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APPLICATION OF MASLOWS HIERARCHY NEEDS TO


EDUCATION Table of Contents
1.

ABSTRACT........................................................................................................ 2

2.

INTRODUCTION................................................................................................ 2

3.

WHO IS ABRAHAM MASLOW?........................................................................... 3

4.

HUMANISM....................................................................................................... 3

5.

4.1.

Weaknesses of Humanism.........................................................................3

4.2.

Strengths of Humanism............................................................................. 3

HIERARCHY OF NEEDS BASED ON MASLOWS TEORY (1990)...........................4


5.1.

Biological and Physiological needs............................................................5

5.2.

Safety needs.............................................................................................. 5

5.3.

Belongingness and Love needs..................................................................5

5.4.

Esteem needs............................................................................................ 5

5.5.

Cognitive needs......................................................................................... 5

5.6.

Aesthetic needs......................................................................................... 5

5.7.

Self-actualization....................................................................................... 6

5.7.1.
5.8.

Self-actualising Peoples Qualities.......................................................7

Transcendence........................................................................................... 7

6.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ADULT LEARNERS..................................................8

7.

THE OBSERVATION........................................................................................... 9
7.1.

The teacher and Learners..........................................................................9

7.2.

The Class Environment............................................................................ 10

7.3.

Materials.................................................................................................. 10

7.4.

Using Classroom Language......................................................................11

7.5.

Feelings.................................................................................................... 11

7.6.

Experience............................................................................................... 11

7.7.

Transfer into Learning.............................................................................. 11

7.8.

Homework................................................................................................ 12

7.9.

Teacher and Student Talking Time...........................................................12

8.

CONCLUSION.................................................................................................. 12

9.

REFERENCES.................................................................................................. 13

1. ABSTRACT
The purpose of humanistic education is to provide a foundation for
personal growth and development so that learning will continue
throughout life in a self-directed manner. If we break the Maslow hierarchy
down into its eight stages we can evaluate the impact they have in the
lives of children and their learning. In this study, well learn about Maslow
and hierarchy, characteristics of adult learners, needs and when we want
to observe a class, we find out how teacher transfers the theory into the
learning with adults which in general the teachers dont control or follow
this rules. They randomly behave to learners although this is mistake.
Humanists believe that it is necessary to study the person as a whole,
especially as an individual grows and develops over the life span. The
study of the self, motivation, and goal-setting are areas of special interest.

2. INTRODUCTION
In this essay, my subject is to observe and find out how the teacher
transfers Maslows theory in the learning with adult learners. How the
teacher leads her classroom is a significant element directing students
motivation. So that; it is the task of teachers to know what their students
needs are, to understand the concept of Maslows hierarchy and to
develop their teaching programs in this way, applying Abraham Maslows
theory of a pyramid-shaped hierarchy physiological needs, safety, love
and belonging, self-esteem, knowledge and understanding, aesthetic and
self-actualization to education is an ideal way to assess lesson plans,
courses and educational programs.
Lutz (2014) states,
All students have basic needs to be met for learning to occur. The more
needs that are met, the more students will learn. Maslow's hierarchy,
developed by Abraham Maslow in 1954, is a way of organizing the basic
needs of students on different levels. The more levels that are met, the
more a student will learn. Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies especially to
students with exceptionalities, because many times students' with
exceptionalities needs are more difficult to meet.
A teacher should use her knowledge of the hierarchy to structure both the
lesson plan and the classroom environment. Moreover; this essay deals
with if the students or the teacher is involved in the teaching procedure
and it also focuses on the teacher and learners. Ferris and Hedgcock
(2005) state that teachers of ESL play a crucial role in bringing their
learners into such discourses, given their responsibility for preparing their

students to meet the demands and challenges for academic institution


(p.49).

3. WHO IS ABRAHAM MASLOW?


Maslow became one of the founders and driving forces behind the school
of thought known as humanistic psychology. His theories including
the hierarchy of needs, self-actualization and peak experiences became
fundamental subjects in the humanist movement.
When most psychologists focused aspects of human nature that were
considered abnormal, Abraham Maslow shifted to focus to look at the
positive sides of mental health. His interest in human potential, seeking
peak experiences and improving mental health by seeking personal
growth had a lasting influence on psychology. While Maslows work fell out
of favor with many academic psychologists, his theories are enjoying
resurgence due to the rising interesting in positive psychology (Cherry,
2014).

