students move between positions, resulting in intellectual and ethical development
Jessica Caolo and Sarah Crockett
Perry’s Theory ofIntellectual and Ethical Development
Overview of Perry’s TheoryCognitive Developmental Theory Examines the process of intellectual development Focus on “how people think” not “what people think”Why Perry’s Theory? How students "make meaning" or interpret information, analyze problems, and reason Students will interpret their experiences differently depending on their development
Perry’s Theory Consists of nine positions outlined on a continuum of development 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 EvolvingDuality Commitments
Perry’s TheoryPrimary Modes of Meaning-Making: Dualism Multiplicity Relativism Commitment in Relativism
DualismWorld is viewed dichotomously Absolute Truth, Right or Wrong, Good or BadKnowledge is quantitative (facts)Students tend to see themselves as subordinate toauthorityTeacher (or Advisor) is the expert that will know the"correct" answer
MultiplicityConfusion after dualism If there is no Right or Wrong then everything must be rightAcknowledges all points of view as equal No judgments can be made Everyone has a right to his/her own opinion None can be called wrongPeers become legitimate sources of information
RelativismAccepts a diversity of ideas But relies on logic, sources, or other evidence for analysisKnowledge is quantitativeQuestions have different answers depending oncontext
Commitment in RelativismStudents begin to see it is necessary to make acommitment to a personal world view Within an understanding of the possibility of alternative viewpointsNot intellectual, but ethical development Life choices are made regarding values, career, and relationships
Alternatives to Forward Movement Temporizing Stopping within a position Hesitation to take the next step Escape Staying in relativism to avoid commitment/ responsibility Retreat Temporary return to dualism Can be the result of feeling overwhelmed or overly challenged
Plus-one StagingIndividuals typically understand reasoning that is slightlymore advanced than their ownPlus-one staging provides the developmental mismatch tofacilitate further growthFor example: Using relativistic reasoning with a dualistic student will make little sense to the student BUT Using multiplistic thinking can impact the same dualistic student
Using Plus-one Staging to Encourage GrowthTo Challenge Dualists: Create assignments that invite dualists to consider multiple solutions to problems and the validity of alternative perspectives Role model accepting multiple points of view and challenging authority, and ask students to explain and defend their statements Provide compassionate support, appropriate structure, concrete examples, peer interaction, and opportunities to practice complex thinkingTo Challenge Multiplists: Help students develop, evaluate, and defend opinions. Encourage students to rethink positions based on changing evidence and encourage probabilistic conclusions.
Using Perry with StudentsLaura is a first semestersophomoreShe visits the Career Center tolearn the “right” way write acover letter and resumeIn small groups discuss whichposition Laura is illustratingand how you can help her puttogether a resume as well asencourage growth
Using Perry with Students Sean is on the verge of graduating and has been actively planning his future He has two job offers from two very different companies and has been accepted to two graduate schools in his chosen field Sean comes into the office confused and overwhelmed and looking for an advisor to tell him what is his best option As an advisor you recognize that Sean is illustrating signs of “Retreat”, what is your role and how do you help Sean with his decision?
ReferencesEvans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F.M., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
DEFINITION OF TRANSITIONA transition is “any event, or non-event that results inchanged relationships, routines, assumptions, androles” (Schlossberg, Waters, andGoodman, 1995, p.27)The transition perspective focuses on life events thatbring about change (Schlossberg, Waters, andGoodman, 1995)
TYPES OF TRANSITIONS3 Types of Transitions exist: Anticipated Transitions: is scheduled or predicted Unanticipated Transitions: is not predicted Nonevent: is something expected that does not occur(Schlossberg, Waters, and Goodman, 1995)
Meet KatieKatie is currently in her last semester at Virginia Techand will receive her degree in Finance at the end ofthe semester. A New England native, Katie would liketo stay in the area after graduation even though she isopen to relocating to a neighboring state when shegraduates. Katie has been interviewing for positionsas a Financial Analyst, Stock Broker, and CreditAnalyst. She has recently received an offer for theposition of Financial Analyst an hour from herchildhood home.
Meet JamesJames is a sophomore who is declared as aMechanical Engineering major. He is currentlyenrolled in prerequisite engineering courses.Although he had goals of becoming an Engineer—heis currently thinking of changing his major because hehas been struggling with all of his engineeringcourses. He has been experiencing a state ofcareer/major indecision, and as a result, has beenanxious about his current situation.
Katie & JamesBased on the definition of transition and the types oftransitions presented, work with the person(s) nextto you and answer the following questions: Who is in transition? Katie? James? Or both? Define the transitions as you see them? Are they anticipated or unanticipated? Are they both based on events or non-events?
ReferencesSchlossberg, N.K., Waters, E.B., and Goodman, J.Counseling Adults in Transition. (2nd ed.) New York:Springer, 1995.