Welcome to our first lecture, Student Development Theory: An Overview
Before beginning this lesson, you completed a brief quiz to test your knowledge of theory. The above statements were presented. How many of you got all correct? Each statement is actually an assumption. Although we may have read literature or research regarding each of these topics, the statements do not reflect the theories.
Theories provide a framework to help us interpret behavior or observations. The student must remain the focus at all times, but the theory allows us to make informed decisions about how to design a program or intervention to assist a student or group of students./
As you are aware, quite a few theories exist regarding student development, so how do you know which one will be useful to you in your practice? One answer depends upon the population. For our situation, a theory regarding traditional aged 4-year college students may not apply to the non-traditional aged community college student. If a theory does not fit the life of the student(s) you are working with, it may not be applicable. Oftentimes we need to apply multiple theories to create a comprehensive design for intervention. Patterson (1986) created this criteria to assist you with evaluating theories for your particular need. First the theory must be important and relevant to everyday life. Is it relevant to the given situation? Is the theory precise and understandable? How will you be able to apply the concepts into practice if you do not understand them? Is the theory simple and cost-effective? Can you afford to implement the concepts into your design or intervention?
Lets take a few minutes to review some significant student development theories. Unfortunately we have time to reflect upon a few, but I hope you will take the time during this course and throughout your career to become familiar with many others.
Probably one of the most familiar theories of psychosocial development is that of Erik Erikson (1958). As you may remember, Erikson put a spin on Freud’s psychosexual development to represent the psychosocial development throughout the lifespan. The traditional-aged college student may fall into the stage of Intimacy vs Isolation (young adulthood). However, due to the diversity of community college students and the large portion of non-traditional aged students, we are also working with students at the generativityvs stagnation (adulthood) or maturity (integrity vs despair).
“To be effective in educating the whole student, colleges must hire and reinforce staff members who understand what student development looks like and how to foster it” (p. 44) [what does student development look like?]The reason the seven vectors exist.Developing competence. Intellectual competence – how to use your mind to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize information. Physical and manual skills – physical strength and artistic achievements. Leisure activities become a part of your identity.Interpersonal competence – effective listening and communication skills; being able to pay attention to others and respond appropriatelyManaging emotions. The goal is not to eliminate negative emotions, but to learn to acknowledge and control them. In other words, know when ‘your buttons are being pushed’ and how to respond appropriately (balancing assertive tendencies of aggression with participatory tendencies of working with a groupMoving through autonomy toward interdependence. Becoming self-sufficient balanced by wanting inclusive reciprocal relationshipsEmotional indepence – no longer need reassurance from others. Begins to separate from parents and rely on friends (perhaps this is the time to tell the helicopter parent it is to land), but realize its ok to let some friends goInstrumental indepence – organize activities/problem solving and mobility. Developing independent critical thinking. Ability to get from point a to point b without hand-holding. Building relationshipsDeveloping mature interpersonal relationships. Tolerating Intercultural and interpersonal differences and capacity for healthy intimacy. Personal relationships are long-lasting and you are no longer in it just to see what you can get out of it for yourself.Establishing identity. Discovery what experiences are satisfying, safe, or self-destructive. Includes self-image, sexual orientation, identifying self in a social context, roles and lifestyle which reflect self-concept (ie family or ethnicity); how you respond to feedback from people you care about; self-esteem; and personal stability.Developing purpose. Ready to go somewhere, but have no idea where or any direction. Example, career paths. Requires assessing interests, goal setting, planning and priorities based on 1)career aspirations, 2) interests, and 3) social and family obligations. Developing integrity. A) humanizing values - balancing self interest with interest of others, b) personalizing values – respecting others points of view while remaining true to your own values and beliefs, c) developing congruence – your behavior now matches your values and beliefs
“If a college is to encourage social responsibility, it must (as a minimum) run its own affairs according to values that are known to, and worthy of emulation by its students. The extraordinary thing is how often this minimum requirement is lacking in colleges and universities today…” (p.75)Sanford was the first notable psychologist to look specifically at college student development. According to Sanford, development occurs when students have a balance of challenge and support. With too much support student become too comfortable (or I say lazy) where they are and are not motivated to do anything more to grow beyond their present circumstance. On the other hand, too much challenge can be too overwhelming. The college environment may offer support through the development of appropriate student support programs, or impede growth by setting the bar too high for students to succeed without support.
