MASLOW'S CONCEPT OF PEAK EXPERIENCE EDUCATION:
IMPOSSIBLE MYTH OR POSSIBLE MISSION?
by Nancy Wilgenbusch, Ph.D.
College of Saint Mary Omaha, Nebraska
All of us reading this relate in some manner to the educational process which impacts upon the person wishing to become a teacher. Teaching itself is a serious endeavor, but teaching teachers to teach is of frightening importance. Margurger once said, "If we take ourselves too seriously, we jeopardize our sanity. If we don't take ourselves seriously enough, we jeopardize our mission." I'm more concerned today about our mission than about our often discussed sanity.
I have chosen a very familiar person's work to illuminate; one whose writings are well known and highly respected. His efforts in behalf of humanistic psychology and the resultant need theory, are in the repertoire of virtually all teachers. However, one concept postulated by Abraham Maslow has been insufficiently examined-the concept of peak experiences in education.
Maslow was not 'an educator in the true sense of the word-rather he was a psychologist.
Maslow, writing in the 1930's, had two distinct psychological camps to choose from. The dominant fields of personality theory were freudianism and behaviorism. Maslow's contemporaries were aligned in one camp or the other. Maslow actually ended up rejecting both stances. In a conversation with Maslow, Mary Hall related his thoughts, "I wanted to prove that human beings are capable of something grander than war, and prejudice and hatred. I wanted to make science consider all the problems that nonscientists have been handling-religion, poetry, values, philosophy, art."...