3 Lesson Plan for Teaching the Uncanny in Psychoanalysis

Grace Avery; Thomas Cox; and Makensie Roderick


The goal of this lesson plan is to provide students with a clear and simple introduction to psychoanalysis for those who have recently read Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny. We seek to highlight key concepts as well as enable class discussion on the topic. Due to the spectacle involved with the Uncanny, we hope students will be excited to connect what they learn from this lesson to the media they consume and beyond.


1 hour and 40-minute Class Period

· 15 min work on opening move

· 10 minutes discussion

· 45 minutes breakout rooms

· 30 minutes share

Opening statement key points:

●       The idea of the “Uncanny” is an intriguing mental/sometimes physical phenomenon that we learn about in multiple courses.

●       Multiple readings/class discussions lead us learners to believe Freud’s hypothesis:  the uncanny is the unwelcome return of something that was once familiar but is now foreign and alienating to us humans.

●       Sigmund Freud writes, “Uncanny is in reality nothing new or alien, but something which is familiar and old-established in the mind and which has become alienated from it only through the process of repression.”

●        The uncanny is found everywhere: written texts, poetry, imagery, music, television, movies.

●       The uncanny can be broken down into separate pieces as well.

●       Freud believed that Animism is a stage of moral development, that the uncanny brought out our repressed animistic beliefs, and that this “omnipotence of thought” was the cause of the bottomless dread that many feel when experiencing the Uncanny.

Opening Move:

There was a prior Take 10 minutes to read and react to someone’s blog post in the chat. Once they’re done ask to share a few comments and reflect on its significance to the uncanny. Hopefully this will reinforce some peoples ideas mentioned in their blog posts, and help everyone understand the uncanny. This knowledge can be used to gauge class discussion and find out what everyone needs help understanding.

Main Lesson:

Use the Psychoanalysis handout (see below) in breakout rooms, teams will fill boxes of the chart and will be followed by a class discussion. The chart is similar to handouts provided in Critical Theory and so may be familiar to the students. Students will be divided into groups and each group should be assigned one of our three significant vocabulary words. The handout contains the instructions for individual questions. By using breakout rooms to fill these charts the hope is that the students can help answer one anothers’ questions and provide each group with the same amount of information. Students will then have change breakout rooms, such that the new group’s members have worked on each vocabulary term.


Hopefully the students will have gained a greater understanding of the Uncanny and how it pertains to not only our readings but also the real world. Students should also be able to more actively engage with other students on the topic, in blog post responses and in class discussions. The theme of the Uncanny will continue throughout the semester and the students should be able to make connections from this class to other teachings.

The Uncanny Interactive Lesson Plan


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Grace Avery; Thomas Cox; and Makensie Roderick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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