Astin and Tinto are two popular theorists when it comes to student involvement and student success respectively.Astin looks at a students involvement in the college environment as a factor contributing to both academic and cognitive development. He defines involvement as “the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the acedemic experience” (p. 297) Involvement includes academic involvement (attending class, doing homeowrk); involvement with faculty (meeting outside of class, assisted with reserarch project); involvement with peers (socializing, studend clubs or organizations (governments or frats or sororitie), group projects); involvement in work (full-time, part-time on or off campus). Of course the amount of energy students invest varies among individuals. Astin uses the I-E-O model as a framework fopr college student development. I-E-O stands for inputs, environment, and outcomes. Inputs refer to what the students is bringing into into college when they first arrive (their characteristics). The environment refers to campus programs, faculty, students and acedemic experiences. Outcomes refer to the students characteristics after college (what has changed). Tinto may be most know for his work on student departure and improving persistence.. Based upon theories of suicide, particularly Emile Durkheims, he analogy represents the students voluntary withdrawal from the community, in this case the college community. Tinto also emphasises the significance of the first year of college, particularly the first semester as this has been shown to reflect the highest incidence of student withdrawals. (1993). Is your college’s emphasis on first year experience programs starting to come to mind?Building upon student involvement and student success theories comes student enagement. Kuh defines engagement as the amount of time a student invests in activities important to the college experience as well as the insitutions role in encouraging student participation in these activities, postulating that institutions emphasizing engagement in meaningful activities in and outside of classes provide the “greatest impact on learning and personal development while in college”
Student development theory
A N O V E R V I E WE D U 6 3 1Student Development TheoryJohanna M. Brown, Ph. D.Lenoir Rhyne UniversityCommunity College Administration
What is a Theory Students who are involved in student organizationsand leadership positions are more satisfied withtheir overall college experiences. First-generation students struggle with theirtransition from high school to college because theyhave parents who do not understand what they aregoing through. Black students hang out together in the cafeteriabecause the campus climate is a chilly one forthem.Jones, S. R. & Abes, E. S. (2011). The nature and uses of a theory., In Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession, San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass
Why do we Need Theories? Informed decision making Interpret behavior and observations
What makes a theory useful?1. Important and relevant to everyday life2. Precise and understandable3. Simple and economical4. Comprehensive5. Able to be operationalized6. Empirically valid or verifiable7. Able to generate new research and ideas8. Useful to practitioners
Student Development Theories:Through the Years Psychosocial Vectors Challenge & Support Student Involvement/Success/Engagement
Freud Erickson Oral Sensory Muscular-Anal Locomotor-Genital Latency Puberty &Adolescence Young Adulthood Adulthood Maturity Trust vs mistrust Autonomy vs shame/doubt Initiative vs guilt Industry vs inferiority Identity vs identityconfusion Intimacy vs isolation Generativity vs stagnation Integrity vs despairErik Erikson
References Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education.Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 297-308. Chickering, A. W. & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Erikson, E. H. (1959). Identity and the life cycle. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D., Renn, K. A. (2010). Studentdevelopment in college: Theory, research and practice (2nd ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Jones, S. R. and Abes, E. S. (2011). The nature and uses of theory. In J. Shuh, S. Jones, S.Harper and Associates (Eds), Student services: A handbook for the profession (pp. 149– 167) Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Shuh, J. H., Whitt, E. H., & Associates (2005). Student success in college:Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Patterson, C. H. (1986). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy (4th ed.) New York: Harper& Row. Sanford, N. (1966). Self and society. New York: Atherton Press Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes ansd cures of student attrition (2nded.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.