Maslow’s them if need be. How, where

Maslow’s Hierarchy of
needs was taught at school but I did not link its application to learning and
achievement up until recently and therein lies the answer to my own personal
learning. I never learnt to apply studied concepts and theory to practice. Most
students from my generation with similar educational back grounds echo this
sentiment. It was and continues to be the biggest drawback of the Indian
education ‘one size fits all’ system. Standardized testing determined
everything, and the aptitude of a student was not recognized outside of this
format. Rote learning unlike retrieval based learning (an effective but
underused practice) is memorization which encouraged cramming and forgetting
rather than lifelong learning.

Based on my own struggles
as a student, I feel  experiential
learning methodologies developed by Ron Fry and popularized by education
theorist David A. Kolb, should replace the learning without understanding
system. As President Jim Yong Kim (World Bank Group) says about this ‘schooling
without learning’ form of education, “This learning crisis is a moral and
economic crisis. When delivered well, education promises young people
employment, better earnings, good health, and a life without poverty. Schooling
without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great
injustice to children worldwide.” To bridge this gap between theory and
practice the four key experiential learning elements (Concrete experience,
Reflective observation, Abstract conceptualization, Active experimentation)
play a crucial role.

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Students must be
encouraged to participate actively, air their views understand concepts, know
their relevance and application in the real world, and have the confidence to
question them if need be. How, where and when they will/can use the curriculum
being taught should be an integral part of their learning. Supporting active
exploration, creativity and learning should be the goal rather than passivity
of lecture based attendance and textbook reading.

The widely accepted assessment
format, which is dependent solely upon the answering of questions in a
stringently controlled examination format, should be amended to accommodate all
types of learners.


Research indicates that
“academic achievement and student behavior are influenced by the quality of the
teacher and student relationship” (Jones 95). So having a positive
student-teacher relationship (my big motivator) not only facilitates learning,
but impacts and influences a students’ academic and social development greatly.
Although only improving this relationship will not produce academic gains,
however students who have a positive and supportive relationship with their
teachers definitely attain higher levels of achievement than those with a
constrained relationship.