Maslow’s Hierarchy in Education

As I scrolled through my Twitter feed a few weeks back, I stumbled upon THIS¬†great article about Maslow’s hierarchy and how it might be extrapolated to the classroom setting. I had to admit, I was interested.

For most educators, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is not new or revolutionary, and so the pyramid itself was not the a-ha for me. My a-ha came from the realization that many teachers and leaders, all of whom were at least acquainted with Maslow at some point in their studies, forget to incorporate routines or structures in their day that allow for the meeting of basic needs for learners and collaborators.

In any case, I appreciated both the “educationalization” of the pyramid so that it might be applied to classroom use and the very friendly provision of some guiding self-reflection questions. For each tier, basic suggestions are shared about how to meet needs at each level. This could apply to classrooms or faculty gatherings. Also provided are some good “Questions to ask myself” that help a practitioner to become more self-reflective about where they might stand in the ordering of things for each level of the pyramid. An interesting twist could be to educate students about the levels and the indicators for each level, and then lead them through some reflective dialoguing about their status or state of mind/being on a weekly basis. With all of the discussions “out there” about grit, metacognition, self-regulation and self-efficacy, this would appear to be a ¬†slam-dunk way to engage students in meaningful thinking about how they are learning within the context of how they are doing in terms of their needs being met. As the research shows, this is precisely the kind of reflective practice that helps students develop long-term skill sets that set them up for future success in “the real world.”