Friday, September 24, 2010

Update on the Contributors

The contributors to this blog are incredible!  Each student is making sure she/he offers a complete description in an oral presentation to the class as well as writing this blog.  The discussion after the presentation has been very lively with great questions that are being examined by all in the room.

In addition to our dialogue on the readings and presentations, the students have been reflecting on their own development in the context of the theories we are studying.  These personal reflection offer all of us a deeper understanding as well as pointing out the complexity of student development.

I am looking forward to future posts!  And THANK YOU to all who are reading!

Gilligan's Theory of Women's Moral Development By Amy Butler

Summary of Theory

Carol Gilligan was disillusioned with existing theories because they focused mainly on males and placed females on a lower scale of moral development. Gilligan spent decades researching girls and women to propose her theory of moral development. Women perceive care and responsibility to others as their moral foundation. Development progresses through three distinct levels and two transition periods, with each representing a more sophisticated understanding of self and responsibility.
Level one, orientation to individual survival, shows the individual as self-centered and unable to distinguish between necessity and desire. The individual attempts to protect herself by not pursuing intimate relationships with others. The first transition is from selfishness to responsibility, in which there exists a new connection to others and a differentiation between needs and wants. Goodness as self-sacrifice is the second level of development. In this stage, the individual places greater reliance on others and yearns for social acceptance. In the second transition, from goodness to truth, the individual questions why she places others’ needs above her own. The third and last level, the morality of nonviolence, shows an individual with a transformed understanding of self. There is much respect for the self and individual needs, but the individual also recognizes responsibility and care for others and selects among competing choices.

Use in Higher Education
Gilligan’s theory of moral development has been applied to higher education in the form of student leadership. Once student leaders recognize the benefits of using both a care and justice orientation, they can more effectively fulfill their duties. Care emphasizes relationships, inclusion, and interdependence, which are crucial aspects to teamwork and group cohesion. On the other hand, justice promotes power, assertiveness, and objectivity, which are also necessary to motivate others and make progress towards a common goal. Student leaders who incorporate both orientations into their leadership styles can be more efficient.

Annotated Bibliography

Tanaka, G. (2002). Higher education’s self-reflexive turn: Toward an intercultural theory of student development. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 263-296.

Tanaka researched numerous student development theories to create a cohesive intercultural theory. He collected data on survey instruments, which measured student progress along academic and social constructs. Considering the increasing complexity and diversity of campuses and multiple identifiers such as race, gender, and sexual orientation, Tanaka proposed examining each person’s subjective position, regardless of whether it is the typical norm. He created survey questions which ask students about their campus experience in terms of dominant racial culture, the power play between males and females, and differences in economic class. Tanaka’s vision is headed in the right direction, although the application of this survey tool has not been explored to validate his suggestions.

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gilligan, C. (1993).  In a different voice:  Psychological theory and women’s development.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Kohlberg, L., & Gilligan, C. (1971). The adolescent as a philosopher: The discovery of the self in a postconventional world. Twelve to Sixteen: Early Adolescence, 100(4). 1051-1086.

Tanaka, G. (2002). Higher education’s self-reflexive turn: Toward an intercultural theory of student development. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 263-296.

Walker, L. J., De Vries, B., & Trevethan, S. D. (1987). Moral stages and moral orientations in real-life and hypothetical dilemmas. Child Development, 58(3). 842-858.

Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development – Description by S. Khouanphet

Overview of Theory

Lawrence Kohlberg was one of the first to research the moral reasoning of adolescent boys and (later, college students) while at the University of Chicago in 1958 (Evans, 2010).  He based his theory on Jean Piaget’s three stages of moral development and identified three additional stages of development and revised Piaget’s stages.   To develop his theory he used a series of hypothetical dilemmas and focused on the process of how individuals make moral judgments and not the content of these decisions. 

