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Freud, A. (1935). Psychoanalysis and the Training of the Young Child. Psychoanal Q., 4:15-24.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4:15-24

Psychoanalysis and the Training of the Young Child

Anna Freud

In the preceding paper Dr. Bernfeld discussed several aspects of the psychology of the young child without stating how this knowledge should be applied. He probably relied on the fact that for decades teachers have always followed up each new trend in psychological thought in the hope of finding a way out of their difficulties.

We are all aware of the difficult position in which the teacher finds himself. To be sure, we frequently hear it stated that one of the most important community tasks is given over to the teachers, that the most valuable material at the disposal of society comes under their control, that they determine the destiny of the coming generation, etc.; but in actual practice we find little of this high value set on education or on the educator himself. Nor are teachers even so well paid as, let us say, industrialists and bankers, who handle the material resources of the nation. As members of the community they must struggle continually for the esteem of their fellow-men and for recognition from the parents and officials of their district. Although many people believe that the younger the child the more important his education, in actual practice the evaluation of the teacher increases with the age of the pupil. Compare, for example, the esteemed position of the high school teacher with the status of the kindergarten teacher. There is an inconsistency somewhere.

Usually, however, there is some justification for what is found in actual practice. The low evaluation of teachers in general arises from the fact that they are really not independent producers but middlemen, agents, buffers between two generations. They are given raw material and are expected to turn out certain specific products. The only freedom given them is in the choice of pedagogical method.

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