Looking Into Chaos: Perceptions, Interactions, and Strategies of Disaffected Male Undergraduates By Carole F. Robinson, Ph.D. April 21, 2005
Background B.A. English(Comparative Literature and Psychology Personality Psychology Psychoanalytic Literature M.S. RD-Organizational Change Psychology: Ecological and Community Social and Personality New Sciences: Chaos, Complexity, Dynamical Systems
“ Most of reality, instead of being orderly, stable, and equilibrial, is seething and bubbling with change, disorder, and process.” Prigogine & Stengers, 1984 Through the lens of chaos and complexity theories
“ Where chaos begins, classical science stops. For as long as the world has had physicists inquiring into the laws of nature, it has suffered a special ignorance about disorder in the atmosphere,
in the fluctuations of wildlife populations, in the oscillations of the heart and brain. The irregular side of nature, the discontinuous and erratic side—these have been puzzles to science, or worse, monstrosities.” Gleick, 1988
the “oscillations of the heart and the brain” of male undergraduates who experience chaos in their academic journeys, the “disorder in the atmosphere” of a turbulent and complex university, This was an inquiry on multiple levels into:
into individual and community perceptions of the “erratic” or “irregular” male undergraduate, into the relationships among these forces.
Students in the study were generally * <ul><li>Prefer emergence </li></ul><ul><li>Deep thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential, hands-on, applied learners </li></ul><ul><li>Non-confrontational, will withdraw rather than confront </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptable </li></ul><ul><li>Process-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Creative </li></ul><ul><li>Strong values </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic, systems thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Relational and Conceptual </li></ul>
Very clear preferences for Intuition: See patterns and possibilities—make connections others may not see Represented 1%-5% of the general population: INFP (6), INTP (1), ENTP (1) Students in Study Had Similar Personality Preferences (as indicated by the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory)
University classes are predominately geared toward Extraverts, Sensors, Thinkers, and Judgers (ESTJ)—linear, factual, and product-oriented—such that the U rewards Sensors Judgers. Intuition as a way of knowing is not generally rewarded in mass market education, and is often discredited.
Students in Study were Generally Frustrated and Disillusioned <ul><ul><ul><li>FRUSTRATED </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With their classes, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With their professors, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With prevailing academic environment, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Felt forced to adapt </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Felt different from other students </li></ul></ul></ul>DISILLUSIONED By the gap between expectations for university experiences and their reality.
Disaffected Male Undergraduates: <ul><li>Had supportive families, friends, and faculty (without such support may have dropped out of school). </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted meaningful relationships with faculty and advisors. </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived higher education encourages and rewards shallow learning rather than deep learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to share their concerns: They want to talk and they want someone to listen. </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to learn things that are personally meaningful. </li></ul>
Disaffected Males Undergraduates Engage More When . . . <ul><li>Their emotions are acknowledged and respected. </li></ul><ul><li>They have interactive, experiential learning opportunities—where learning extends beyond the classroom and beyond the professor. </li></ul><ul><li>They have a safe and open space for self-organization, space for creative, critical thinking, and emergence. </li></ul><ul><li>They are not forced to respond in class before they are ready (especially introverts). </li></ul><ul><li>They are challenged, but not crushed, either intellectually or emotionally. </li></ul><ul><li>Professors know their field and are willing to give up control in the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>They have a say in what they learn and how they learn it. </li></ul><ul><li>Professors are enthusiastic; care about and respect students; value students’ knowledge and experience; and use multiple approaches to teaching. </li></ul>
Moments of Engaged Learning: Quotes from the Study <ul><ul><ul><li>“ I remember standing in the rainforest at night in the pitch black. No darkness is more complete, not even the light from a single star can penetrate the dense canopy. Robbed of the sense of sight, just listening to and feeling everything about me, never have I felt more a part of life and everything nor more humbled, yet also afraid. It wasn't that I was afraid, it was my ego that was fearful because it was in contradiction to my feelings. That was one of my best days." </li></ul></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Disaffected male undergraduates will benefit from: </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative learning environments and communities </li></ul><ul><li>A greater variety in pedagogical approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Credit-producing sabbaticals </li></ul>
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