chapter  Seven
11 Pages

Understanding behaviour: insight in the classroom and the value of observation

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

Teachers who face classes of twenty to thirty-five children, hour after hour and day after day, often protest that the kind of understanding offered in this volume is all very interesting, but of limited use to them. This chapter demonstrates how inaccurate this is, by mapping out the ways in which rigorous psychoanalytically informed observation can be utilized by classroom teachers. Many teachers acknowledge that they feel they cannot afford to open themselves up to the emotional experience of children or the reality of their home lives for fear of being overwhelmed. Work discussion is a central part of the Emotional Factors in Learning and Teaching course as well as of many other professional development and pre-clinical courses at the Tavistock Clinic. Teachers embarking on the course usually say that their motivation for doing so is a desire to understand more about pupils who challenge them in some way.