4. HUMANISM
Humanism is a psychological approach that emphasizes the study of the
whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only
through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing
the behaving.
Humanistic people believe that an individual's behavior is connected to
their inner feelings and self-concept.
Humanistic psychology was instead focused on each individual's potential
and stressed the importance of growth and self-actualization. The
fundamental belief of humanistic psychology is that people are innately
good and that mental and social problems result from deviations from this
natural tendency.

4.1. Weaknesses of Humanism


Humanistic psychology is often seen as too subjective; the importance of
individual experience makes it difficult to objectively study and measure
humanistic phenomena. How can we objectively tell if someone is self-

actualized? The answer, of course, is that we cannot. We can only rely


upon the individual's own assessment of their experience.
Another major criticism is that observations are unverifiable; there is no
accurate way to measure or quantify these qualities.

4.2. Strengths of Humanism


One of the major strengths of humanistic psychology is that it emphasizes
the role of the individual. This school of psychology gives people more
credit in controlling and determining their state of mental health.
It also takes environmental influences into account. Rather than focusing
solely on our internal thoughts and desires, humanistic psychology also
credits the environment's influence on our experiences.
Humanistic psychology continues
healthcare and other areas.

to

influence

therapy,

education,

Humanistic psychology helped remove some of the stigma attached to


therapy and made it more acceptable for normal, healthy individuals to
explore their abilities and potential through therapy (Cherry, 2014).

5. HIERARCHY OF NEEDS BASED ON MASLOWS TEORY


(1990)

Hierarchy of
Needs diagram,
based on
Maslow's theory

Transcendence

Self-actualization

Aesthetic needs

Cognitive needs

Esteem needs

Belongingness and Love needs


Biological and Physiological needs
Safety needs

5.1. Biological and Physiological needs


For we can mention these needs, we must know what they mean. Firstly,
biological and physiological needs include anything of fundamental
requirements that a person has. For example; breathing, excretion, food,
water and sleep etc. The longer a person goes without food the more
hungry they will become and this decreases the students motivation.

5.2. Safety needs


We can move on another layer that is safety after physiological needs of
us are met. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as
demanding as the physiological needs. Cherry (2014) expresses,
Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment,
health care, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment.

5.3. Belongingness and Love needs


In addition; in order to avoid problems such as loneliness, depression, and
anxiety, it is important for people to feel loved and accepted by other
people. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an
important role, as doing involvement in other groups that might include
religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, and other group activities.

5.4. Esteem needs


Another layer is esteem needs. The esteem needs based on desires for
appreciation and respect, begin to motivate behavior. Without being
esteem, any students dont concentrate on the lesson or anything.
Thomas (2014) says that without properly meeting esteem need, we are
filled with feelings of inferiority and negativity regarding our lives, which is
depicted in the fourth stage of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. That is;
esteem needs include issues of personal worth, social recognition,
accomplishment, and self-esteem.

5.5. Cognitive needs


When we take a look at the fifth one, we can see cognitive needs. Maslow
believed that humans have the need to increase their intelligence and
thereby chase knowledge. Cognitive needs is the expression of the natural
human need to learn, explore, discover and create to get a better
understanding of the world around them. Gautaam (2007) states, this
growth need for self-actualization and learning, when not fulfilled leads
to confusion and identity crisis. Also, this is directly related to need to
explore or the openness to experience.

5.6. Aesthetic needs


Based on Maslows beliefs, it is stated in the hierarchy that humans need
beautiful imagery or something new and aesthetically pleasing to continue
up towards Self-Actualization. Humans need to refresh themselves in the
presence and beauty of nature while carefully absorbing and observing
their surroundings to extract the beauty that the world has to offer. This
need is a higher level need to relate in a beautiful way with the
environment and leads to the beautiful feeling of intimacy with nature and
everything beautiful.

5.7. Self-actualization
Self- actualization is a very important part of the hierarchy and that is the
highest level of Maslows hierarchy of needs.
Bamuhigire(2009) says that the state of being without a system of values
is psychopathogenic, we are learning. The human being needs a
framework of values, a philosophy of life, a religion or religion-surrogate to
live by and understand by, in about the same sense he needs sunlight,
calcium or love. This I have called the "cognitive need to understand." The
value- illnesses which result from valuelessness are called variously
anhedonia, anomie, apathy, amorality, hopelessness, cynicism, etc., and
can become somatic illness as well. Historically, we are in a value
interregnum in which all externally given value systems have proven
failures (political, economic, religious, etc.) e.g., nothing is worth dying for.
What man needs but doesn't have, he seeks for unceasingly, and he
becomes dangerously ready to jump at any hope, good or bad. The cure
for this disease is obvious. We need a validated, usable system of human
values that we can believe in and devote ourselves to (be willing to die
for), because they are true rather than because we are exhorted to
"believe and have faith." Such an empirically based Weltanschauung
seems now to be a real possibility, at least in theoretical outline. (p.473)
Self-actualization can take many forms, depending on the individual. These
variations may include the quest for knowledge, understanding, peace,

