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Rasey, M.I. (1952). Psychology in the Service of the School. By M. F. Cleugh. Philosophical Library, 1951. 183 pp. $3.75.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 12(1):83-84.

(1952). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):83-84

Psychology in the Service of the School. By M. F. Cleugh. Philosophical Library, 1951. 183 pp. $3.75.

Review by:
Marie I. Rasey

Cleugh, of the Institute of Education, University of London, has done education a signal service in this book. He has carefully and painstakingly pointed out the help which can be rendered children by trained teachers and clinicians. He does not in the least minimize the work of the psychiatrist or the child-guidance specialist, yet he gives the average teacher fresh confidence in herself as observer and assistant in those very important areas of education which lie beyond the sheer subject-matter scope of the schools.

A clear case is made for thoughtful, unhurried observation, and for judging each case on its merits. This point is particularly stressed, since it is so easy for the busy teacher who is often overloaded with pupils to be driven by what seems the necessity for immediate action. It would seem unnecessary to urge teachers to delay action until they are reasonably sure that they understand the case in question. Our older beliefs that the punishment must fit the crime but also that it must follow immediately upon detection is probably responsible for the frequent error of being too hasty. Critical pressure from the top, which is often a cause of anxiety, particularly to the inexperienced teacher, often adds to this hazard as well.

It might also have been pointed out that haste to punish or to blame a child who seems in the wrong is in the long run a great hindrance to the teacher in getting at basic causes of child behavior. If the stern reprimand is effective—and it often is because the child in trouble is often an over-conforming type—the halting of the behavior conceals the symptom, and the teacher who is undertaking to study the child has closed off a very fertile source of information by this method.

Another timely warning is offered in regard to understanding the whole coherence of the personality pattern, rather than specializing on some single aspect of the matter. This particular difficulty has risen since the literature in the field of testing and the various instruments for measurement have become so popular. Teachers are often trained much more in methods of child study which tend toward analysis rather than a synthesis of the whole personality. The author urges that the teacher bear this in mind. It is in accord with current thinking that the growing child is much more in need of understanding than of punishment.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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