The theory is a six-stage sequence grouped into three levels.  At level 1 (preconventional), individuals are judged by direct consequences and their perspective is on their own needs.  At level 2 (conventional), individuals recognize the rules and expectations of others by comparing it to society’s views.  Level 3 (postconventional) is where individuals separate themselves from society’s view and views rules as useful but interchangeable.  In the first stage of the preconventional level, (heteronomous morality stage) implies that the individual is obedient in order to avoid punishment.  The second stage (individualistic, instrumental morality) individuals follow rules in their own interest.  At stage 3 (interpersonally normative morality) in the conventional level is described as living up to what is expected by people and needing to be good in the eyes of others. At stage 4 (social system morality), individuals make moral decisions from the perspective of society as whole. In stage 5 (human rights and social welfare morality) of the postconventional level, principles and values that emphasize basic rights become familiar.  And at stage 6 (morality of unversalizable, reversible, and prescriptive general ethical principles) individuals believe ideals as a rational person and follows self-chosen ethical principles. 

There are three characteristics of Kohlberg’s Stages: 1) Structure, individuals in any particular stage will display similar reasoning patterns of that stage regardless of the situation, 2) Sequential, advancement through stages is specific and in sequence, no skipping of stages and 3) Hierarchical, each successive stage is more highly developed than the previous because it incorporates aspects of all earlier stages. Two factors facilitate moral development: exposure to others in higher stages of moral reasoning and disequilibrium, experiencing situations that cause internal moral conflict (Evans, 2010).
Use in Higher Education
Kohlberg’s Theory has been included in discussions of moral dilemma in academic courses to focus on personal development, self-reflection and increase perspective taking to further help individuals transition to more advanced reasoning.  More specifically, his Moral Judgment Interview (MJI) has been widely used to measure the moral development of professional school students, where the qualities of moral character are at a high expectation.   The MJI can be used to evaluate educational interventions such as the study described below that indicate further implications on changes of curriculum to further enhance students’ moral development.

Annotated Bibliography Entry
Patenaude, J., Niyonsenga, T., Fafard, D. (2003). Changes in student’s moral development during medical school: a cohort study. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168(7), 840-844. Retrieved from Academic Premier database.

This article evaluates the research of a cohort of medical students enrolled at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec to assess their progress in moral reasoning over the first 3 years of their education.  The authors invited 92 medical students to complete a questionnaire on moral reasoning at the start of their first year and again at the end of their third year.  The French version of Kohlberg’s Moral Judgment Interview was used and then responses were coded by stage of moral development, and weighted average score were assigned according to frequency of use of each stage.  Results did not show an increase in the development of moral reasoning that was expected with maturation and involvement in university studies.  There was a significant decrease in weighted average scores after 3 years of medical education.  The authors clearly suggest that this finding indicates a leveling to a lower threshold of development over time, which is expected from this age group.  Suggestions from the authors include more longitudinal studies as well as challenging faculty to create a curriculum that will enable medical students to at least maintain their stage of moral development rather than decrease through their medical education experience.  They note their limitations of the study, such as the overrepresentation of women in the study population, which they indicated it could have been because women are more interested than men in ethical issues.  The authors failed to recognize that Kohlberg’s MJI was used only with males and the MJI itself could have been a poor indicator for their study.

Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kohlberg, L. (2005).  Moral stages and moralization:  The cognitive-developmental approach.  In M.E. Wilson & L.E. Wolf-Wendel (Eds.), ASHE reader on college student development theory (pp. 549-568).  Boston, MA:  Pearson Custom Publishing.

Patenaude, J., Niyonsenga, T., Fafard, D. (2003). Changes in student’s moral development during medical school: a cohort study. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 168(7), 840-844.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Perry’s Theory on Intellectual and Ethical Development by Elvina Adakai

Overview of Theory
Perry’s Theory on Intellectual and Ethical Development was conducted in 1968 at Harvard University when Perry was serving as a Director in the Bureau of Study Council (Evans, 2010).  He did his research on some male students at Harvard and some female students at Radcliffe, and he conducted year-end interviews on these students during their four years at the institution.  The theory consists of nine positions and these positions are a tool for interacting with students that will help us understand students better.

