Abraham Maslow developed a pyramid structure of needs that describe his personality theory. His theory involves 5 steps, starting at the bottom of a pyramid and working there way up. First, is the physiological need, biological needs such as oxygen, water, and a consistent body temperature. Second, is the need for safety. Safety may include have a home, trusting friends, and a secure family life. Third, is the need of love, affection, and belonging. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation. This involves both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging. Next, is the needs for esteem. This includes both self-esteem and esteem from peers. The last is the need for self-actualization, doing what a person was born to do.
After taking a deeper look into Maslow's pyramid, I became interested in reasons why people do not reach the top. One article I found written by Janet Simons, Donald Irwin, and Beverley Drinnien discusses how education can at times stop students from reaching self-actualization. Maslow believes education should be switched from usual person-stunting tactics to person-growing approaches. "Maslow states that educators should respond to the potential an individual has for growing into a self-actualizing person of his/her own kind" (Simmons). Maslow also gives 10 ways that educators can do this:
1. We should teach people to be authentic, to be aware of their inner selves and to hear their inner-feeling voices.
2. We should teach people to transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens.
3. We should help people discover their vocation in life, their calling, fate or destiny. This is especially focused on finding the right career and the right mate.
4. We should teach people that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life, and if people are open to seeing the good and joyous in all kinds of situations, it makes life worth living.
5. We must accept the person as he or she is and help the person learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations we can know what to build upon, what potentials are really there.
6. We must see that the person's basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, belongingness, and esteem needs.
7. We should refreshen consciousness, teaching the person to appreciate beauty and the other good things in nature and in living.
8. We should teach people that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad. It takes control to improve the quality of life in all areas.
9. We should teach people to transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, of pain, suffering, and death.
10. We must teach people to be good choosers. They must be given practice in making good choices.
If all educators followed this 10 step guideline, then young people would feel free to express themselves and not hold back. Starting at a young age, kids go to school and are taught things one way. Not all people learn at the same pace,and some people learn better by seeing or hearing. We go to school and think we have to graduate high school and then go to college in order to be successful. If people were taught to believe in themselves and strive to accomplish what really makes them happy, then the fifth need of self-actualization would come more naturally. people would still go to college because there are still going to be people who want to be doctors. I think more people would like school of they felt they could express themselves without feeling they are wrong.