Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applied to the classroom setting

Table of Content

Maslow hierarchy of needs can be a very useful tool for every teacher. Maslow proposed that people have five different sets of needs, listed below, and these can be applied in the classroom to increase students’ performance.

Physiological needs: All persons require to satisfy needs associated with their immediate physical survival, such as need for food, water, rest etc. Therefore, teachers need to take into consideration such needs and for example they make sure that every so often they assign some group work where the students are required to stand up and change place. This avoids the students from getting fidgety. Also, it is essential that teachers do not conduct extra lessons during the break, since students need breaks to eat and move around. If the break is denied, students would not be concentrated during the lesson.

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Safety needs: Students need to feel safe and secure, thus it is essential that teachers develop a warm classroom environment, which is free of risks (such as broken chairs, windows etc).

Love and Belongingness Needs: Obviously, we all seek affectionate relationships with others and like to feel accepted. Thus, teachers must ensure that there is a good teacher-students relationship and they must make sure that they do no preferences. Students need to feel that they belong to a community (class). Also, related to this need, teachers have the duty to report any serious fights between friends to the guidance since such friendship problems may lead to low students’ academic performance.

Esteem needs: People have the following two needs, to have a good self-esteem and to be respected by others. Teachers need to show their students that they believe in them, in order to increase the students’ self esteem. Praise is also a valuable tool when it comes to increasing once self-esteem.

Self-Actualisation Needs: People feel the need to realize themselves. Thus teachers need to provide the students with activities that are challenging and allow the students to use their potential to acquire the required knowledge.

Finally, it is important to note that the lower needs (starting from physical needs) need to be satisfied first.

Competition and collaboration in the learning process.

“Competition increases performance, but collaboration increases learning.” (Marshall, 2001, p.1). In our schools competition is an outstanding characteristic, which can have a negative effect on the learning process. However, some consider competition to be healthy since it might encourage students to do their best thus increasing performance. In classrooms, competition will immediately set a winner condemning the rest of the class to be losers, hence feeling demotivated (Marshall, 2001). Unconsciously, teachers tend to create such situation by for example asking inappropriate questions, such as ‘Let’s see who can make the best project’.

Another example showing the negative aspects of competitions are exams. In Malta, society gives great importance to examinations such that students started focusing more on the grade rather than on the importance of learning. Consequently, teachers should avoid assessing students through tests during a scholastic year. This type of competition can be very dangerous especially during early school days (Marshall, 2001). Concluding that “competitive approaches kill the drive for learning […] [and opposes collaboration]” (Marshall, 2001, p.1) teachers should be encouraged to emphasize more on collaboration.

Collaboration is more beneficial to the learning process since it allows sharing of information. Teachers interested in a collaborative approach should encourage group work. During group work students are given the opportunity to share knowledge, ideas and believes. Apart from the above, group work makes the ” […] curriculum objectives come alive” (Tinzmann, Jones, Fennimore, Bakker, Fine, & Pierce, 1990) and it ensures that everyone has a possibility to participate and take responsibility of his or her learning. Further more, group work assign a single mark per group avoiding that low achievers attain always low marks. Surely, group work requires a certain classroom setting where all the students in one group are able to see each other.

To conclude, I would like to point out that teachers should assign more group work tasks even though this might require more work.

Reference List

Marshall, M. (2001). Collaboration for quality learning. Retrieved June 10, 2005, from

Tinzmann, M.B., Jones, B.F., Fennimore, T.F., Bakker, J., Fine, C., & Pierce, J. (1990).

What Is the collaborative classroom? Retrieved June 10, 2005, from

Arousal and motivation in the learning process, especially among children with behavioural difficulties.

In today’s technological based world, it is becoming more and more difficult for teachers to motivate their students. Unquestionable, children with behavioural difficulties are more difficult to motivate thus they frequently tend to be in a low arousal state.

In order for students to attain educational success they need to be motivated. Being able to stimulate students’ desire to engage in the learning process is not easy, especially when it comes to students with behavioural difficulties. Still, teachers need to put into practice the right techniques in order to succeed to motivate their students.

When trying to motivate students, teachers need to keep in mind that there are external and internal factors that affect students’ motivation. (Bull, 1999) Hence it is either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation occurs when the environment external to the learner is manipulated and this usually manifests in positive and negative reinforcement. On the contrary, intrinsic motivation comes from within the student and occurs when the student’s curiosity is stimulated. Positively, teachers should opt for intrinsic motivation especially when it comes to students with behavioural difficulties. Teachers can benefit from intrinsic motivation if they teach constructively.

The basic principle of constructionism, which is the application of constructivism in the classroom, is to stimulate students’ curiosity by stimulating them to discover new knowledge and solve interesting problems. Such approach requires that teachers make use of several resources (right stimulus) such as diagrams, tangible objects, all sorts of multimedia and much more. Surely, such resources will increase students’ curiosity.

Teachers applying such approach, will also succeed to eliminate students’ fear of being unfairly assessed, since it uses formative assessment. Apart from this, new knowledge will be continuously associated to previous knowledge and mainly explained in a real life context. Finally and most importantly, constructionism allows group work and makes learning fun.

To conclude, such approach will motivate the students especially those with behavioural problems and with high arousal seeking needs, helping them to success in their learning.

Reference List

Bull, K.S. (1999). Classroom motivation. Retrieved June 10, 2005, from

Approaches to establishing an optimum level of performance among students.

Unquestionably teachers’ main aim should be that of establishing an optimum level of performance among their students, and this is vital especially when teaching students at risk. Unfortunately there is not one simple method to achieve the above since there are multitude factors that effect students’ academic performance, and these are different for every student (Kappa Delta Pi, 2003). In the following paragraphs, I am going to give a brief description of some approaches which can be adopted in order to increase students performance.

First and foremost, teachers should ensure that there is a good ‘classroom climate’ which include both classroom environment and teacher-students relationship. Definitely, an unpleasant classroom will surely demotivate students, decreasing their desire to learn. Similar occurs when there is a poor teacher-students relationship, since students need to feel valued by their teacher.

Secondly, it is important that teachers adopt the right teaching strategies in order to increase motivation. Lessons should be interactive where the students feel free to participate. Also students need to feel that what they are learning is relevant to their life, thus teachers should preferably engage in drill and practice activities. By providing an abundance of educational resources, such as multimedia, models, speakers etc., will also help in achieving an optimum level of performance. A good use of resources will help to obtain a variety in the lessons delivered.

Thirdly, teachers should recognize that encouragement plays an important role when it comes to students’ performance. Teachers should praise (positive reinforcement) their students and if possible assign effort grades. Consequently, students will be able to make a connection between their work and their success. Apart from this, teachers need to show to their students that they believe in them and they are positive that they will succeed.

Fourthly, it might be helpful if the teachers establish a good relationship with the students’ family since collaboration from home is essential for the students’ performance. Lastly but very important, teachers need to set realistic goals in order for the students not to be disappointed.

Reference List

Kappa Delta Pi. (2003). Classroom teacher’s role in preventing school failure. Retrieved

June 10, 2005, from

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