The Importance of Establishing a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment

The importance of establishing a safe and supportive learning environment
(insert quote)
Psychologist Abraham Maslow described a hierarchy of needs that he argued provides a model for understanding the need for human relations in the classroom. Needs lower on the pyramid, such as physical and safety needs, must be met before an individual will consider higher-level needs.
The hierarchy of needs from the bottom of the pyramid consists of:
• The physiological need: Is the learning environment comfortable? Am I hungry, thirsty, tired, cold?
• Safety/security: Am I at danger while learning? Am I worried about anything?
• Recognition: Do I belong here, do others respect me?
• Self-esteem: Am I learning something useful?
• Self actualization: I am achieving what I wanted to
When students satisfy their needs at one level, they should be able to progress to the next. Something may set them back a level, but they will keep striving upwards. It is these needs that motivate learning to take place. However, some people may not want to progress through the levels, and may be   quite content where they are   at that moment in their life.

To help students’ motivation, always ensure that the learning environment you create meets your students’ first-level needs. This will enable them to feel comfortable and secure enough to learn and progress to the higher levels. You will need to appreciate that some students may not have these lower needs met in their home lives, making it difficult for them to move on to the higher levels.

Always try to establish a purposeful learning environment where your students feel safe, secure, confident and valued.

Ann Gravells. (2012). Theories of Learning. In: Amy Thornton PREPRING TO TEACH IN THE LIFELONG LEARNING SECTOR. Exeter: Learning Matters. 42.

Some examples on how to translate this to a learning environment could be that the teacher should make sure that the classroom is made comfortable and welcoming. Making sure the...