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Student Development Theory Importance, history and utility.

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1 Student Development Theory Importance, history and utility

2 Introduction Student development theories is simply defined as a group of educational psychology which postulates how knowledge is acquired and developed by students in higher institution of learning. Although this focuses on post-secondary education, it applies to any student.

3 Basic Assumptions Student development theories are based on three major assumptions. It is assumed that every student is different in his uniqueness and has unique needs. It is also assumed that the student’s environment plays a crucial role in the development process.

4 Basic Assumptions It is further assumed that students are stakeholders in their education so they take active role in their willingness to get educated.

5 Categories of Theories Cognitive-structural: The theories which fall into this group address how students interpret their experiences in life (Evans, Forney & Guido-DiBrito,1998). Psychosocial: These are groups of theories which cater for events which happen in stages and which occur for a long period of time.

6 Categories of Theories Humanistic Existential Theories: these are groups of philosophical theories that deals basically about human nature and the application of self efficacy in tackling human problems. Cognitive Structural Theories: these is a group of theories which deal with the ways students understand and interpret their experiences.

7 Categories of Theories Student Development Process Model: this is the fifth category of student development theories which are the principles upon which various student development theories revolve.

8 Student Development Theories Having explored the categories that student development theories belong to, some of the theories shall be explored. It is to be noted that these theories are so much and cannot be exhausted in a single paper like this.

9 Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development This theory is based on the presupposition that humans have the capability to communicate, reason and exhibit the desire to understand other people and the complex world around them (Kohlberg, Lawrence & Lickona, ed. (1976). According to the author, moral reasoning is the basis for moral behaviour.

10 Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development (cont,.) Further, moral reasoning develops in six developmental stages where each successive stage is more adept than the preceding stage. Kohlberg agued that entire process of moral development has to do with justice and the development continues throughout the individual lifetime (Kohlberg 1958).

11 Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development (cont,.) Kohlberg agrees that this theory is basically about the developmental stages of moral reasoning, it is justice-based. Additionally, he noted that it is consistent with the formations of the well notarized philosophical deontology. This theory is often used in counseling.

12 Schlossberg's Transition Theory This is another student developmental theories which deals with the transition and the effects of such transitions. According to Schlossberg, transition in defined as any event or non-event which bring about assumptions, roles, routine and changed relationships. It occurs in stages and steps

13 Schlossberg's Transition Theory (cont.) According to the author, transition is defined as any event or non-event which is capable of causing changes in routines, assumptions, roles and relationship (Evans, Forney & Guido-DiBrito,1998). Further, there are different types of transition which are: anticipated, unanticipated and nonevent.

14 Schlossberg's Transition Theory (cont.) Anticipated transition is the type that the individual already has a prior knowledge of, and which can be predicted. Unanticipated type is the one which is occurs suddenly without warning and which cannot be predicted. Non-event are the transitions which are expected but may not occur.

15 Schlossberg's Transition Theory (cont.) Schlossberg understands that transition has impacts on people so came up with coping strategies which are known as 4S’s Situation, support, strategy and self are the four identified factors that influence how a person copes with the transition. This theory serves as a guideline on the steps to take in the event of transition.

16 Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning This theory posits that an individual can learn directly from his experiences (Itin, 1999). Kolb explained that there are experiential learning is based on four models which offer explanations of how learning is possible through experiences (Kolb, Boyatzis & Mainemelis, 2000).

17 Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning (cont.) Kolb’s models of learning include:  Concrete experience  Abstract Conceptualization  Reflective Observation, and  Active Experimentation According to Kolb, these models play very active roles in determining experiential learning.

18 Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning (cont.) The author posits that experiential learning does not require the presence of a human teacher for learning to take place because learning is acquired basically through experiences. For instance, a lot of people learns through their past mistakes while others learn through other people’s mistakes.

19 Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning (cont.) Kolb argued that all experiences do not lead to learning. He explained that for experiences to lead to learning and acquisition of gainful knowledge, certain prerequisites are needed from the individual. These include, among many other factors:  The active will power of the learner to be involved in the experience;

20 Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning (cont.)  The ability of the learner to reflect on the experience;  The ability of the learner to use analytical skills to create a mental concept of the experiences acquired;  Decision-making skill must be possessed by the learner; and  Problem-solving skill is also a must.

21 Conclusion It was mentioned that student development theories are simply defined as a group of educational psychology which postulates how knowledge is acquired and developed. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development is based on the assumption that humans are creations of reason and moral beings.

22 Conclusion Schlossberg’s Transition Theory is another student developmental theories which deals with the transition and the effects of such transitions. Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning posits that an individual can learn directly from his experiences.

23 References Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. Kohlberg, Lawrence; T. Lickona, ed. (1976). "Moral stages and moralization: The cognitive- developmental approach". Moral Development and Behavior: Theory, Research and Social Issues. Holt, NY: Rinehart and Winston.

24 References Kohlberg, Lawrence (1958). "The Development of Modes of Thinking and Choices in Years 10 to 16". Ph. D. Dissertation, University of Chicago. Itin, C. M. (1999). Reasserting the Philosophy of Experiential Education as a Vehicle for Change in the 21st Century. The Journal of Experiential Education 22(2),

25 References Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R. E., & Mainemelis, C. (2000). Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research and New Directions. In Perspectives on cognitive, learning, and thinking styles. Sternberg & Zhang (Eds.). NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


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