Philip Graham

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pp. 313–332

14. Postscript

  • Philip Graham (author)
The twenty-first century has seen a continuation of interest in the influence of Susan Isaacs in the field of education and beyond. Since her death, there has been growing interest in the idea of children as individuals with their own interests and personalities on which both parents and teachers should build. It has become more widely understood however that child centred methods of education are likely to benefit some groups, girls and the highly privileged, more than others.
The twenty first century has also seen greater appreciation of the importance of the ideas of Geoffrey Pyke in the development of the educational philosophy of the Malting House School. It is clear that Isaacs herself developed reservations about the totally free disciplinary approach shown in the early days of the school.
Recent scholarship has given greater prominence to Melanie Klein, indirectly through Susan Isaacs, in the popularisation of psychoanalysis, especially in educational circles, in the 1920s and 1930s. In fact, the increasing profile given to psychoanalytic concepts over this period, had many, highly diverse roots. Given the manner in which, in recent years, the lives of so many children throughout the world have been disrupted by war and civil conflict, it is not surprising that Isaacs’s work on the effects of evacuation and family disruption should have roused interest. Her Evacuation Survey may be seen as one of the earliest relevant studies. Finally, and here the evidence is much more tenuous, Isaacs has been seen as an early anti-colonialist. Such claims are unnecessary to establish Isaacs’s reputation, sufficiently well based as it is on her strong claim to fame in the fields of both early education and psychoanalysis.


Philip Graham