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Humanistic Learning Theory

Key Proponents: Dr. Abraham H. Maslow and Dr. Carl Rogers

Philosophy Education as human development and

personal growth. Focus on these will
naturally enhance and increase intellectual and
academic achievement and prepare students to
contribute to global as well as local
communities (Johnson 2). Maslow believed
that education should be an intrinsic journey to
self-actualization and finding ones passion.
Rogers held the belief that the goal of
education must be the facilitation of change
and learning, Changingness, a reliance on
process rather than upon static knowledge, is
the only thing that makes any sense as a goal
for education in the modern world (21).

Maslows hierarchy of needs created a basis

Psychology for the psychology of the Humanistic Learning
Theory. Students must participate in an
Crash Course in Humanistic Psychological educational environment that fulfills these
Theory stages in order for learning to exist and
flourish. In FREEDOM TO LEARN by Carl
Rogers, he focuses upon seeing the student as
a whole person and on the attitudes of the
teacher rather than the methods of the
instructor in order to facilitate self-
actualization. In Rogerss research, he found
that students felt safer in their environment,
actually began to enjoy learning, and scored
higher on testing (even though this is not what
is seen as the main goal of humanistic
education) when they were freed from rote
learning and the stress of meeting a set of pre-
existing, homogeneous standards.
Sociology Although this theory is deeply individualistic,
its goals remain rooted in societal aims. Carl
Rogers phrased this as. How does it happen
that the deeper we go into ourselves as
particular and unique, seeking for our own
individual identity, the more we find the
whole human species? Maslow utilized this
quote to express how the study of ones own
passions further connects us to other human
beings on a similar path. The belief that
humans are essentially good and have a desire
to learn, grow, and innovate connects us all.
Conception of Literacy Literacy as critical reflection of experiences to
reach self-awareness/self-actualization in
Thumb of my leg; a humanist approach order to become effective and contributing
to bilingual deaf literacy | Danielle Billing members of society. Literacy is seen as skills,
| TEDxTwinFalls like social interaction, communication, and
critical-thinking, that have been facilitated
through individual experience and personal
Attitude towards Education Education is seen as a natural human need for
growth, innovation, elevation, and self-
exploration. Learning is seen as a joy, and
personalized to enhance the strengths of an
individual in order to problem solve around
weakness areas. Education is seen as a means
to discover ones passions and have the
guidance and resources needed to pursue those
interests and become effective, happy, and
fulfilled members of the society as a whole.
Curriculum Johnson explains the supporting principles of
Humanistic Education included in a
curriculum design which is student-centred:

1. Students learning should be as self-directed

as possible.
2. The subject matter should be relevant to the
lives or personal interests of the students.
3. The full spectrum of the human experience
should be included in the educational
4. Schools should produce students who want
to learn and know how to learn.
5. Students learn best in a non-threatening
Pedagogy Teachers are seen as guides helping students
on their path to self-actualization. Rogers
states that teachers must have a genuineness
about them and have an unconditional positive
regard for their students. The emphasis is on
the Teacher-Student relationship and that
teachers provide students with the
environment, tools, support, and opportunities
needed to actualize their passions and pursue
them further. The classroom is seen as a
choose your own adventure with teacher as
the informational guide along the way helping
the student unlock new levels on their
educational journey towards self-actualization.
Tools Technology is an effective tool as it enables
students to become self-directed learners and
as a resource to enhance interests. This
learning theory is also heavily involved in
experiential learning, meaning that field-trips,
classroom experiments, project-based
learning, modes of self-expression, multi-
modality, are all means to the same end.
Humanistic learning is about giving students
the opportunity to experience the diversity of
tools at their disposal in order for them to
choose which ones they would like to optimize
in certain learning situations.
Evaluation Self-evaluation is a learned skill that once
achieved is the highest form of evaluation
within this learning theory. Also, group-work
is utilized to help students learn how to engage
with others and experience shared learning
experiences. Standardized testing is seen as
negating the goals of the humanistic learning
practice and individualized rubrics and tests
are co-created between student and teacher
and are seen as evaluation tools that promote
the joy of learning and personal intellectual
1. To facilitate the development of fully
functioning, self-actualized human
beings who have the capacity to
nurture themselves, others, and their
2. To instill a joy of learning and a desire
to be life-long learners
3. To promote the discovery of each
students passions, special talents, and
(Curated by Johnson from DeCarvalho, 4. To teach them the knowledge and
Maslow, Morris, Rogers, and Patterson) skills necessary for students to be good
decision makers and effective problem
5. To enable students to be responsible
world citizens who are able to
contribute to democratic societies

Works Cited
ITS SOUL." N.p., n.d. Web.
Maslow, Abraham H. Some Educational Implications of the Humanistic Psychologies. 4th ed. Vol. 38.
N.p.: Harvard Educational Review, 1968. Print. Fal 1968.
Patterson, Cecil Holden. "Chapter 5: Carl Rogers and Humanistic Education." Foundations for a
Theory of Instruction and Educational Psychology. N.p.: Harper & Row, 1977. N. pag. Print.