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Psychology in Secondary Education

Humanistic education is made up of loosely related assumptions and techniques. The movement emerged as a reaction against prevailing approaches in education. It happened during a time in American history when there was dissatisfaction with many aspects of our society as well as a distrust of authority. The view stressed that humans control much of their own behavior, and parents and teachers should allow freedom for children to explore and develop. This view was proposed by three eminent psychologists: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Arthur Combs.

In the humanistic approach to learning, teachers are encouraged to create a classroom environment that address students’ needs and helps them develop a positive attitude about themselves and others. The non-cognitive values of emotions, values and self-perception are stressed. Techniques used in teaching this approach are the use of role-playing, values clarification and abolishing the traditional grading system.

Teachers are encouraged to allow students to make choices and to manage their own learning. It is also important to establish a warm and positive atmosphere in the classroom. The teacher should also serve as a facilitator and helper and use object lessons in the classroom as well as setting a good example for her or his students.

I believe that there are many ways that I could facilitate the humanistic approach in my classroom. One way is to collaborate with students in designing classroom rules at the beginning of the year. Another possibility is for students to give suggestions on various topics they would like to research either as an individual or in a group.

As a teacher I believe it is important to make the students feel valuable and cared for. Being able to call a student by his or her name is an important way to build a relationship. One way to learn students’ names quickly would be to take pictures of each student at the beginning of the year as a quick referral point. Greeting each student at the door at the beginning of the period with a smile and positive comment helps build a positive relationship with students. Letting students know your office hours at school if they need to talk to you about a situation can also be helpful. Giving a variety of choices to do for a project lets students help with decision- making. Placing a suggestion box in the classroom for ideas or concerns without students signing their name can create a safe and caring environment.

In the local school that I have worked with, the chorus participates in a number of civic activities such as singing at care facilities or at the hospital Christmas party. I believe these activities help students become sensitive to the needs of others as well as becoming a role model for other students.

I know there are other ways that I can encourage the humanistic approach in my classroom. By doing so, I will instill some of the best values my students will need as they become valuable assets to society.

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