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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in Teaching

You might have come across the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which is a theory of basic, psychological, and self-fulfillment needs that motivate individuals to move consciously or subconsciously through tiers or levels based on their satisfaction. This theory by Abraham Maslow is relevant in the field of teaching or education. Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist and the creator of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs.

To start off with the basic understanding of this theory, think about how do you feel when you are under the weather? Not very motivated to do anything? Not motivated enough to go on with the day? In opposition, when you are happy and well-fed and have support from your friends and family, you continue to feel motivated and even feel better enough to go on with your day.
When we learn about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the shape of a pyramid, starting from the lowest level when we need a few things to feel motivated and achieve our goals we are in need of physiological needs which are very basic, such as air, water, shelter, food, sleep, clothing and reproduction. After the physiological needs, we have the safety needs, which include security, employment, resources, health, and prosperity. After the safety needs, we have to have love and belonging satisfied in order to thrive. The things included in the third tier of the pyramid are friendship, intimacy, family support. After the love and belonging tier, we have self-esteem and esteem includes things such as respect, recognition, freedom, and mainly self-esteem itself. Lastly, self-actualization is the final step of the motivational pyramids and it includes the desire to become the most one can be. Adding to these, it is found put by researchers that these needs are not in the shape of a pyramid but a circle. A circle of needs that are constantly in connection with each other.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is interconnected with each other and is constantly taking place one after the other.

Now coming to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Teaching -
Sometimes, when our students feel tired, they cannot function, and their energy is drained. On the other hand, there can be problems like your students are hungry, which can distract them from doing the plainest things we do every day. Some of our students also may have different issues such as being sick or their family members may be sick, this also prevents the students from thriving and learning.
This all leads us to a very logical conclusion - what needs do we have to satisfy in order to succeed in the learning process. The students’ basic needs need to be satisfied.

Points on importance of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are -

  • Maslow’s theory puts out that educators or teachers should also focus on the needs of the students while teaching or educating. Students during their classes may be distracted from what they are being taught because of other considerations running through their minds.

  • A point to note in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Teaching is that teachers or professors cannot cater to every need of their students or individual students. Yet they can help them to go through those and find logical solutions to cater to all kinds of needs for students so that they can concentrate on their academic trend.

  • Teachers and professors should take care of the fact that students can feel a sense of safety in their classroom environment. Students should have the opportunity to share about their worries with their teachers. It is equally important to work on the student-teacher relationship for a healthy classroom environment.

  • Teachers should encourage students to take reasonable risks, ask and answer questions, share their thoughts openly, and engage in healthy debate. They should not be afraid of being judged by their peers. Students desire a teacher-student relationship built on trust. Students look for a comfort in the classroom environment.

Finally, when we think about classroom instruction and the way we communication, we need to stop teaching frontally and we need to include our students more. To switch to a student-centered approach, the communication and information needs to flow in every direction in which we are not teacher but co-constructers of knowledge. Thanking to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs it can be concluded that teachers need to also think about other aspects in the motivational ladder.

Hope this blog helps you to understand the need of student centered teaching. Stay tuned to read more such blogs.

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