DOI: 10.1177/00221678231154819 ISSN:

A Critique of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers as Educators

Kenneth D. Feigenbaum
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology

In this article, the author examines the thoughts of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers on teaching and higher education themes, particularly the humanistic psychology approach to education. It reviews Maslow’s expert introduction of materials on psychology, literature, ethics, and philosophy in class, which demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach to teaching students. Maslow developed ideal core goals for college, emphasizing student creativity and experiences in the educational process, whereas Rogers tended to take a humanistic psychology approach to teaching. His philosophy emphasizes student-centered learning and client-centered therapy. Rogers considered the teacher a facilitator of learning, who builds relationships with students based on empathy, trust, and prioritizing of student needs, whereas Maslow adopted a hybrid position on education. His undergraduate teaching views included a student-directed curriculum and degrees of empathic involvement; yet he maintained a disciplinarian expert’s authority. His approach is also compared with that of graduate education. By contrast, Rogers’s view on education was homogeneous, making no distinctions as to what a student is supposed to learn at each level. This article compares the educational perspectives of two “giants” of humanistic psychology.

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