The success of educational efforts much depends upon the personal relationship between the teacher and the pupil. This point should not be neglected either by the practical teacher or the education theorist. The teacher is prone to the influence of parental complexes, because for the pupil, he is in the psychological situation of the father or mother.
The teacher is in a position of authority which may provide a favorable opportunity for the gratification of such powerful impulses as self- esteem, self love, and pleasure in inflicting pain. These impulses work in such a disguised form that consciousness cannot easily recognize their true nature.
The pupils, too, can resort to narcissism and exhibitionism if the teacher is not able to handle them in a psychological manner. All this requires that the teacher must be able to understand his own psyche so that he may take due precautions against his special tendencies and complexes. He should also be able to get into contact with the pupil’s psychic life.
The teacher can be tolerably free of complexes if he has at least achieved a fairly satisfactory fulfillment of his own conscious and unconscious desires. If the teacher possesses some complex, he may use a situation for his own personal gratification, thus foiling the very purpose of his work.
If the teacher has not properly understood the relation between emotional and intellectual processes, he is sure to stultify and neutralize educational results. Thus knowledge of psychoanalysis is indispensable to the teacher.
Naturalism in education is closely connected with psychoanalysis. “The teaching of Freud was a Godsend to the post-war apostles of naturalism, both in educational sphere and outside of it; it was believed to have proved the soundness of their case for untrammeled self- expression and for entire freedom from restraint” Psychoanalysis emphasizes that the natural growth of the child should not be explored in any way and that the unconscious should be explored in order to understand the cause of neuroses so that suitable steps may be taken.
It is because of psychoanalysis that a healthy attitude has grown towards ‘sex’ and ‘authority’. Corporal punishment and authoritarian methods are now shunned. Dangers of undue prudery have now been laid bare with the evil consequences of ‘any boding’ up of the child’s energies.
Psychoanalysis has rendered valuable service in helping us towards the understanding and treatment of delinquency in childhood and adolescence. Moreover, it assures us that the causes of such delinquency can easily be avoided.
There is a controversy at present over the problem. “Shall we teach the child to learn subjects and fact, or shall we educate the child’s personality?” Psychoanalysis, especially the branch expounded by Adler, tells us that the two can be profitably combined.
Psychoanalysis gives us very valuable information by pointing out that ‘children make mistakes in interpreting their own positions.’ Let us not forget that education of children is possible because of the fact that they make mistakes.
It is only makers of mistakes that learn. Mistakes are never of innate character. Had they been so, it would have been impossible to educate or improve children.
There are no character-traits that are innate. One who believes so is not fit to perform such a noble and sacred task as education. He should never be entrusted with duties of teaching children.
Psychoanalysis informs us that ‘a child’s development is determined by his personal, individual interpretation of things.’ A child is always inclined to behave in the circle of his personal mistakes whenever he has to encounter a new and difficult situation.
The child also is very subjective. The impression that he gets about some object depends more on how he regards it, than on the object itself.
Hence the ‘theory of casualty’ holds no water. There does exist a necessary connection between the facts and their absolute meaning, but not between mistaken views of facts.