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Intellectual Development Theory 101 for Student Advisors


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Presented by Alma Salcedo at the 2011 ACA & APSA professional development conference on 2/17/11. This
presentation will discuss William Perry’s intellectual and ethical development theory on how students develop during their time in college. Return
to your professional role with a different perspective and an increased satisfaction when working with puzzling students.

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Intellectual Development Theory 101 for Student Advisors

  1. 1. Intellectual Development Theory 101 for Student Advisors
  2. 2. Why intellectual development theory? <ul><li>Theories of William Perry and M.B. Baxter Magolda describe college level development. </li></ul><ul><li>How students “make meaning” or interpret information, analyze problems, and reason. </li></ul><ul><li>Students will interpret their experiences differently depending on their development. </li></ul>
  3. 3. William Perry’s Scheme <ul><li>Perry was the first to concentrate on college students. </li></ul><ul><li>Perry’s scheme is not made of “stages” - but of different positions. </li></ul><ul><li>Students move between positions, resulting in intellectual and ethical development. </li></ul><ul><li>Dualism, Multiplicity, Relativism, and Commitment in Relativism </li></ul>
  4. 4. Dualism (Positions 1-2) <ul><li>Absolute Truth, Right or Wrong, Good or Bad </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is Quantitative. </li></ul><ul><li>Students tend to see themselves as subordinate to authority. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher (or Advisor) is the expert that will know all the “correct” answers. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Multiplicity (Positions 3-4) <ul><li>Confusion after Dualism, if there is no Right or Wrong - then everything must be right. </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledges all points of view as equal, “none can be called wrong” (Perry, 1981). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Relativism (Positions 5-6) <ul><li>Accepts a diversity of ideas, but relies on logic, sources, or other evidence for analysis (Perry, 1981). </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is Qualitative. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions have different answers depending on context. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Commitment in Relativism (Positions 7-9) <ul><li>Students “realize the need to evolve and endorse their own choices from the multiple ‘truths’ that exist in a relativistic world” (King, 1978, p. 39). </li></ul><ul><li>Not intellectual, but ethical development as life choices are made regarding values, career, relationships, and balance. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Agency is experienced as within the individual” (Perry, 1981 p. 80). </li></ul>
  8. 8. Quotes from Perry ’s Study (1981) <ul><li>“ Student: Well the only thing I could say to a prospective student is just say, ‘If you come here and do everything you’re supposed to do, you’ll be all right,’ that’s just about all.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Dualism) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Student: I mean if you read them [critics], that’s the great thing about a book like Moby Dick . [Laughs] Nobody understands it!” </li></ul><ul><li>(Multiplicity) </li></ul>
  9. 9. More Quotes (Perry, 1981) <ul><li>“ Student: I mean you’ve got to have some facts under the opinion, I guess.” </li></ul><ul><li>(early Relativism) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Student: There are all kinds of pulls, pressures and so forth…I’ve got one life to live…I want to live it this way, I welcome suggestions, I’ll listen to them. But when I make up my mind, it’s going to be me.” </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment in Relativism </li></ul>Break for Activity with Handout 1
  10. 10. “ Plus-one Staging” <ul><li>“ Typical application consists of using Perry’s work to design learning experiences that provide a match or a developmental mismatch, given the cognitive complexity represented among the students in the course. The use of plus-one staging can serve as a means of providing a developmental mismatch and facilitating further cognitive growth” (Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton & Renn, 2010, p. 93). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Examples of Plus-one Staging <ul><li>Working in groups for class assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Peer-advising, peer-mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Mentorships, Internships </li></ul><ul><li>Providing slightly challenging assignments or prompts to push students out of their comfort zone </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating FIGs (first year interest groups) </li></ul>Break for Activity with Handout 2
