Potentialising the Potential: Dream of Everything You Can Become, and Become Everything You Dream of

Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen*, Hanne Knudsen, Jette Sandager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In education, the child is often observed as a potential to be shaped and realised. In this article, we analyse the educational program, First Lego League. Surprisingly, its aim is not simply to realise a potential, but to potentialise the child to become unlimited potential. Children should become ‘a force for change’, and they are told that ‘you can be anything, just do it!’. To implement this program, First Lego League develops a transition medium that consists of non-representative, presentational symbols such as play, fun, innovation, dance and discovery. Such a program does not come without costs. Our analysis reveals how negativity is negated, knowledge is devalued and the children’s selfnarratives are decoupled. This could result in children being confronted with paradoxical demands, which are difficult to navigate. Analytically, the article draws on Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory and in particular his concepts of form and medium.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)578-597
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 16 April 2023


  • Potentialisation
  • Education
  • Play
  • Systems theory
  • Form and medium
  • Affect
  • Niklas Luhmann
  • Lego

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