Monday, November 30, 2009

Rediscovering Maslow's Hierachy of needs...

I felt really challenged by Norman Kunc’s (1992) article on Maslow’s Hierarchy. I have mixed thoughts on this subject. On the one hand I believe in inclusion and the acceptance of all individuals for who they are and the richness, whether seen or unseen, that they bring to society and our community. On the one hand I am not sure whether our education system which is tossed around by government economic rationalism can provide the support for students with disabilities into classrooms. Surely there is some balance to be found between full inclusion and complete segregation.
Kunc, himself says that schools are a reflection of our society and so are governments. I hear his views when he speaks about the alienation those individuals, of all walks of life, experience and the need for greater levels of acceptance in our societies beyond just what achievement / success can provide. Do we not remember more fondly people who have taken the time to get to know us, have seen our potential or have provided acceptance when others haven’t? I long for a society that is more tolerant, accepting and seek deeper levels of connectedness rather than personal gain and self interest. I am now starting to understand the popularity of Face book,MSN, Skype, Blogging, etc; I see that this is a 21st century another way of being connected and belonging?
I myself comes from a close family background belonging for me is an important aspect of my personal life. I guess in an Early Childhood field it is important to ensure young students to feel that they belong (this is must in the beginning of the student schooling).
The article does highlight for me, as others have stated in the forum, the importance of acceptance through positive staff / student relationships is required for true learning to occur and for the individual student to grow as a person.


Kunc, N. (1992). The Need to Belong: Rediscovering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Baltimore, Paul H. Brookes Publishers


  1. Hi Mary Ann
    I agree with your thoughts on this issue as when I first read the article my initial reaction was to think how this would affect the learning experience for the whole class. Many parents of children with learning issues in Singapore hire a 'shadow support specialist' through an agency. These shadows are not teachers but rather part timers who are trained as they go to deal with each individual childs needs. They accompany the child to class and provide assistance to the teacher and/or child to support their learning while not taking the teacher's focus away from the class as a whole.
    Here is their website if you are interested to read more:

  2. Thanks Michele,
    Sorry I missed your comment.
    It is hard to find the balance between inclusion/belonging and trying to insure to have students educational needs are being covered. Ensuring student success in all areas of developments is another thing.Parents wishes sometimes are oppose to the teachers.
    As an Early Childhood Educator I find students don't excell unless they are happy.
    Cheers Mary-Ann