self-fulfillment, meaning in life, or beauty. For instance, the aesthetic


person operating on this level may feel physically ill when driving past an
ugly array of fast-food restaurants with garish neon signs. But the need for
beauty is neither higher nor lower than the other needs at the top of the
pyramid. Self- actualization needs arent hierarchically ordered.
To become self-actualized, Maslow said we need two things, inner
exploration and action. An important existential problem is posed by the
fact that self-actualizing persons (and all people in their peakexperiences) occasionally live out-of-time and out-of-the- world even
though mostly they must live in the outer world. Living in the inner psychic
world (which is ruled by psychic laws and not by the laws of outer-reality),
i.e., the world of experience, of emotion, of wishes and fears and hopes, of
love of poetry, art and fantasy, is different from living in and adapting to
the non-psychic reality which runs by laws he never made and which are
not essential to his nature even though he has to live by them. (He could,
after all, live in other kinds of worlds, as any science fiction fan knows.)
The person who is not afraid of this inner, psychic world, can enjoy it to
such an extent that it may be called Heaven by contrast with the more
effortful, fatiguing, externally responsible world of "reality," of striving and
coping, of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood. This is true even though
the healthier person can also adapt more easily and enjoyably to the "real"
world, and has better "reality testing," i.e., doesn't confuse it with his inner
psychic world."
5.7.1. Self-actualising Peoples Qualities

According to Maslow (1954), self-actualising people share the following


qualities:
Truth: honest,
completeness

reality,

beauty,

pure,

clean

and

unadulterated

Goodness: rightness, desirability, uprightness, benevolence, honesty


Beauty: rightness, form, aliveness, simplicity, richness, wholeness,
perfection, completion,
Wholeness: unity, integration, tendency to oneness, interconnectedness,
simplicity, organization, structure, order, not dissociated, synergy
Dichotomy-transcendence:
acceptance,
polarities, opposites, contradictions
Aliveness:
functioning

process,

not-deadness,

resolution,

spontaneity,

integration,

self-regulation,

full-

Unique: idiosyncrasy, individuality, novelty


Perfection: nothing superfluous, nothing lacking, everything in its right
place, just-rightness, suitability, justice
Necessity: inevitability: it must be just that way, not changed in any
slightest way
Completion: ending, justice, fulfillment
Justice: fairness, suitability, disinterestedness
Order: lawfulness, rightness, perfectly arranged
Simplicity: nakedness, abstract, essential skeletal, bluntness
Richness: differentiation, complexity, intricacy, totality
Effortlessness: ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty
Playfulness: fun, joy, amusement
Self-sufficiency: autonomy, independence, self-determining

5.8. Transcendence
Self-actualizing people have many such peak experiences and eventually
feel inspired to actively seek them, extend them and stabilize them.
Hence, Maslow added the goal of self-transcendence as the final level, the
capstone of the pyramid. The desire is to go beyond our ordinary human
level of consciousness and experience oneness with the greater whole, the
higher truth, whatever that may be.

6. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ADULT LEARNERS


While each student has individual learning needs, there are some
characteristics that are common to adult learners:
Adults have accumulated life experiences. Adults come to courses with
experiences and knowledge in diverse areas. They tend to favour
practical learning activities that enable them to draw on their prior skills
and knowledge. Adults are realistic and have insights about what is likely
to work and what is not. They are readily able to relate new facts to past
experiences and enjoy having their talents and knowledge explored in a
teaching situation.

