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Humanistic Perspective Psychology in Relation to Montessori Education

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 3485 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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 To begin this paper, I decided to look at the Humanistic perspective in psychology, I will then describe how this perspective in psychology relates to Montessori education.

I will firstly begin to reflect on the role as a Montessori teacher also known as a “Director” it is child centered approach to education (Wentworth, 1999). The Montessori Method is an approach to education which emphasises individuality and independence in learning (Montessori, M. 2013).  Form my Montessori studies and from placement it is clear that the teacher provides a link between the child and the prepared environment, introducing the child to each piece of equipment when he or she is ready in a precise, clear and appealing way letting them have freedom to follow their interest that enables them to learn themselves. Montessori system is different from any other educational environment where it is left up to the children to decide what to do. It attempts to make abstract knowledge more concrete, more applicable in practice and more physical. The method seeks mainly to make the school more part of the world and therefore more accessible (Hertzberger, 2008). Montessori (1912) education, does in fact link in with humanistic psychology.  In the Montessori environment there is a huge empasise on reality and that emphasis was placed on learning real life and practical skills. One on the main ideas underlying the Montessori approach was that education should fully develop children’s positive potential, so the can become happy and useful members of society (Wentworth, 1999). This also relates to the humanistic approach, this approach was influence by Carl Rogers and Abraham H. Maslow the were both therapists (Cherry, K. 2019).  Carl Rodgers focused on the learner centered education that enables to establish condition that allow self directed learning. (Kelland, 2019)

Rogers’s evolution toward a humanistic approach to psychotherapy was clearly influenced by this clinical training and inspired him to pursue an independent, unorthodox professional career (Kelland, 2019)

 Abraham Maslow helps students develop their potential by satisfying their needs. (Kelland, 2019)

 His main approach enables children to grow, the existential philosophy addresses many of the questions that later became the foundation of the Humanistic approach, such as, the meaning of our existence, the role of free will, and the uniqueness of each individual (Kelland, 2019)

 Humanistic psychologists study human meanings, understandings, and experiences involved in growing, teaching and learning. They emphasize characteristics that are shared by all human beings such as love, grief, caring and self worth (Wata, P. 2019). Rodger was the founder of the person centered approach which is clear that he was a hugely important figure in humanistic psychology (House, R., Kalisch, D. and Maidman, J. 2018). The humanistic approach is the overall theory about the development of the individual (House, R., Kalisch, D. and Maidman, J. 2018). By my research it is clear that Carl Rodgers was a central figure in the humanistic movement of personality psychology (Mcleod, 2019)

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. Rogers was an applied psychology following in the same footsteps as Freud and Jung in his work, he then use what he learned to develop theories about the human condition and human relationships, including the relationships, for example the relationship of the client and therapist (Mcleod, 2019). Rodgers mainly focused on understanding the fundamental characteristics of effective communication and the development of human potential (Nelson, L., Cushion, C. J., Potrac, P., & Groom, R. 2012).  Humanistic therapy looks at the whole person, not only from the therapist’s view but from the viewpoint of individuals observing their own behavior (Psychology Today, 2019)

Rogers argued that his philosophy of education was applicable regardless of age and level of ability. Indeed, this is perhaps best evidenced through his discussion of student-centered practices, which included examples taken from the education of adolescents through to University students (Rogers, 1969) Humanistic approach is evident to see in a Montessori environment due to the fact the center of the learner as an individual is not just focus on the intellect, but educating the whole person, by using a person’s interests, enthusiasm and goals into account, resulting in student’s full potential being exposed. Students get to experience to take responsibility for their own learning (Sharp A. 2012). Rodgers like Montessori was an educator and applied the person-centered approach to education Rodger believed that trusting one’s experiences and believing in one’s self are the most important elements of self-fulfillment. (Psychology.jrank.org, 2019). Carl Rogers was a gifted teacher. His approach grew from his emphasis in one-to-one professional encounters. He saw himself as a facilitator which created the environment for engagement (Rogers,1969).

Both Rogers and Montessori believed that students learn best when engaged in learning what they are truly interested in. Carl Rodgers main believe was that an individuals behavior is connected to their inner feelings and also self-image similar to Montessori (Rogers,1969). Both Rodgers and Montessori both believed that it is important to study and develop the whole person over the course of their lifetime. They also both recognized that children are to be respected as fellow human beings (Rogers,1969).

The both agreed that the teacher’s role is to be a role model. Both Montessori & Rodgers believe the teacher is to model appropriate behavior (Wata, P. 2019). Teacher should provide a reason and motivation for each task, teach learning skills, foster group work and most importantly give choice of tasks (Wata, P. 2019). Rogers (1969) said “that a person cannot teach another, just facilitate another’s learning process, and this is the goal of the education” (Rodgers, 1969). It is evident that both Rodgers and Montessori had huge emphasis on the role of the teacher, that the teacher should be emphatic, and caring. In the traditional way the teacher directs the learning process and the student have a receptive role in their education. This model switches the teacher-centered method to a student-centered way, by the teacher letting the students chose what they want to do in groups/individual. This provides a hands-on t role for each student with their individual viewpoints and establishing interpersonal relationships (Rogers,1969). Teacher is there to be an aid in the child’s independent learning process.

How Montessori teacher could use humanistic knowledge on teaching and learning in a Montessori context.

