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Edu362S – The Classroom as a Safe Space (for learning & Paper

Words: 2087, Paragraphs: 195, Pages: 7

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Learning


1. Introduction

1.1. Gen Z and behavioural issues

1.2. Parent involvement

1.3. Language barriers and technology

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1.4. Maslow’s theory of human needs

1.5. Piaget’s constructivism theory

2. Conclusion

3. Reference list


Teachers have a huge influence on learners, and it goes much deeper than the

content we teach. Just as the words we speak hold power, our reactions to

behavioural issues and interactions with learners has an immense impact on both

their personalities and the way they perceive learning. (Kelly, 2017)

The public enjoys criticizing teachers while remaining unaware and ignorant to the

issues teachers face. Teachers do indeed have an immense impact on the lives of

their learners, but their in fluence only amount to about a quarter of their learners.

Teachers don’t just function as teachers and facilitators anymore; teachers are

forced to take on a new role as the temporary parents and caretakers of every

learner in their school environment. Tea chers need to address the issues learners

face daily to help improve teacher retention, learner success rate, and improve

quality of education in schools. (Meador, 2019)

This essay will focus on the parent involvement, Generation Z behavioural issues,

lan guage barriers and technology, Maslow’s theory of human needs and Piaget’s

constructivism theory and how all of the above ties into the development of a child’s


1.1. Generation Z and behavioural issues

A teacher in the 21 st century has a huge res ponsibility and has more voids to fill. As

teenage parenthood becomes more evident in the new generation, behavioural

issues in the classroom becomes something every teacher has to struggle with. The

question that every teacher should be asking when confro nted with behavioural

issues is: What are the contributing factors to this disciplinary problem and what

should my reaction be? Instead, teachers lash out and make the learner feel even

worse. Words matter and the way we phrase things matter and they stick with our

learners. (Kelly, 2017)

In a TEDx talk, Nathaniel Turner (2018, 00:02:39) talks about Generation Z and why

millennials owe Gen Z an apology; he comes up with the I.D.E.A. analogy. I.D.E.A. is

an acronym for “impatient, distracted, apathetic and entitled”; which he describes a

Gen Z to be. Gen Z is impatient because they are the first digital generation; the

digital era gives us everything we need at an instant pace. Gen Z is distracted

because of the instant fast -paced lifestyle that the digital era created. There’s no

need to remember instructions, dates or information because you can just Google it

later. Gen Z is apathetic because social media provides us with instant gratification.

There’s no need to wait for happiness, just upload a picture a nd wait for a few likes.

There’s no hard work to that. He makes a comment closely related to something

Simon Sinek also mentioned in one of his interviews. Paraphrased from a Simon

Sinek interview in 2018: “Millennials are entitled because they get parti cipation

medals. You get praised for coming in last.”

We as teachers need to step into the digital era and make learners feel like they are

making an impact, have purpose and that life doesn’t end after making a mistake or

failing after attempting someth ing. We need to provide them with a sense of purpose,

or theoretically, we need to provide learners with instant gratification. We need to

create a millennial -paced classroom that caters to impatient distracted apathetic and

entitled generation. (Turner, 2 018)

1.2. Parent involvement

There are endless debates all around the world surrounding parenthood; whether

that being teenage pregnancies, planned parenthood strikes, children being put into

an adoptive system that doesn’t care for their wellbeing or parent involvement in the

shaping of their children’s future.

Parent involvement is a combination of commitment and active participation on the

part of the parent to the school and to the learner. As Dixon (1992, p. 16) states:

“Parental involvement, in almost any form, produces measurable gains in learner

achievement” LaBahn (1995) notes that schools have no idea how to deal with the

new age of non -traditional family dynamics. Nuclear families, mom, dad and one or

mode kids, aren’t considered as the norm anymor e. It’s not uncommon to be raised

by a single mother or father, have same sex parents, be raised in a mixed family or

to be raised by grandparents or be raised by adoptive parents. We need to do a

better job at creating a safe environment for learners to f eel like they are accepted

and that their dynamic at home isn’t uncommon or out -of -the -ordinary.

