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What is the relevance of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of need in today's world?

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I can think of one important application of Maslow's hierarchy of needs in today's society.  As we teach students, we can gain insight into their struggles if we understand Maslow's theory.  The lowest needs on the pyramid must be met in order for a student to learn properly.  The student who is hungry cannot concentrate.  The student who is homeless is likely to be too troubled to learn. The student who is not safe is too anxious to sit and read a book.  If these lower needs are not met, there can be no learning, and it continues to amaze me that American education has not addressed these problems, stubbornly believing that standardized tests and a common set of standards make students learn.  If you are tired, hungry, frightened, and cold, how much learning are you going to be able to accomplish? I know teachers who allow students to nap for this reason. I know teachers who bring food for their students.  They understand that no matter what they do, if the students' lower needs on the pyramid are not met, they cannot move up the pyramid. Moving further up, the students whose social needs are not being met are not going to be able to accomplish enough to gain self-esteem or become self-actualized.  If a student has a dysfunctional family or is the victim of bullying, that interferes with learning.  Good teachers understand this as well.  At each level of the pyramid, the needs must be met, so that a student can move on to real learning. The fact that a theory was devised a long time ago does not necessarily mean it has lost its power!

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