Humanistic Approaches to Learning

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The theories behind Humanist approaches to learning were built on the consideration of emotional and social wellbeing in schools, and how important they are. Humanistic theories are based on the importance of students being at the center of their own learning. This theory has not only been implicated in recent years due to theorists Abraham Maslow, John Dewey and Carl Rogers, but is also found in religious schools, and has been traced back to Frederich Froebel, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Maria Montessori, Johann Pestalozzi, and even Aristotle and Epicurus. Since the 20th century, the idea of 'self-actualisation', or to reach one's full potential, has been emphasised by Maslow and Rogers, particularly in Rogers' concept of the 'freedom to learn', and Maslow's list of basic human needs. Maslow's basic human needs:

1. Food, shelter, clothes, or the physiological needs necessary for survival. 2. Safety, protection and security
3. Belongingness and love, which are usually sourced from family, community and friendships. 4. Respect, esteem, approval, dignity, self-respect, which involves respect from others, and self-respect. 5. Self-actualisation, or the achievement of full potential. This is seen as the most significant of the 5 needs. Maslow says that children that have received their basic needs are able to cope with difficulties more easily, and things like frustration and disappointment are likely to be less overwhelming to them. Non-directive teaching and 'freedom to learn' are what Rogers said to be very important to classroom relationships, and humanist approaches as a whole. He developed the idea that forms of therapy could be achieved through allowing people to heal themselves through 'active listening', rather than trying to heal. Active listening involves listening intently, understanding the meaning of what is said, and then reflection back to the speaker, which shows that the listener has understood, and builds a sense of trust, as well as...
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