employee. He started college, dropped out, but still has the ability to solve problems and invent solutions much like a doctor. Where I fit him: he has competence in what he does and ability to execute that competence to solve problems. His talent is his gift.

But in the theoretical world when one speaks “According to some authors”, competence is the joining of talent and skill. That is, it is possible to exercise a certain function only with talent or with skill, but the results will always be better when the two characteristics are present in the individual in question. A competent person is one who has the talent (natural or innate ability for a certain activity) and skill (a technical characteristic that has been learned and improved through a theoretical and practical approach).

In this field, what is the role of education? Education, in the higher case, is organized in courses that in theory should offer knowledge of a certain area and according to the profile allow to have competence and exercise the ability. (Example: organize and hold meetings) But for some courses this is more feasible as in the case of Dentistry, Medicine, Engineering, but in the applied social sciences  it is more complicated.

But your article addresses a topic of today that says that society wants “competent” professionals. What does that mean? Having knowledge, special behaviors, special abilities in terms of socializing, ease of communication, ease of conversion, ease of accepting the opinion of others and their competence to solve problems and help solve others’. But he can stay there and not have some skill that is fundamental: knowing how to conduct a meeting, knowing how to be understanding, knowing how to communicate with “touch”, a word that can mean “way”.

Very good, I liked and as always, timely, regrettably few read … and always the ones who need it the most … (Learn more about the topic in the presentation “Contents, Competencies, Skills and Knowledge: a National Curriculum for the Global Era)

With my greetings and respect for knowledge, for the competence and opportunity to know how to expose the theme at the right time.
A friend and admirer.”

In view of these two approaches, some considerations are important. Dr. Valter has touched on a fundamental point that few people talk about it: what is the role of educators and in particular of the teacher? No flower is born alone. You need a gardener every day after the seed is planted. Without care it will not turn into a flower.

Moreover, in my first article I did not value knowledge so much, and my friend puts the importance of clarifying the dependence of the three circles – Knowledge, Skills and Abilities – and its implementation in university curricula.

I leave here the invitation for other readers to share their experiences with us. My role in this blog is only provocative, to promote debate and stimulate reflection.However, nothing more enriching than the concrete reports to get out of the field of ideas and prove that change is possible.

Who is able to pass on their experience and contribute to know how the concepts have been applied in practice?

To submit articles to me, send the text to [email protected] I also welcome comments, suggestions and, if not, constructive criticism on the topics addressed at [email protected]