Duality is when a student thinks there is an authority who knows the right answer and the authority should share the answer with them because they are all knowing. You can only be right or wrong there are no other answers to the problems you are faced with.  Multiplicity is when you are willing to find out the right answer to the question you are faced with.  Students in multiplicity are not so quick to have an answer given to them, but they want to find out for them selves through research so they can come up with their own opinion.  Relativism is initiated by recognition of the need to support opinions and knowledge is viewed more quantitatively (Evans, 2010).  Commitment in relativism is when students are required to make decisions in the real world, such as making decision about majors, relationships or their sense of identity (Evans, 2010).  The last set of positions is the deflection from cognitive growth.  Temporizing is the timeout period.  Students who are in this position do not know where their next step should be and let outcomes from tests determine their next step.  Escape is when a student is abandoning their responsibility and they do not want to make commitments.  Retreat is when a student goes back to dualism and wants a counselor or another type authority to give them the answers to what their next step should be.

Use in Higher Education
Residence Hall, Academic Advisors, Financial Aid Advisors or Admissions advisors use Perry’s Theory in counseling with students.  The residence hall advisors could use this theory with the way they pair up students in their halls.  They would be able to figure out what type of students they are dealing with when a student has a problem.  Financial Aid advisors could also benefit from this theory because the advisors deal with different types of students who do not want to take responsibility for why their paperwork did not get turned in on time.  Students usually want someone to tell them if they are doing the process correctly.  Sometimes with where I work we call this handholding.  With Perry’s Theory we can figure out what kind of student we are dealing with and help them move (or reposition) from the dualistic position to a position that accepts multiple views. 

Annotated Bibliography Entry
Zhang, L., & Watkins, D. (2001). Cognitive Development and Student Approaches To Learning: An Investigation of Perry's Theory with Chinese and U.S. University Students. Higher Education, 41(3), 239-61. Retrieved from ERIC database.

The authors, Zhang and Watkins conducted research using Perry’s theory on 67 US students and 193 mainland Chinese students to see if they could find relationships between the cognitive developments of these students.  They had three main goals 1) to examine the relationship between Zhang Cognitive Development Inventory and the Study Process Questionnaire, 2) to explore the differences in cognitive developmental patterns between American and Chinese students, and 3) to identify the similarities and differences between American and Chinese students in the relationships of cognitive development with academic achievement and with selected student characteristics.  American students showed more of a relativistic way of learning.  Chinese students were more dualistic.  Chinese students when they first enter college have a predetermined major.  US students are more open to finding out what interests them and are more open to trying different fields than Chinese students are.  I found this article helpful because when Perry conducted his initial research he did not take into consideration students from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds.  He also did not conduct his research on other types of students besides males. 

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development
in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Zhang, L., & Watkins, D. (2001). Cognitive development and student approaches to learning: An investigation of Perry's Theory with Chinese and U.S. university students. Higher Education, 41(3), 239-61. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Additional Readings
Perry, W.G., Jr. (1968).  Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years:  A scheme.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Chickering's Theory of Seven Vectors by Andrea Cox

