Addressing Social and Ecological Degradation through Education
Chapter 6. Pedagogy of Basic Needs
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PEDAGOGY OF BASIC NEEDS
[When someone is] chronically and extremely hungry…Utopia can be defined very simply as a place where there is plenty of food…. Life itself tends to be defined in terms of eating. Anything else will be defined as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, respect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies which are useless since they fail to fill the stomach. (Maslow, 1943)
Making sure that students have their basic needs met, including emotional needs, must precede any educational effort. Not only do I know this tacitly, in my gut, to be morally imperative, it is explicitly and empirically true (as I will show). Therefore, education must become a healing process before it can become a learning process (cf. Duncan-Andrade, 2010, on education as a healing process). All educators need to think more deeply about our role as healers: to serve our students and to promote their well-being in any way we can. We must assist our students in reaching a place where they are physically and emotionally prepared to learn.
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