Theoretically, we have an accepting and embracing culture as South Africans, but

the reality is that we still have an amount of ignorance in our system. We n eed to

push for a culture of happiness, equality, liberty, acceptance and prosperity, where

teachers are actual interchangeable parents for the learners in their class. If learners

feel like they don’t have the support at home, then teachers need to be tha t support.

For some, coming to school is an escape from their abusive, impoverished

households of sadness and hurt. Teachers have the power to address lack of

parenthood issues, just give them the resources and time to do so. Teachers can’t

juggle between an everchanging curricula and still be expected to do some reflection

on every learner in class. A teacher -parent relationship needs to be pushed in

schools that succumb to socio -economic issues.

1.3. Language barriers and technology

Technological changes for ce both learners and teachers to evolve. By evolving,

learners become more challenging and teachers need to change their teaching

styles and methods of assessing learners. Social media has taken the world by

storm and even at a baby bloomer , generation x or millennial level, social media is

still an evident means of communication. With social media being a quicker and

more convenient way of communication, words were also tweaked to fit into an

everevolving world. Linguistically, these shortened abbreviation s and alternative

words are what we call cyber -slang, or just in general what we call slang. Tomoh

(2018) notes that literacy levels are dropping in schools all around the world. I

personally feel like teachers are using the wrong approach when it comes to

language and cognitive thinking methods. I constantly try to use the approach of pop

culture to introduce my lessons and new content. Using something learners

understand and can fully comprehend and then leading it into a more correct way of

speaking and writing. Teachers need to stay up to date with changes in pop culture

and in slang usage. Learners want to relate to content in a way that’s poetic.

The world is ever -changing, and our minds are ever -growing. Social media has

caused even more grammar and spelling mistakes, increased the need for fast

information, and caused learners to write in text language. Teachers now have the

responsibility to place these words, slang, into context and give learners alternative

words to write in essays and tests.

1.4. M aslow’s Theory of Human Needs

As a prospective teacher, getting learners to belong in a classroom is of utmost

importance. When we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there’s a five -tier model

of human needs: self -actualization, esteem needs, belongingne ss and love needs,

safety needs and physiological needs. (Hopper, 2019)

We expect learners to reach their potential, but teachers need to meet be aware of

the needs their learners have. Let’s take a close look at Maslow’s five human needs:

SimplyPsych ology ©

Physiological needs are basic human needs, like drinking when thirsty and eating

when hungry. A human’s basic needs include regular rest, water, food and warmth.

(Maslow, 1943) It is impossible to advance to higher needs if you are hungry or tired.

(Hanson, 2019)

Safety needs include wanting surety, safety and assurance. Children react with

anxiety or fear when the needs for safe and predictable environments aren’t met.

(Maslow, 1943) It is difficult to concentrate if you are worried about your safety. It is

essential to create a safe learning space. (Hanson, 2019)

Love and belonging needs include relationships, both romantic and friendships.

Children have the need to belong in a social group. The need for love and belonging

surrounds feeling loved and feeling love towards someone else. (Maslow, 1943)

Learners need to feel like they belong to a class and that they are accepted.

(Hanson, 2019)

Esteem needs involves the desire to feel good about ourselves; including

selfconfidence and feeling good about yourself as a first component, and feeling

valued, and that our achievements and contributions are considered valuable and

important as a second component. (Maslow, 1943) Learners n eed to feel like they’re

contributing and that they’re valued. (Hanson, 2019)

Self -actualization is the feeling of feeling fulfilled or feeling that we are living up to our

potential. Self -actualization differs from one person to another person; for one

person, it might involve achievements in the creative field, while for another person it

might mean that we are doing what we feel we are meant to do. (Maslow, 1943) The

analogy of “being the best that I can be” comes to show in the self -actualization tie r.

This tier involves learners giving back and applying what they’ve learnt to the

betterment of society. Peer work, group working, and cognitive activities form part of

this tier. (Hanson, 2019)

A teacher has obligatory roles towards both the learners me ntal and physical state.

Therefore, I’d say that teachers need to take into close consideration the above five

tiers of human needs. A teacher’s role goes much deeper than just educating a

learner; a teacher’s role is to be of as much assistance to learner s as they can.

