Immordino-Yang's description of the unexpected recovery of 2 boys with severe brain trauma is an example of the interplay between the plasticity of the brain and the plasticity of the context. It highlights the dynamics of "wants and cans" and the specific role of motivation in this dynamic. As an example of how this dynamic can evolve in different directions, we focus on learning trajectories of children with developmental psychopathology using a model of the process of social interaction to explain the interplay between behavior and performance on short-term and long-term timescales. The idea is that the flexibility of the short-term process allows for a particular quality of teaching and learning and helps explain highly unexpected developmental trajectories such as those described by Immordino-Yang (2008). The explanation of the long-term outcomes of the educational process lies not in the determinism of the (dysfunctional) brain but in the positive characteristics of interacting creative minds.