When I look around the room in my classes, I notice many differences. Every student comes from a different situation, some more difficult than others. Regardless of a student’s background, every student has needs. According to psychological theory, everyone has basic needs that must be fulfilled before one can concentrate on fulfilling more complex needs. Abraham H. Maslow describes a Hierarchy of Needs, which can be diagramed with a pyramid. The most basic needs are at the bottom of the pyramid and the most complex needs are at the top. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs consists of (from the bottom of the pyramid to the top): physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs (Myers 426). Maslow pointed out that in order for people to move up the Hierarchy of Needs they need to make sure that their current needs are satisfied (Gawel 3).
Maslow’s needs hierarchy proposes that people must satisfy their “deficiency” needs, such as physiological and safety needs, before they can move toward growth and achievement. Students, therefore, aren’t likely to be motivated to learn unless lower-level needs are met. …students can’t learn … when they are hungry or cold (physiological needs), when they feel threatened (safety needs), when they feel no one cares (love and belonging needs), or when they see themselves as failures (esteem needs). Once over this hurdle, however, Maslow believes that growth is a more or less forward development (Dodd 28).
Unfortunately, especially in the inner city, it is unrealistic to expect all middle school students to come to school ready to learn. This is because so many of them are stuck in a low level of Maslow’s hierarchy. The...
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Jones, Michael. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Can Lower Recidivism.” Corrections Today 66.4 (2004): 18-22.
Kenyon, Ralph. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Need Levels.” 23 Oct 2004. 09 Mar 2005. <http://www.xenodochy.org/ex/lists/maslow.html>.
Kiel, Joan M. “Reshaping Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Reflect Today’s Educational and Managerial Philosophies.” Journal of Instructional Psychology 26.3 (1999): 167-168.
Myers, David G. Psychology. 6th ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2001.
Perks, Carol Ann. “Get a Life!” Teaching Pre K-8. 30.1 (1999): 74-76.
Simons, Janet A., et al. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” 01 Jan 1987. 09 Mar 2005. <http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/maslow.htm>.
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