Theory Overview
Chickering’s Theory of Seven Vectors (1969) delves into the idea that college students experience seven vectors of development throughout their college experience. These vectors of development must reach resolution for the student to achieve identity. Though Chickering, and later as revised by Reisser (1993), did not necessarily state that a student’s movement through these seven vectors were sequential, the theory indicates that student’s must resolve through a specific group of vectors as a springboard or foundation towards progressing through later vectors (Foubert, 2005).
As to the revision of the vectors as instigated by Reisser, the definition of development meant students were proceeding along the seven vectors of developing competence, managing emotions, moving through autonomy toward inter-dependence,  developing mature interpersonal relationship, establishing identity, developing purpose, and developing integrity (Foubert,  2005) during their college experience.  Chickering and Reisser go on to postulate that students can experience several vectors at once rather than having to resolve one before moving on to the other.  The vectors build upon each other leading to greater “complexity, stability, and integration” (Evans, 2010). Chickering and Reisser also acknowledged that the educational environment plays an enormous role in a student’s ability to progress and resolve each vector. They suggested seven educational environmental influences that impact a student’s development are as follows: institutional objectives, institutional size, student-faculty relationship, curriculum, teaching, friendships and student communities, and student development programs (Evans, 2010).  These influences not only affect a student’s ability to progress through all seven vectors, but also, affect the rate in which they do so.
However, what Chickering and Reisser fail to fully address is the application of the seven vectors to a diverse group of student’s, i.e., students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds, gender, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.
Use in Higher Education
An example of how Chickering’s theory and seven vectors are used in higher education is most apparent in the inherent differences between incoming freshman and a graduating senior.  It is clear in most cases that a graduating senior will have resolved many of Chickering’s vectors by the time they are ready to enter the “real world.” Freshmen, on the other hand, are in a transition period where they are starting to build a “foundation” of basic college student developmental needs before attempting to address such vectors as “developing purpose” or “establishing identity”, which most seniors may have already experienced. Student affairs individuals or academic counselors have different expectations when a freshman enters their office versus when a senior enters. In such a scenario, an advisor can use Chickering’s vectors to assess where the student is on their developmental journey simply by knowing what class they are in.  Again, it would be prudent to utilize Chickering’s theory and vectors as a guideline to addressing student needs rather than trying to assess sequentially where the student is and where the student “should be going” as their next stage of development. As indicated in the below article, “A longitudinal Study of Chickering and Reisser’s Vectors: Exploring Gender Differences and Implications for Refining the Theory” by John D. Foubert, Monica L. Nixcon, V. Shamim Sisson, and Amy Barnes, it is important to understand that applying Chickering’s vectors sequentially to a very diverse population of students, in this case males vs. females, may not be as useful since students develop differently at different rates and many times, these differing rates of development could be connected to factors like gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Annotated Bibliography
Foubert, J., Nixon, M.L, & Sisson, V.S. (2005). A longitudinal study of Chickering and Reisser’s vectors: Exploring gender differences and implications for refining the theory.  Journal of College Student Development, 46, 461-471. doi: 10.1353/csd.2005.0047
This article examines Chickering’s and Reisser’s theory and seven vectors as they apply to students depending on gender.  The author’s partially support the theory that student’s develop along these vectors during their college experience. However, they go on to question the validity of the theory being sequential and attempt to establish the theory that student’s develop through these vectors at different rates, in different “orders”, based on factors such as race, ethnicity, and particular to this study, gender. They found that women tend to develop through the vector of mature, interpersonal relationships before they experience the vector dealing with autonomy and interdependence. In fact, their findings suggest that women actually enter college more “developed” than their male counterparts and because much of their development is in developing inter-personal relationships, women are more tolerant of others differences and more accepting of diverse populations than men generally speaking. The authors suggest that this finding indicates that student affairs personnel consider programs that focus on facilitating men’s development in areas of stereotyping, language, and the value of diversity. They conclude that this study confirms that examining the diversity of the college student population in relation to Chickering’s and Reisser’s vectors is essential to its proper application.
Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (1st ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Foubert, J., Nixon, M.L, & Sisson, V.S. (2005). A longitudinal study of Chickering and Reisser’s vectors: Exploring gender differences and implications for refining the theory.  Journal of College Student Development, 46, 461-471. doi: 10.1353/csd.2005.0047
Additional Readings
Chickering, A.W. (1969).  Education and identity.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.
Chickering, A.W. & Reisser, L. (1993).  Education and identity (2nd ed.).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.