Psychoanalysis, teaching, and learning

CPOS is proud to present their third biennial workshop entitled New Engagement with the Future: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Anxieties and Defenses in Teaching and Learning (about Management and Organizations). The workshop will be presented online as part of the annual symposium of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO) on June 29, 2022 at 6:30am CST.

This PDW uses psychoanalysis to disrupt the assumptions embedded within contemporary modes of teaching and learning. We will explore the potential of psychoanalysis to further our understanding of the realities of education, both now and in the future. Insights from psychoanalysis include the importance of paying attention to unconscious anxieties, fantasies, and psychological defenses. Applying these insights to learning spaces, and their concomitant stresses and anxieties, provides critical scholars and educators with concepts useful for understanding the psychosocial (collective) defenses that arise in response to anxiety-inducing social, cultural, and institutional pressures.

CPOS associates will share their experiences at the intersection between psychoanalysis, educational institutions, and classroom teaching practices – focusing on how we see psychoanalysis as potentially disruptive to dominant theories, practices, and discourses of teaching and learning.

Pushing forward from the pandemic is already redefining the nature of work and what “business as usual” means. However, human nature and the power of unconscious meanings and motivations remains the same. The unconscious permeates a range of phenomena across educational systems: individual (student, teacher), interpersonal (teaching dyad), group (classroom), organization (institutional), and social (discourses of pedagogy, politics). Psychosocial defenses often serve to create undiscussable and collusive resistance to the work of learning, essentially erecting a form of willful ignorance to avoid the anxieties of not knowing. We contend that through psychoanalysis, such dynamics may become knowable and discussable.

Psychoanalysis usefully provides important concepts that can help us unpack unconscious meanings and motivations – transference and countertransference, splitting and projection, denial and defense, illusion and disillusionment. And, it offers something more – a way of being and working in the space of education that has the potential to encourage reflection in action and support our efforts to work together to move past the trauma of the pandemic and build a better world.

Further, psychoanalysis lends both teachers and students useful strategies for managing the anxieties associated with undoing what we think we know about providing, or obtaining, management education. This PDW may benefit researchers and scholars who, regardless of career stage, wish to explore and engage with the potential of psychoanalysis for deepening their understanding of the complexities of teaching and learning, and in doing so deepen our potential for building a better world.

For more information and to sign up visit:

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