Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A New Look at Maslow's Hierarchy

Photo appears courtesy of Abraham-Maslow.com
I read a thought-provoking article in Education Week that I wanted to share with you entitled, "Maslow's Hierarchy Hits Home" by David Ginsburg.

We are taught Maslow's Hierarchy in college, in what seems like class after class, and we are all familiar with it's concept, but Ginsburg asks you to compare where you are at vs. where you think an individual student is at in the hierarchy. Sometimes we think we know why a particular student acts in a certain way, but did we honestly try and figure out "why" they are acting that way? Do we then try and help the student develop a plan to overcome that issue?

Here's what Ginsgurg wrote about his early struggles as an urban teacher:
Just six weeks in, and with my classroom already up for grabs, insult and injury came when I was decked by a stray elbow while trying to break up a fight in class. As it turned out, though, this physical blow was far less staggering than the emotional one I sustained just five minutes later. On my way downstairs for an icepack, I looked out the window and saw a young man's body in a pool of blood. I never felt more hopeless.

The big question, then: How did I restore hope? And the answer begins with Abraham Maslow. More specifically, his hierarchy of needs, which comes up in one education course after another. But did you ever think it would have real implications for you in the classroom? I didn't--until I told a colleague how hopeless I felt, and he replied, "Maslow's hierarchy." (Please read the rest of the article by clicking HERE)
Reflecting upon Maslow's Hierarchy will help you consider how a student's needs and lives differ from your own and how this is the beginning step in addressing their needs. As the author thinks of Maslow's Hierarchy from an instructional point of view, I hope you will also think of it from an assessment point of view. Establishing rapport with examinees will help you understand their needs and to allow them to perform at their highest level. Take the time to talk to examinees and ask how their day is going. If you have concerns, postpone the assesment and talk with instructors to discuss the best time for testing.

Also read:
"Establishing Rapport with Examinees"
"Tips on Building a Successful Testing Program
"Test Anxiety"

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