Every single student has basic needs and their basic needs have to be met to make the learning possible. The students will be able to learn well if their needs are met. In 1954, an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow developed his theory of hierarchy known as Hierarchy of Needs. This one is known as a way of organizing the basic needs of students on different levels. Talking about this theory, apparently, this one applies especially to those with exceptionality. The reason is because the needs of the students with exceptionality are harder to meet.
About Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
There are a total of five levels to the Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow. The physiological needs are on the first level. There is no way to move to the next level if the first level is not met. In this level, some basic necessities of life are included, including food, water, and shelter.
Once the first level is secured, the students will go to the second level of this theory, which is safety needs. It is needed for every student to feel safe in the environment in which they are learning. There should be no threats. Keep in mind that the level of safety will not be met if the students think that they could potentially be harmed.
The third level of this theory is love and belonging needs. These ones relate to human interaction. There are friendships and family bonds (including biological family and chosen family) in love and belonging needs. As for the physical and emotional intimacy, it ranges from sexual relationships to intimate emotional bonds.
The fourth one is esteem needs, which include self esteem and self respect. These needs include the ones that indicate self confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge, and independence. If the esteem needs are fulfilled, people can get self confidence, in addition to strength and capability of being useful in the organization. On the other hand, if these needs are not fulfilled, they can lead to inferiority, weakness and helplessness.
As for the last one, it is self-actualization needs. Self-actualization needs are the kinds of needs that describe the fulfillment of the potential as an individual. That’s why it is also known as self fulfillment needs. These needs top the pyramid of this theory by Abraham Maslow. All the needs included in this level include education, skill development (such as music, athletics, design, cooking, and gardening), caring for others, and broader goals such as learning a new language, traveling to new places, and winning award
What is the correlation between the Hierarchy of Needs by Maslow relate and learning?
For those who are wondering what is the correlation between the Hierarchy of Needs and learning, they are related through motivation. The students need to be motivated to learn in order to succeed in the classroom. When every level of this theory is met, as stated by McLeod, the students will be at their full potential for learning. For instance, they would not be able to study in the classroom if their stomach is empty and they would be afraid of dying from starvation. In order to maximize the learning, their needs have to be fulfilled. Basically, the students whose hierarchy is higher can meet more levels, meaning they get better motivation and they get more learning experience.
Theory of needs in application
If you are a teacher, you are suggested to consider Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow for every student in the classroom. This theory is especially needed for those with exceptionalities and specific practices in the classroom. Separating those with special needs is not recommended as it will not provide a sense of belonging. Therefore, make sure to include these students in the last restrictive environment possible. For instance, if there is a student who lacks in English tests, you should not put them into a separate special education classroom. Instead, please put them in a general education English classroom with the proper support so that they can succeed.
In order to give the students with exceptionalities a sense of belonging, you are encouraged to use universal design. With it, you will be allowed to plan ahead of time so that you can avoid any disasters for a student with a physical or intellectual disability. For instance, if there is a student who uses a wheelchair, before the school starts, it is better for you to make the classroom as handicap accessible as possible. By doing so, that student will not feel strange or left out and they will feel normal because they will be able to move anywhere in the classroom just like the normal ones do.
Aside from that, the universal design can also be used with the students who have IEPs. For instance, if such a student says that they need a study guide three days before an assessment, you can give the study guide for them and for all the students in the class. By following the suggestion, every student will get the same advantage and the ones with exceptionality will never be different compared to the others. By treating them the same, those with the exceptionality will have a better sense of belonging.
A good teacher is the one that is able to recognize the strengths of every student and hand them a hand to be good at those areas by providing them with a sense of worth. This kind of thing relates to the esteem level of this theory. Every student needs a sense of esteem, especially the ones with disabilities. When you are in the classroom, you can do it by providing differentiated instruction and a few examples that may interest each student. Besides, you can also try to ask a certain question about a concept that you think the students know well. By doing so, all the students are active in the class. Not only that, they are also getting feedback.