Applying Roger’s humanistic approach in the Montessori classroom, the teacher should guide the students towards fulfilling their abilities to achieve self-actualization. The teacher should support the child in discovering their self-concept so its important that the teacher should not be controlling in her classroom and should be relaxed learning environment. (Rogers, C. 1961). The humanistic theory emphasised the major role of the student rather than the teacher in solving his or her own problems. From my experience in a Montessori the students `learn in their own way where the teacher would be the facilitator of that learning process. Therefore, giving students the answer is inappropriate way to help students learn and achieve self-actualization (Rogers, C. 1961).  When materials are personally meaningful to the student needs and gives them the motivation to learn.  The teachers goal is to understand their students needs values motives and self perceptions most importantly the teachers goal is to help student learn (Rogers, C. 1961).  From my student teaching experience its important to give emotional support for each student, support both individuality and diversity by finding the similarities among children.

key Elements of the Humanistic Perspective

 The Humanistic Perspective has not presented inclusive framework, but rather a collection of major principles that can be seen as directive to life this are as followed: Emphasis on personal responsibility  this means that there is practically nothing we “have to” do. Humanistic theorists argue that our behaviors represent personal choices of what we want to do at a particular moment. (Medium, 2019). Emphasis on functioning in the “here and now therefore  In the humanistic approach, people needn’t be victims of their past (Medium, 2019).  Acknowledging the phenomenology of the individual During the course of therapy, clients come to understand themselves and develop an appropriate strategy for resolving their problems.. Emphasis on personal growth Rogers called this ”becoming a fully functioning, while Maslow referred to this idea as “self-actualization”.

Therefore, in my opinion the humanistic perspective of psychology has huge impact in a Montessori environment due to the fact that the teacher/therapist acts as a guide to help with the development of the whole person and to build positive relationships. That everyone is treated the same way and never judge on their pass experiences. The humanistic approach has a major emphaise on freedom of choice that humans learn by what they are interested in. This is very similar to Montessori’s approach she believes that children have a say and control on their own learning. In my opinion from placement it is clearly obvious when children get to pick what the want to learn they absorb it quicker then if the the were learning something the didn’t like. If we apply a humanistic approach in our classroom environment in the process of learning and teaching in order to help produce a good learner and critical of reality. This approach helps children better understand themselves and to create positive learning environment that promotes their desire to learn. If a teacher follows the humanistic approach students are more likely to discuss their feelings, opinions and problems with learning.

Humanists, such as Maslow and Montessori, believe it is necessary to study and develop the whole person over their live long learning. Both Maslow and Montessori believe that children are to be respected as fellow human beings (Irinyi and Irinyi, 2019).

To promote the humanistic approach, it is important to follow the six characteristic to good teaching which are students are well inform on what you are teaching, teachers believe that children want to learn, help students become best visions of themselves, use different methods of instruction, be aware that children are very sensitive to their feelings, Teacher guides the students to correct answer she does not tell what to do. Reference

In humanistic setting students are more likely to openly discuss their opinions, feeling and problems with learning. reference  teachers play an important role in helping satisfy the need to belong. Its important that lessons are developed not for a group, but for the individual. By differentiate lessons by giving each child a chance to succeed and receive positive reinforcement. Reference

Talking responsibility of their education and owning their learning.

Lesson plans that focus of humanistic approach

Having humanistic classroom provides a holistic approach to learning by keeping the focus on the student which its clear to see in a Montessori class. Planning lessons to promote the humanistic approach by according to students needs and inquiries of the student. Using a humanistic approach with your lessons helps children build a strong sense of competence, stronger sense of identity, higher success rate and higher levels of achievements. Reference

making decisions about his learning

Applying a hununistic approach helps a students human and social development, which is extremely important within education and should enhance the dignity, capacity and welfare of the student in relation to others and to nature (Roode, 2019). The major focus on the humanistic approach is the development of the whole student and highlighting emotional aspects of the student (Roode, 2019)

Teacher should encourage students to Feel good about yourself involves an understanding of your talents, strengths and weaknesses, and a belief in your ability to improve.

The 1951 book, Client-Centered Therapy outlined Rogers’s distinctive therapeutic philosophy:

the client should be free to determine her/his own therapeutic path rather than being led by a clinician toward self-awareness

• Human experience is unique to each individual

We cannot teach another person directly; we can only facilitate his learning.

The educational situation which most effectively promotes significant learning is one in which

•         1) threat to the self of the learner is reduced to a minimum, and

•         2) how the learner’s perception of the field of experience is facilitated.

•         At that time, the Freudian model of therapy was popular, viewing the therapist as an expert who tells the client what is the problem

•         It was during this phase of his education that he was exposed to “the dynamic Freudian views” of the clinicians supervising his internship which starkly contrasted the “rigorous, scientific, coldly objective, statistical point of view” presented at school (Rogers, 1989, p. 10).

•         The main crux of Rogerian theory is that the human experience is unique to each individual and, if given appropriate conditions for self-exploration and inquiry, people will shed defenses (“masks” or “false selves” as Rogers called them) and gravitate toward psychological health.

•         He also believed that human beings have personal power, or “vast resources for self-understanding, for altering self-concept, his attitudes, and his self-directed behaviour” (Rogers, 1978, p. 7).


Today humanistic approach is witness not only in Montessori classroom but all different education systems and therapy.  The goals of humanistic psychology still have relevance in todays society.  Humanistic psychology encourages to empower individuals, enhance well being, help individual to reach their full potential and to improve communities around the world.

  To conclude this paper, it is the evident that Carl Rogers’ concept of the self and person-centered approach and Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are also significant in understanding learning. Both can also be used and can be integrated with the teaching strategies especially in a Montessori environment. An important element with humanism is putting an importance to the student. It is important to is guide them towards achieving their full potential.

One major criticism of humanistic psychology is that its concept spare too vague. Critics argue that subjective ideas such as authentic and real experiences are difficult to objectify; an experience that is real for one individual may not be real for another person.

In addition, critics claim that humanistic psychology is not a true science because it involves too much common sense and not enough objectivity.


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