application of sigmund freud theory in education
Though Freud describes his medical studies as ‘negligent’ and the completion of his degree as ‘belated’, it appears he maintained diligent work habits during this period (Ibid.). By most accounts, Freud had less interest in medicine per se than in research biology, the latter being his intended career path at the outset of his training (Rosen, 1972). After receiving his medical degree, however, rather than dedicating himself to research, financial necessity compelled Freud to take a hospital post, working first as a clinical assistant and then as a junior physician. Within the hospital’s psychiatric clinic he maintained his interest in research work, gravitating increasingly towards neurology, and securing a more academic position as Lecturer in Neuropathology in 1885. As he moved away from the hospital milieu and established a private practice as a doctor of nervous diseases (1886), Freud continued to develop academically, working with senior clinical practitioners, including Charcot — a Parisian psychiatrist specializing in hysteria — and Breuer — a Jewish-Viennese physician with whom Freud published the first psychoanalytic case studies (1895/1961).
It is reasonable to query: if teaching is impossible, then why bother? Yet, in my view, Freud is a key pedagogic thinker precisely because of the possibilities that this impossibility creates. Personally, I am also captivated by the intrinsic mystery that psychoanalytic theory reveals within the teaching process, the impossibility of ever fully anticipating the eventual results of our attempts to teach. Introducing a psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious into pedagogy makes teaching a very special thing. It suggests that the outcomes of our pedagogical efforts, though mysterious, may touch our students on a more profound level than we can imagine. This insight, along with the shift that Freud’s educational vision yields, calls into question the very purpose of our work. As Shoshana Felman writes, ‘it is precisely in giving us unprecedented insight into the impossibility of teaching, that psychoanalysis has opened up unprecedented teaching possibilities, renewing both the questions and the practice of education’ (Felman, 1982:22). The point, ultimately, is that as educators, we must learn to live with the uncertainty of our practice’s outcomes, though we are free to choose the personal, political, and social aims that underlie our work.
In 1923 Freud described his constructs of the id, ego and the superego. The id is the most primitive part of our personality. It operates according to the pleasure principle and it simply seeks immediate gratification. Freud believed that every human had a life and death instinct. The life instinct is called eros while the death instinct is called thanatos. Both are integral parts of the id. And the energy for this mechanism is libido, a flowing, dynamic force. The ego is different from the id as it is extremely objective. It operates according to the “reality principle” and deals with the demands of the environment. It regulates the flow of libido and keeps the id in check, thus acting as a “control center” of the personality. It is the superego which represents the values and standards of an individual’s personality. It acts as an internal judge, it punishes the ego with feelings of guilt or it rewards, which lead to feelings of pride and heightened self-esteem.
An example of an anonymous psychoanalytic activity is the question and answer game.
One of the significant contributions, however, is the understanding that psychoanalysis has imparted of ‘mal-adjustments’ in children’s behaviour and delinquencies in adolescence. Emotional conflicts due to defective inter-personal relationships within the family, repression of the child’s between the unconscious needs and the demand or reality have been highlighted as important causes without minimising the significance of the inadequate environmental conditions such as the broken home, poor economic situations, bad neighbourhood, inadequate school programmes, lack of proper recreational facilities and others.
Psychoanalysis has laid stress on such psychological incentives as love, use of instincts, permissiveness and leniency and the child’s own will or interest. It has thrown light on and explained the variations that we find in the assimilation of various subjects among different children. This means that specific disabilities may be due to affective inhibition among other causes.
After Freud’s daughter Anna was arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo in 1938, Freud and his family emigrated to London on 4 July. They bought a house in Hampstead (20 Maresfield Gardens), the place where the “Freud Museum London” can be found today. One year after this dramatic change of residence, on September 23rd, Freud called for his physician Dr. Schur who gave him two centigrams of morphine to ease his pain, followed by another two centigrams twelve hours later.
I Theoretical Part
I.1 Short Biography of Sigmund Freud
I.2 Psychoanalysis according to Freud
I.2.1 The Unconscious
I.2.2 The Interpretation of Dreams
I.2.3 Pleasure- and Reality-Principle
I.2.4 Ego, Id and Super-Ego
I.2.5 The Stages of Psychosexual Development
Humanistic Models: Based on the work of psychologists and educators such as Abraham Maslow (1970), Carl Rogers (1951), and A.W. Combs (1982), the humanistic approach “to learning is largely constructivist and emphasizes cognitive and affective processes” (Schunk, 2012, p. 351). Humanists believe that education should be holistic and enhance the total development of the person, not only cognitively, but socially and emotionally as well. (Rothstein, 1990). Those who support this model, therefore, often incorporate teaching and learning strategies that integrate feelings, values, and social skills along with knowledge (Schunk, 2000). Humanists also believe that students learn best in warm, trusting classroom environments where they are given choices and allowed to express their creativity. Specific instructional approaches consistent with humanistic theory include not only discovery learning/constructivism (see description under cognitivism), but also nondirective instruction, cooperative learning, discussion-based learning, and holistic learning. These techniques are thoroughly described within our knowledge base, Goal IV, Instruction.
Combs, A. (1982). A personal approach to teaching: Beliefs that make a difference. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.