24 June 2015

Maslow’s Theory of Motivation

Abraham Maslow was a foremost Psychologist. He developed a theory (Human Needs) in which he identified seven vital human needs according to level of urgency or exigency. These needs according to the Maslow are:
Maslow (1970) believed that motivation leads to growth and development, and that need, satisfaction is the most important sole factor underlying motivation. Maslow further explained that man is perpetually in need and that the resources to satisfy those needs are limited. In view of this, man places his/her wants on the scale of preference, that he/she selects the most pressing need. After this need has been satisfied, it becomes less important, paving way for the next on the rank.

The needs of man may either be primary or secondary. Primary needs are the physiological wants of man. It may be the need for water, rest, sexual intercourse, hunger and thirst. Secondary needs are the desire for autonomy, affection, or the need for safety and security. For example, the desire of a labourer to take a glass of water after thirst is a primary need. At the same time, craving of the students to stay in a serene classroom environment is a secondary need.


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1. Physiological Needs: 

These are the biological or survival needs of man. They are the most basic needs that control the other needs. Until these needs are fulfilled or satisfied, man will not be able to go to the next level. Examples of these needs are the desire to eat food when hungry, drink water when thirsty or the need for rest, sex, air or to excrete unwanted materials from the body systems. After these survivals needs have been adequately taken care, they become less important and one moves to the next which is the desire for security and safety.

2.  Safety and Security Needs: 

Human beings require safety and protection from danger or external aggressors. After one has successfully dealt with physiological needs, it is desirable to cater for psychological needs. At this point, Man will be thinking of where to live and efforts will be made to keep him/herself from impending dangers, threats or hazards. The hallmark of these needs is the quest by an individual to seek for conducive or peaceful abode. For example, the desire of war victims to migrate from their original country to become refugees in another country is the need for safety and security. Also, a chicken that quickly hibernates under its mother on sighting an eagle did so because of its desire for safety.

3.  Love and Belongingness Needs: 

This involves the aspiration of man to establish a cordial relationship with others. It is the need of man to love and be loved. At this level of need, people will like to extend their hands of fellowship or comradeship to their friends, mates, co-workers or neighbours. They equally will  expect  that such gestures be reciprocated by others. Onyehalu (1988) believes that this need is manifested in our affiliations and friendships.

4.  Achievement Needs: 

Achievement needs are divided into two. These are the need to achieve success and the need to avoid failure or setback. The need to attain success or freedom drives man to go extra miles. This need motivates an individual to emit a behaviour that will make him/her command respect from others.

5.  Self-Esteem Needs

These are the things we desire in order that our ego will be boosted. After the individual has been accorded respect or recognition by others, the next thing for him/her is to start seeking for the things that will make him/her enjoy considerable influence from others. The ability of someone to fulfil this condition makes him/her feel superior and self-confident. Inability to fulfil this need, makes a person feel dejected or inferior.

6.  Aesthetic Needs: 

These needs include the desire of people to pursue or admire beautiful things; their desire for beautiful and expensive cars, houses, materials, gorgeous and  expensive dresses and beautiful surroundings with well trimmed and maintained flowers.

7.  Self-Actualization Needs:

When a person has successfully achieved or gained the most basic needs or wants, then such an individual will want to get a rare opportunity. It is the time when a person will like to distinguish him/herself, by seeking for power or extra-ordinary achievement. At this point, the person is said to have reached the peak of his potentials.

Classroom Implications of Theory of Motivation

  1. It is important for the teacher to know the basic needs of his/her students  and  cater  for  these according  to  level  of  their important. For example, the teacher needs to think first of students‘ food, rest or health before thinking of teaching them.
  2. When the teacher praises his/her students for doing well in their study or assignment, they will be spurred to sustain that effort.
  3. A classroom, which is well decorated or adorned with beautiful charts, and learning materials will be students‘ friendly. The students‘ minds will always be attracted to the activities in a beautifully adorned classroom.
  4. In the classroom, students like being recognized or respected. When their views are recognized or respected, they will have their confidence boosted and developed.
  5. From the beginning of the lesson, the teacher should endeavour to make his/her students know possible outcome of the lesson. It is when the students know what they are likely to achieve from the lesson that their attention will be arrested and sustained.
  6. Feedback is necessary if the interest of the students must be sustained in the classroom. So the teacher should always strive to let them know how they are performing in the teaching- learning activities.
  7. The teacher should also provide/plan for extra-curricular activities for his/her students. When the teacher does this, the students will have opportunity of establishing a genuine interaction among them. Besides, they will be able to display their hidden talents.
  8. When dealing with the students in the classroom, the teacher should take into consideration, the developmental changes and differences in  the  students before  deciding on  the  particular motivation pattern to be employed.

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