If you a child in an affluent school in Australia, or a child in a refugee camp in Jordan, what are you going to need to be able to learn for, and in, the future?

Is this a Classroom designed for Learning in the future…..


is this?…..


Are the Learning needs of these children any different?

What do they need to be able to Learn?

In order to be a successful Learner , both groups of children firstly need to have their Basic needs met.

IPads, Ergonomic chairs, Classroom Blogs, mean nothing if a child is hungry, cold and scared.

As teachers we need to come to the realisation that our students have a real life outside the classroom, their lives are widely different to each other, and for them to be able to succeed in their Learning their basic needs must take priority.

Their Basic needs are

1: Physiological… Things they need to actually stay alive such as air, water, sleep, warmth.

2: Safety….Includes the security of their environment.

3: Belongingness… Includes love, friendship, family.

4: Esteem…Includes confidence, achievement, respect.

5: Self actualisation… Includes morality, creativity, problem solving.


These are the needs as set out by Maslow in 1946…and they remain the same today. To get to the top of the pyramid, each level of needs must be met. Each child in both the pictures above has these same needs.

If we are to develop a Future Learning Space for all children, we need to look beyond simply addressing the Physiological, and Safety needs, and develop a focus that develops their Belongingness in the world, and this in turn can lead to development of  their Self Esteem, and Self Realisation.

This ‘Belongingness’, is so important!! Children need to feel they are part of something. Their family of course…. but also the wider world. They need to feel that they have a place… that they are important, and that they matter.

The development of a Learning Space that encourages  students to connect with others, and to learn from others is an important Future Space, in that it develops a sense go ‘Belongingness’

This sense of  ‘Belongingness’, is an important factor  as we consider developing Learning Spaces for the future.

My thought is that it all forms part of what “Teachers Without Borders” refer to as ‘Bridges of Understanding’. We need to assist children in developing their  Intercultural understandings. We need to be helping students to look beyond themselves, and include others in their Learning and lives.



Images retrieved from:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Inclusion with a “Sparkle Effect”: Q&A with Linda Mullen