The Power of Three

6th March 2014

The power of three – Triangles Part 1

Despite all the fashionable fads and whims in education some ideas endure through it all. If they do it is because they make sense and have a resonance for teachers in their practice. Maslow’s pyramid is one such enduring idea. It has shaped my work for the best part of three decades, and should always be at the forefront of the EAL teacher’s mind.

In case Maslow has passed you by, in a nut-shell, we cannot learn if certain social, emotional and physical prerequisites are not met. We easily understand that students need to be not sleepy, not hungry, not hot and not cold. We also can recognise the need for physical safety, though for refugee children some situations can seem more scary than we realise. Loud bangs, mental maths games where teachers pretend to be shooting with a gun, banging doors, can all trigger memories we can only imagine, and make school seem unsafe. Our students also need to feel emotionally safe which can be harder to achieve.