  12. 12. Retreat <ul><li>Students can become frustrated by the complexity offered by Multiplicity or Relativism. </li></ul><ul><li>Experts are “wishy-washy” and won’t tell them “the truth” or what “they want”. </li></ul><ul><li>They return/retreat to the safety of the black and white view offered by Dualism. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Temporizing <ul><li>Purposely hesitating in a position </li></ul><ul><li>“ Student: I’ll wait and see what time brings, see if I pass the foreign service exam. Let that decide. </li></ul><ul><li>Student: …I ’m still waiting for that event, you know, everyone goes through life thinking that something’s gonna happen, and I don’t think it happened this year…” (Perry, 1981) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Escape <ul><li>“ Alienation, abandonment of responsibility. Exploitation of Multiplicity and Relativism for avoidance of Commitment” (Perry, 1981). </li></ul><ul><li>Students: I don’t have any consuming interest or burning desire or anything; I just drift along; If relativity is true on most things, it’s an easy way out…you don’t have to commit yourself. (Perry, 1981) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Disclaimer: <ul><li>It’s just a theory! </li></ul><ul><li>William Perry did his study using mostly interviews with male students from Harvard in 1968. Diversity and gender are not addressed. </li></ul><ul><li>Theories are lenses, not absolutes, for evaluating information or “making meaning”. </li></ul><ul><li>This is just a workshop! -Not a license to practice psychotherapy. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Baxter Magolda’s Model of Epistemological Reflection <ul><li>Inspired by work of Perry (1981); and Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule ( Women’s Ways of Knowing ,1986) - sought to address gender related differences and similarities in both works </li></ul><ul><li>Longitudinal study in 1986 with 101 freshmen: 51 women and 50 men </li></ul>
  17. 17. Absolute Knowing <ul><li>Knowledge is right or wrong, absolute. </li></ul><ul><li>Experts should communicate knowledge effectively to make sure students understand. </li></ul><ul><li>Memorizing knowledge and presenting it back to the expert is an effective method for assessment. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Absolute Knowing <ul><li>Mastery Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by men </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrative, verbal participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging with the instructor in order to acquire knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Receiving Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening, observing, and recording knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comfort in the classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging with instructor only for clarification (minimal) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Transitional Knowing <ul><li>Not all knowledge is absolute. </li></ul><ul><li>Expert should guide students in application of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding, not memorization, for assessment </li></ul>
  20. 20. Transitional Knowing <ul><li>Impersonal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by men </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preference for debate and defending their own perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to “stand at arm’s length from others and the subject under study” (Baxter Magolda, 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interaction, listening to peers, relationships to gather knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attempting “to connect to the subject” (Baxter Magolda, 2004) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Independent Knowing <ul><li>Knowledge is uncertain. </li></ul><ul><li>Expert should encourage independent thought and exploration of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Original thinking and the exchange of ideas should be evaluated, even if they diverge from expert ’s opinion, for assessment. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Independent Knowing <ul><li>Individual Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by men </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Values exchange of ideas but still focused on own ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ He struggled to listen to others” (Baxter Magolda, 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interindividual Pattern </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibited more often by women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must learn to express own voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Tension between listening to others and identifying her own beliefs” (Baxter Magolda, 2004) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Contextual Knowing <ul><li>“ Convergence of previous gender-related patterns” (Evans et al., 2010 p. 127) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Belief that knowledge exists in a context and is judged on evidence relevant to that context” (Baxter Magolda, 2004, p. 37) </li></ul><ul><li>Expert promotes this belief </li></ul><ul><li>Context, competence, mutual involvement of expert and student is measured for assessment. </li></ul>
  24. 24. What do these models have in common? Break for Activity with Handout 3 Perry Baxter Magolda Dualism <ul><li>Absolute Knowing </li></ul><ul><li>Receiving </li></ul><ul><li>Mastery </li></ul>Multiplicity <ul><li>Transitional Knowing </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal </li></ul><ul><li>Impersonal </li></ul>Relativism <ul><li>Independent Knowing </li></ul><ul><li>Interindividual </li></ul><ul><li>Individual </li></ul>Commitment in Relativism Contextual Knowing
  25. 25. Conclusions, Wrap-up, Reflection End with Handout 4
  26. 26. References <ul><li>Baxter Magolda, M.B. (2004). Evolution of a constructivist conceptualization of epistemological reflection. Educational Psychologist, 39 (1), 31-42. </li></ul><ul><li>Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F.M., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 82-98, 125-130) . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul><ul><li>Perry, W. G. (1981). Cognitive and ethical growth: The making of meaning. In A.W. Chickering (Ed.), The modern American college (pp. 76-116). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. </li></ul>