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Educational Learning Theories: Chapter 11 Introduction

Chapter 11 Introduction

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Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970) was born on April 1, 1908, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia who were rather uneducated. Maslow was the sole Jewish boy in his neighborhood; therefore, he was unhappy and lonesome throughout the majority of his childhood. Maslow also had problems within his home. His father continually degraded him and pushed him to excel in areas that were of no interest to him. His mother also treated him poorly. Because of this Maslow wanted no interaction with his parents. Maslow perceived his mother as being entirely insensitive and unloving.

After a difficulty childhood, Maslow was able to obtain a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1934. After he received his Ph.D. in 1934, he continued to teach at the University of Wisconsin. Maslow theorized that humans have several inborn needs that were the basis for his theory of motivation on the hierarchy of needs. Furthermore, he believed that the needs are ranked in terms of a hierarchy. Nonhumans can possess the lower, more basic needs also, but only humans may possess the higher needs. First, physiological needs are related to survival. These necessities include food, water, elimination, sex, and sleep. If one of these needs is not achieved, it will rule the individual's life. Maslow believed that most humans achieve these needs easily. After one need is met, the individual moves onto the next level. However, Maslow stressed that a person can experience periodic times of hunger or thirst and still move onto higher levels, but the individual's life cannot be dominated by just one need.

Safety needs appear when physiological needs are fulfilled. These are the needs for structure, order, security, and predictability. Reducing uncertainty is the chief objective at this stage. Individuals are free from danger, fear, and chaos when the safety needs are adequately met. Affiliation is the next level after the physiological and safety needs are attained. This level includes the need for friends, family, identification with a group, and a personally intimate relationship. A person may experience feelings of solitude and emptiness if these needs are not quenched. The esteem needs will follow only if one has achieved the physiological, safety, and belongingness needs. In this stage, approval must come from earned respect and not from fame or social status. Acceptance and self-esteem originate from engaging in activities that are deemed as being socially constructive. An individual may possess feelings of inferiority if the esteem needs are not reached.

If the previous needs are sufficiently met, a person now has the opportunity to become self-actualized. However, self-actualization is an exceptional feat since it so rarely occurs. A person who reaches this stage strives for growth and self- improvement. According to Maslow, the majority of people advance through the hierarchy of needs from the bottom up, in an orderly fashion.