humanism learning theory
Two definitions are central to this entry: humanism and learning. Humanism focuses on human beings being free to act and control their own destinies. It centers on human values, interests, capacities, needs, worth, and dignity. It is a belief that people have an unlimited potential for growth and development and that they are inherently good. Individuals have the ability to determine for themselves truth and falsehood through rational and empirical thought. Learning refers to the acquisition of new knowledge, behaviors, skills, and values through a process of study, practice, and/or experience. It is a “process by which behavior is changed, shaped, or controlled” (Knowles et al. 1998 , p. 13).
Abraham H. Maslow, who is considered the father of humanistic psychology, has had a significant impact on the development of learning theory. He was arguably one of the most influential psychologists.
Humanistic approaches to learning are based on the principles of humanism and are founded most notably on the work of Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) and Carl Rogers (1902–1987). They center on the learner as an individual and consider that learning is not just about the intellect, but also about educating the “whole person,” taking a person’s interests, goals, and enthusiasm into account, so that full potential can be achieved. This approach to learning is student centered, with learners encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and being intrinsically, rather than extrinsically motivated. The primary goal of a humanistic education is human well-being, including the primacy of human values, the development of human potential, and the acknowledgment of human dignity.
Defining humanism as a philosophy is problematic. However, it is generally accepted.
In the classroom
Humanistic teaching approaches include the Silent Way, Community Language Learning, Total Physical Response and Suggestopaedia.
Humanistic language teaching is an approach based on the principle that the whole being, emotional and social, needs to be engaged in learning, not just the mind.