The Humanistic Approach and its Effect on Role-plays, Lesson Planning & Activities

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The humanistic approach in education, influenced by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, departs from the traditional teacher-led model and emphasises the role of students as active participants in their own learning. In the English Language Teaching (ELT) classroom, the humanistic approach can be incredibly effective. It allows for more personal and engaging learning by incorporating role-plays, detailed lesson planning based on student needs and interests, and meaningful learning activities. 
Role-plays, a key component of the humanistic approach, can significantly improve ELT classrooms. Role-play activities offer students the chance to use English in an authentic and meaningful way. They are able to practice language use in various scenarios, which can help improve their communicative competence. By taking on a character or role, students can somewhat ‘detach’ themselves from the language barrier and embrace language production with less inhibition. Since these activities are more exploratory and motivational, students actively participate in their own learning, which is a critical principle of humanistic teaching.
Lesson planning also changes under the humanistic approach. Instead of dictating what is to be learned, the teacher becomes a facilitator who constructs lessons based on the interests, needs and wants of the students. This can lead to a more learner-centred, personalised curriculum which is more effective for language acquisition. For instance, if a group of students show an interest in music, the teacher can plan a sequence of lessons incorporating English-language songs. By connecting learning with students’ intrinsic interests, the lesson becomes more engaging, leading to an increased motivation and more efficient language learning. 
The same principles apply to learning activities in a humanistic ELT classroom. Instead of mechanically repeating sentence structures or drilling vocabulary, activities should be stimulating and meaningful. They may involve group discussions, creative projects, debates, or interactive board games. These activities not only draw students’ attention and motivate them to actively participate, but also provide a context for real-life language use. 
The humanistic approach also emphasises the value of the learning process rather than focusing strictly on the end result or testing. It encourages students to reflect on their own learning, promoting self-awareness, self-evaluation, and ultimately, learner autonomy. These aspects help to make English learning more purposeful and enjoyable for the students. 
In conclusion, the humanistic approach, by focusing on student engagement with role-plays, personalised lesson plans, and meaningful learning activities, can benefit ELT classrooms enormously. It fosters a positive learning environment, enhances language proficiency, and improves learner attitudes towards English language learning.

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