Adults have established opinions, values and beliefs which have been
built up over time and arrived at following experience of families,
relationships, work, community, politics, etc. These views cannot be
dismissed and must be respected.
Adults are intrinsically motivated. Learners increase their effort when
motivated by a need, an interest, or a desire to learn. They are also
motivated by the relevance of the material to be addressed and learn
better when material is related to their own needs and interests. For
learners to be fully engaged in learning their attention must be fully
focused on the material presented.
Individual differences. Adults learn at various rates and in different ways
according to their intellectual ability, educational level, personality and
cognitive learning styles. Teaching strategies must anticipate and
accommodate differing comprehension rates of learners.
Adults learn best in a democratic, participatory and collaborative
environment. Adults need to be actively involved in determining how
and what they will learn, and they need active, not passive, learning
experiences.
Adult students are mature people and prefer to be treated as such.
Being 'lectured at' causes resentment and frustration.
Adults are goal oriented / relevancy oriented. Adults need to know why
they are learning something. Adults have needs that are concrete and
immediate. They can be impatient with long discussions on theory and
like to see theory applied to practical problems. They are task or
problem-centred rather than subject-centred. Adults tend to be more
interested in theory when it is linked to practical application.
Adults are autonomous and self-directed. They are self-reliant learners
and prefer to work at their own pace. Individuals learn best when they
are ready to learn and when they have identified their own learning
needs. Where a student is directed by someone else to attend a course,
e.g. by an employer, then that individual may not be ready to learn or
may not see the value in participating on that course. This can lead to a
mismatch of goals between all parties - student, employer and trainer.
Adults are practical and problem-solvers. Adults are more impatient in
the pursuit of learning objectives. They are less tolerant of work that
does not have immediate and direct application to their objectives.

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Problem based learning exercises are welcomed as they build on prior


experience and provide opportunity for practical application of
materials/theories covered.
Adults are sometimes tired when they attend classes. Many students are
juggling classes with work, family, etc. They, therefore, appreciate
varied teaching methods that add interest and a sense of liveliness to
the class (Wynne,2014).

7. THE OBSERVATION
I observed a class including adult learners who are 3th class at the
ukurova University. Their lesson was French that is for new and second
language acquisition. We need to observe teachers in action using their
knowledge in the real setting of the classroom. Classroom observation
gives us the opportunity to see teachers putting this theory into practice:
it shows us what teachers do rather than what they know.

7.1. The teacher and Learners


Firstly, students should be able to choose what they want to learn.
Humanistic teachers believe that students will be motivated to learn a
subject if it's something they need and want to know but in this lesson the
teacher doesnt allow students to choose what they want to learn. As soon
as she took an attendance and after she gave information about final
exam, she started to explain her lesson. Students didnt concentrate on
the lesson. They didnt have any motivation. Therefore; most of students
didnt listen to the subject.
The goal of education should be to foster students' desire to learn and
teach them how to learn. Students should be self-motivated in their
studies and desire to learn on their own. Yes, in this subject, she is right.
She often gave some instructions how they need learn the subjects.
Despite of this, students lost their attention, they dont desire to learn.
They go bored then and started to make noise.
However; humanistic educators believe that grades are irrelevant and that
only self-evaluation is meaningful. Grading encourages students to work
for a grade and not for personal satisfaction. In addition, humanistic
educators are opposed to objective tests because they test a student's
ability to memorize and do not provide sufficient educational feedback to
the teacher and student. According that the teacher mentions about the

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exam, she doesnt watch the students objective evaluation out. This
teacher generally avail the students of their success according to the
exam. This is not suitable the humanistic approach.
Humanistic educators believe that both feelings and knowledge are
important to the learning process. Unlike traditional educators, humanistic
teachers do not separate the cognitive and affective domains and
humanistic educators insist that schools need to provide students with an
environment so that they will feel secure to learn. Once students feel
secure, learning becomes easier and more meaningful. Sometimes the
students didnt understand the subject and they can ask the questions and
the teacher also asks if the students have any questions about the lesson.
For this, the learners feel secure to learn, absolutely.

7.2. The Class Environment


Students learn best in a nonthreatening environment according to
humanism or hierarchy of needs. Students need to feel comfortable and
safe in order to learn most effectively. All educators need to manage their
classrooms in such a way that they create this sort of environment.
Whether you teach preschool, elementary, high school, or college,
knowing how to make a classroom management plan will help you be
intentional in the rules and structure of your classroom. When we take a
look at the lesson, we can see such an environment. She was really
friendly but the students didnt listen to the subject and also they make
the other students to listen. The teacher didnt control the class
management. This is a negative side. For this, Diaz-Rico (2009) states that
because students learn better in supportive, non-threating environment,
several language educators have developed methodologies that make the
learning environment as comfortable as possible and reduce tension
(p.51).

7.3. Materials
Before analyzing the extent to which given teaching and learning
materials are suitable, there are preliminary questions to address. The
materials selected for classroom use can be defined in number of way. In
this class, the teacher didnt have any materials except the book called
Champion. This is missing. Materials are important to draw the students
attention. As I saw, the students didnt again focus on the lesson.

