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The psychoanalytic view of teaching and learning, 1922-2002

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Various psychoanalysts have written about the implications of psychoanalytic theory for teaching and learning. Although many curriculum scholars have offered their personal interpretations of the relevance of psychoanalytic theory to education, there is very little in the educational literature about what psychoanalysts themselves have had to say about the acts of teaching and learning since the rise (and, some would suggest, decline) of psychoanalysis over the last century. This study examines a wide range of educational themes that emerge from a reading of various psychoanalysts over the last eight decades. In general, the psychoanalysts argue that, in order to be existentially authentic, teaching and learning must involve the teacher and student in all their psychodynamic complexity as emotional and ethical beings. I also examine the psychodynamic concepts of transference, counter-transference, and object relations in some depth because they have figured prominently in psychoanalytic discourse about education.

Keywords: learning; object relations; pedagogy; psychoanalysis; teaching; transference

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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