Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

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Discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of need and suggest ways in which it might be useful when working with children and young people. Maslow (1943) devised a pyramid of needs which has five levels, and are arranged in a hierarchy of how important they are for survival. These are, in order: physiological needs, safety and security needs, belongingness, love and social, esteem needs and self actualization. Self actualization is defined as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming” (Maslow, 1943, p.375). The first four stages make up maintenance needs, and the fifth stage is one’s need for growth. There are many ways in which the Hierarchy of Needs is useful when working with children and young people, for example, counselling children in crisis (Harper, F. D., Harper, J. A., Stills, A. B., 2003). Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy is relevant to working with young people at school in many ways. One being that academic success is both an esteem need and a factor of self-actualisation, thus if schools want students to do well they must make sure that all their lower needs are met. For example, Steere (1988) suggests that if a child at school is hungry or thirsty, they will be unable to concentrate and learn because their basic physiological needs have not been met. This can then lead to them being unmotivated and furthering that, discipline problems may arise. In more technical terms, the basic physiological needs are not met, and that therefore hinders the development of the child’s social needs, and further their esteem needs because if a child can not concentrate and produce good work, they will not be recognised and praised, therefore their esteem will not be boosted. Duke (1986. pp. 30-31) cited by Steere (1988) also has the same opinion and further suggests that it is important for teachers to take the time to get to know the students, fulfilling their social needs, before plunging into academic work. Nicholls (1989)...
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