Learners need to feel like they are being cared for, protected and secured in schools.

With everything going on in schools nowadays, we need to take into perspective

what we as teachers can and need to do to ensure that learners are able to become

responsible and knowledgeable participants of society.

1.5. Piaget’s constructivism theory

Piaget’s constructivism theory (1936) argues that learners need to make connection

inside the classroom. Piaget mentions two components to his constructivism th eory:

accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation causes a learner to incorporate new

experiences into old experiences; this causes individuals to develop new

perspectives, rethink misunderstandings, and evaluate what’s important.

Accommodation reframes t he world and new experiences into mental capacity; it

helps learners think independently and cognitively. (Piaget, 1936) The goal is not to

have learners repeat back what we’ve taught them, but the goal is to have learners

adopt what we’ve taught them and better the lives of their peers and the larger


Taking into consideration Piaget’s constructivism theory, its safe to say that a

learning experience only happens once we find a way to build onto old experiences

and enabling a learner to be able to observe their old experiences with new

perspectives. In language, we do this in grammar through constructing sentences at

a basic level and then go through the parts of speech by adding on different

elements until an academic sentence can be structured . We call this theory

scaffolding. Scaffolding is considered an important element in teaching; it reduces

negative emotions and self -perceptions, frustrations, intimidation or discouraged

learners. Scaffolding builds on prior knowledge and has a way of inc luding learners

in their own learning. (Bruner, 1976)


Teachers are being punished for an ever -changing world: technological advances

leading to decreasing attention span, teenage parenthood resulting in increasing

class sizes, constant curricu la changes and longer hours while being enforced to do

more after school activities (Gentry, 2011).

Our goals as teachers need to be to bring as much perspective, experiences,

acceptance, love and care into our classrooms. We are currently faced with a

ge neration that has the highest anxiety and depression rates in history; depression,

anxiety and low self -esteem rates in millennials and generation Z is shocking. We

need to create a classroom where learners feel safe, secure and motivated to be and

do bett er. Let’s incorporate a positive approach to education where we draw

attention to individual strengths and personal motivation.


Hanson, J. 2019. Classroom: How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to

Education . www.classroom.synonym.com/apply -maslows -hierarchy -needs education –

7771899.html [22 August 2019]

Meador, D. 2019. Personality Traits That Help Teachers and Students Succeed.

www.thoughtco.com/personality -traits -that -help -teachers -students -3194422 [22

August 2019]

Hopper, E. 2019. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained.

www.thoughtco.com/maslows -hierarchy -of -needs -4582571 [23 August 2019]

Kelly, M. 2017. A Teacher’s Words Can Help or Harm: Educators can impact

students’ lives with a few innocuous words . www.thoughtco.com/impact -of –

words and -actions -8321 [17 August 2019]

Richard Gentry, J. 2011. A Lack of Parent Engagement Helps Create Failing

Schools: Who is more at fault, teachers or parents?

www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/raising -readers -writers -and –

spellers/201107/lack -parent -engagement -helps -create -failing -schools [18 August


Maslow, A. H. 1943. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50,


McLeod, S. 2018. Simply Psychology: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs .

www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html [23 August 2019]

Meador, D. 2019. Problems for Teachers That Limit Their Overall Effectiveness.

www.thoughtco.com/problems -for -teachers -that -limit -their -overall –

effectiveness 319467 [17 August 2019]

Piaget, J. 1936. Origins of intelligence in the child. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Tomoh, B. 2018. Life Learners Academy: Effect of slang on student’ s language and

writing . www.lifelearners.ng/effect -of -slang -on -students -language -and -writing/ [17

August 2019]

We Owe Generation Z an Apology Today. (2018) YouTube video, added by TED x

Talks [Online]. Available at [Accessed

17 August 2019]

About the author

This sample is completed by Emma with Health Care as a major. She is a student at Emory University, Atlanta. All the content of this paper is her own research and point of view on Edu362S – The Classroom as a Safe Space (for learning & and can be used only as an alternative perspective.

Emma other papers:

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