Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in the Classroom Context

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This analysis intends to introduce Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and to then describe how this theory can be applied in a beneficial way in the classroom context, taking into consideration different aspects of a pupil’s school experience, their family life and the management of the school. Maslow’s intention was to help identify and awaken every individual’s full natural potential, regardless of their social and cultural background. His purpose was to promote, with an equality of opportunities, the individual’s integration self-fulfillment leading to a better society. Maslow’s stages of basic needs will be applied as guidelines, onto the process of a child’s development.

Maslow’s hierarchy of need or “the theory of human motivation” (Maslow 1946, cited by Hoffman, 1996) shows, a sequence of five human needs in ascending stages, from the most basic physiological need, through the needs of safety, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. Once a person’s need is accomplished, the motivation for a need of a higher level arises. Nevertheless “All needs are interrelated and interdependent, ... a hierarchy of relative prepotency” (Maslow 1946, cited by Hoffman, 1996), therefore different aspects of these needs could be accomplished depending on the motivation arisen, during the constant process of the person's development. Maslow believed that the unaccomplished need could be positively transformed into the motivation for self-improvement. Learning to love and to be loved, having self-respect and self-fulfillment, are only possible to achieve once the most basic needs, such as physiological and safety needs been fulfilled.

Good nutrition, indoor climate control, hygiene and sufficient rest are some of the first needs met in the classroom. Children are highly influenced by the values and habits of their families. Improving nutrition would not be possible without providing children and parents with appropriate support and information. According to...
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