How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Your Classroom

Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs does not apply only in your personal life but also in your teaching.

Your students also need to have their needs met and here are some ways to make sure you meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in your classroom.

Upon reflection, Maslow’s theory is very brain based and if we can apply it in the classroom and not just know it as a theory, students will feel complete and have a better shot at excelling.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


 Physiological Needs

  • Don’t take away their snacks and lunch time.
  • Allow rest room breaks.
  • Educate them on proper nutrition.
  • Allow them to drink water in your class.
  • Have systematic breaks to let your students digest the information.
Safety Needs
  • Educate the kids on safety procedures in school.
  • Have regular earthquake and fire drills.
  • Enforce rules that prevent bullying.
  • Teach students how to handle bullying.
  • No physical or verbal abuse from peers.
  • Make learning fun.
  • Do not threaten your students.
Belongingness and Love Needs
  • Treat students as if they were your children.
  • Cultivate class rapport and bonding through games and activities.
  • Encourage students to participate in sports and non academic activities.
  • Maintain a positive attitude in class.
  • Inject humor in your lessons.
  • Know your students well. Address them by their name.
  • Have a good working relationship with the parents of your students.
Esteem Needs
  • Praise your students for the specific good thing they did or said.
  • Display their work on the walls in your classroom.
  • Recognize the achievements of your students. Declare it with pride to the class.
  • Encourage them to do better when they fail.
  • Have high expectations and let them know it so that they will strive to reach your expectations.
  • Do not compare them with their classmates.


  • Provide challenging work that taps their creativity.
  • Allow them to make choices in projects and assignments and to pursue their interests.
  • Cultivate an atmosphere of innovation and self reflection in your class.
  • Treat each student as a unique individual.
Connell (2005) Brain Based Strategies to Reach Every Learner, Scholastic Inc., USA


Your turn!

How do you meet your student’s needs in the class? Add on to the list above by sharing your tips in the comments below 🙂

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Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at


  1. A great post! I find it difficult to teach students whose basic needs are not being met. Many of my students can barely hold their heads up during the day. I only get them for 6 hours a day, unfortunately I have no control over the other 18 hours. But I will do the best I can to make sure their basic needs are met. After all, a starving child won’t learn math facts!

  2. “Allow them to make choices in projects and assignments and to pursue their interests.” I can’t help but agree on this. Interest-based learning should be part and parcel of 21st century education.

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