Critical analysis of Maslow's hierarchy of need

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Bibliographic note

This paper intends to provide a critique of Maslow's Hierarchy of Need, a psychological model that often goes unquestioned within the education sector. Examples will be given of the authors own professional practice and experience in relation to the Hierarchy of Need (HON) and discussed in terms of the critique. The paper concludes that whilst some elements of the HON may be useful in education it does have some serious flaws that also need to be considered when applying this to practice. This paper hopes to demonstrate that, quite often, the theoretical underpinning and research basis for theories that are widely used in education are neglected, highlighting that each planned action or perspective that may be used within education needs exploring in terms of context, evidence base and relevance.


Original languageEnglish
JournalTeacher Education Advancement Network
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • 370 Education educational psychology (incl. teacher training research)