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7.4. Using Classroom Language


Language is powerful means to communicate the deepest and highest
desires, dreams and ideas of humanity. Diaz-Rico (2009) expresses that
language helps us to fulfill our potential, to share our inner selves with
others, or to act upon the world powerfully (p. 1). In the observation, I
realized that the teacher always spoke in French and this encourages the
students speak. Students didnt sometimes understand, then the teacher
used gesture and mimics. This increased their understanding. Students
learned the new vocabularies and structures in this way.

7.5. Feelings
Humanistic approaches promote positive feelings toward learning and
respect for the value of every student, students feel cared for, encourages
and supported us they learn from their successes and failures, make
choices, seek new experiences, work independently, self-concept. Gage
and Berliner (1991) states that feelings are as important as facts and
much work from the humanistic view seems to validate this point and is
one area where humanistic-oriented educators are making significant
contributions to our knowledge base (p.56). In this class, students feel
comfortable and relax because the teacher is not offended or hurt by
thoughtful suggestions for improvement or their mistakes. That is,
students are not confusing thanks to the teachers improvements. They
directly learned the subject, this increases their self- confident.

7.6. Experience
The humanistic perspective focuses attention on the need to understand
unconscious experience and ones sense of self, but difficulties exit in
studying private, subjective experiences and in measuring such core
concepts as self-actualization. In this lesson, the teacher doesnt have the
control of class, every student did they want. The teacher continued the
lesson despite of this.

7.7. Transfer into Learning


Humanist learning theorists view learning as a function of the whole
person and believe that learning cannot take place unless both the
cognitive and affective domains are involved. The individuals capacity for
self-determination is an important part of humanist theory. For example,
humanist theory is used to help post myocardial infarction patients regain
a sense of personal control over their health care management. It is
possible to select elements of each theory that you find useful in patient
teaching.

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All patients grow with success and do better when achievements are
recognized and reinforced. Respecting the whole person in a supportive
environment can encourage learning. Learning is also fostered through
structuring information appropriately and presenting it in meaningful
segments with appropriate feedback.
In this class, the teacher did a general evaluation for their examination.
Therefore; she explained the lesson by following the book, page 38. In the
page, there are similar to questions to ask at the exam. This drew their
attention a little bit.

7.8. Homework
Homework consolidates what they understand by answering the
question or doing tasks. In the classroom, she didnt any homework.

7.9. Teacher and Student Talking Time


She was friendly and therefore both students and the teacher have the
same talking time. The participation of class lesson was high, mostly they
are irrelevant. She didnt do class discussions or peer tutoring. She just
answered the question with students. Sometimes she gave the time to
students to answer them.

8. CONCLUSION
As a conclusion, we can see that the French teacher is sometimes
humanistic or not. She wasnt careful about the hierarchy needs. In a
class, the teacher should be willing to take time outside class to hear
about a students personal life, if this is appropriate in the context of the
school. In addition; the teacher should help students adjusts to school and
to lifes ups and downs, because as Diaz-Rico said, The English learners
may need assistance during their adjustment to language and schooling in
a new culture (p. 54). However; because adults learn at various rates and
in different ways according to their intellectual ability, educational level,
personality and cognitive learning styles, the teacher should behave
suitable for everyone which is the most and strongest job. As I said before;
humanistic people believe that an individual's behavior is connected to
their inner feelings and self-concept. In short; in this class; considering
Maslows theory, we see that the teacher cant apply it to educational
context and more specifically to adult learners.

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9. REFERENCES
Lutz, K. (2014). Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in an Inclusion Classroom.
Retrieved from
http://psed516diversityproject.wikispaces.com/Maslow's+Hierarchy+of+N
eeds+in+an+Inclusion+Classroom-+By+Kaitlin+Lutz

Cherry, K. (2014). Biography of Abraham Maslow. Retrieved from


http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesmz/p/abraham-maslow.htm

Cherry, K.(2014). Hierarchy of needs. Retrieved from


http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.ht
m

Gautam, S.(2007). Maslows eight basic needs and the eight stage
developmental model. Retrieved from http://the-mousetrap.com/2007/12/14/maslows-eight-basic-needs-and-the-eight-stagedevlopmental-model/.

Bamuhigire, O. (2009). The Healing Power of Self-Love. USA: iUniverse Press .

Maslow, A., & Herzeberg, A. (1954). Hierarchy of needs. AH Maslow. ea.,


Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper.

Wynne, R. (2014). Characteristics of Adult Learners. Retrieved from


http://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm.

Diaz-Rico, L.(2009). Teaching English Learners. USA: Pearson.

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Ferris, D. R. & Hedgcock, J. S. (2005). Teaching ESL Composition. London:


Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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