How does your school community tend to the pre-conditions of a healthy social environment (i.e., freedom to speak, freedom to defend one’s ideas, freedom to express, fairness, honesty)?
How does your school provide opportunities for students and staff to gather, to work around, and to solve issues of the school community?
What would it take for your school community to shift from wanting to be the best in the district, county, etc. to being the best “for” the district, county, etc.?
Hello! I’m Julie McDaniel-Muldoon, Safety and Well-Being Consultant at Oakland Schools. I created the Supportive Strategies Series with 3-minute episodes of strategies I think might be helpful to you, especially during this extraordinary time. These short and sweet episodes are based on research and best practice. Episode 3: Maslow with Fresh Eyes. Let’s begin.
In previous episodes we have looked at safety and belonging from a neurobiological lens. The brains first seeks safety and then belonging. Once these are perceived to be secure, the brain can learn.
Let’s look at this from the lens of psychology. In the 1940s, Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, created a hierarchy of needs. It was based on the premise that the basic needs- physiological and safety- must be mostly satisfied before individuals are able to meet the psychological needs of belonging and self-esteem. When psychological needs are mostly satisfied, humans can reach self-actualization. Although Maslow’s Hierarchy is often presented in triangle, his theory allowed a flexibility that might better be represented as a ladder.
Twenty years after his seminal piece, Maslow suggested that self-actualization allowed individuals to transcend personal concerns into a community perspective. We begin to see ourselves as a part of a greater whole. It allows strong positive emotions like joy, peace, and a well-developed sense of awareness. The means are greater than the end, the perspective moves from individual (growth) mindset to community (benefit) mindset, there is a desire and power to make a difference in the world. In sum, it is a shift from wanting to be the best “in” the world to wanting to be the best “for” the world.
All of this content is based on solid research and best practice. Please contact me for references, more resources, and suggested topics for future episodes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maslow, A. H. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York, NY, US: Arkana/Penguin Books.
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
McDaniel-Muldoon, JE (2019, July 23). (A Sense of) Safety First. International Bullying Prevention Association Blog and News. Retrieved from https://ibpaworld.org/blog/a-sense-of-safety-first/.
McIntyre, S. (2007, February 16). Maslow’s Theory Revisited. Greater Good Science Center Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/maslows_theory_revisited.
Rutledge, P. (2011). Social Networks: What Maslow Missed. Retrieved from https://mprcenter.org/blog/2011/11/social-networks-what-maslow-misses/