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Cognitive Development. A Look at How Students Think. Do any of these sound familiar?. “So…which is the right answer?” “What exactly do you want from us?” “Well, if there is no right answer, then my opinion is just as valid as yours.”. If so, it’s not surprising….

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cognitive development

Cognitive Development

A Look at How Students Think

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

do any of these sound familiar
Do any of these sound familiar?
  • “So…which is the right answer?”
  • “What exactly do you want from us?”
  • “Well, if there is no right answer, then my opinion is just as valid as yours.”

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

if so it s not surprising
If so, it’s not surprising…
  • And it’s not necessarily because the students have been given wrong answers…
  • Or, because you’ve been confusing or unclear…
  • Rather…your students’ cognitive development may not have reached a level appropriate to what you are expecting from them

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

cognitive development1
Cognitive Development
  • What is Cognitive Development?
  • Why is it important to understand?
  • Perry’s model of Cognitive Development
  • Other models
  • References

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

what is cognitive development
What is Cognitive Development?
  • Cognitive development is a process through which people develop more sophisticated methods of understanding or perceiving information, opinions, theories, or facts.
  • In a sense…it describes the intellectual transition a person makes from being able to deal with a black and white world, to one with many shades of gray.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

why is it important to understand
Why is it important to understand?
  • Provides insight into student perspectives
  • Helps instructors appreciate how students understand or perceive information
  • Allows instructors to appropriately tailor information or questions
    • Current level
    • Beyond

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

why is it important to understand1
Why is it important to understand?
  • Concepts appropriately beyond the current cognitive level result in:
    • disequilibrium

followed by

    • accomodation
  • Going too far can cause frustration. If too great, the student may leave.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

perry s model
Perry’s Model
  • Perry’s model is concerned with:
    • How students move from a dualistic (black and white) view of the universe to a more relativistic (shades of gray) view
    • How students develop commitments within the relativistic world
  • Perry’s model includes four separate stages which are broken down into nine individual positions

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

perry s model the positions
Perry’s Model: The Positions
  • Stage 1: Dualism
    • Position 1 – Basic Duality
    • Position 2 – Dualism: Multiplicity Prelegitimate
  • Stage 2: Multiplicity
    • Position 3 – Early Multiplicity
    • Position 4 – Complex Dualism and Advanced Multiplicity

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

perry s model the positions1
Perry’s Model: The Positions
  • Stage 3: Relativism
    • Position 5 – Relativism
    • Position 6 – Relativism: Commitment Foreseen
  • Stage 4: Commitment
    • Positions 7, 8 and 9 – Levels of Commitment

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

stage 1 dualism
Stage 1 – Dualism
  • Students learn how to learn
  • There are right answers and wrong answers.
  • Learning is information exchange.
  • Knowledge is quantitative and the right answers are dispensed by authorities.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 1 basic duality
Position 1: Basic Duality
  • World view is dualistic – right versus wrong
  • Authorities know all of the answers
  • Men identify with authority. Women do not.
  • Instructor should teach correct answers. Failure to do so indicates the instructor is bad.
  • Conflicts with multiplicity result in accommodation by modifying position 1 and moving to position 2.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 2 multiplicity prelegitimate
Position 2: Multiplicity Prelegitimate
  • Multiplicity exists, but basic dualistic view maintained
  • There is a right and wrong.
  • Multiple views are either wrong or “the authority is playing games to make us figure out the right answer”
  • Since authorities can be wrong, the absolute answers are independent of authority, and consequently some authorities are smarter than others.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 2 multiplicity prelegitimate1
Position 2: Multiplicity Prelegitimate
  • Engineering students in this position can solve problems
    • Closed-end
    • Single correct answer

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

stage 2 multiplicity
Stage 2 – Multiplicity
  • Students learn to think independently and improve their ability to think analytically.
  • There are conflicting answers, so one must trust their inner voice, not authority.
  • A continuum exists such that diverse views can be accepted when the answer is unknown.
  • All opinions are valid.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 3 early multiplicity
Position 3: Early Multiplicity
  • Multiplicity unavoidable – even in hard sciences/engineering
  • Still one right answer, but it may be unknown by authority
  • Gap widens between authority and the one truth

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 3 early multiplicity1
Position 3: Early Multiplicity
  • Realization begins that knowledge in some areas is “fuzzy”
  • Conflict arises – how can instructor evaluate student’s work if the answer is not yet known?
  • “What do they want?”
  • In engineering few opportunities exist, outside of design classes, to move to positions 3 or 4

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 4 complex dualism and advanced multiplicity
Position 4: Complex Dualism and Advanced Multiplicity
  • Tries to retain dualistic view, but understands that variety of opinion legitimately exists
  • Conforms to “what authority wants” by learning independent intellectual thought
  • Learns that independent-like thought will earn good grades

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 4 complex dualism and advanced multiplicity1
Position 4: Complex Dualism and Advanced Multiplicity
  • May oppose authority’s wants in areas where multiplicity is important
  • Engineer in position 4 can generate clever, creative solutions to problems.
  • May lack vision and ability to prioritize.
  • Many engineers with advanced degrees are in positions 3 and 4

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

stage 3 relativism
Stage 3 – Relativism
  • Individual recognizes the need to support opinions
  • Rationale for beliefs takes into account questioning as well as a contextual basis for positions taken.
  • Knowledge is viewed more qualitatively.
  • Knowledge is contextually defined, based on evidence and supporting arguments.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 5 relativism
Position 5: Relativism
  • Student now sees everything as relative
  • Relativism is now the common characteristic and absolutes are the exceptions. This is the reverse of position 4.
  • Relativistic thought becomes habitual without being noticed.
  • Students in a relativistic position advances beyond the “all opinions are equal” stage by using evidence to develop positions which are more likely.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 6 relativism commitment foreseen
Position 6: Relativism – Commitment Foreseen
  • Student can see the need for commitment, but has not yet made it
  • Commitment is a mature decision made after one has accepted that the world can be viewed as relativistic and has seen all of the possibilities

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

position 6 relativism commitment foreseen1
Position 6: Relativism – Commitment Foreseen
  • Previous decisions recalled and examined from a detached viewpoint.
  • Commitments can be made in a variety of areas such as career, religion, marriage, politics, values, etc.
  • Major commitments are not to be rushed. Student may stay in position 6 for a while.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

stage 4 commitment
Stage 4 – Commitment
  • Student finds the sense of identity searched for elsewhere.
  • Knowledge learned from others integrated with personal experience and thought.
  • Making choices in a contextual world.
  • Initiates the ethical development of the thinker

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

positions 7 8 and 9 levels of commitment
Positions 7, 8 and 9: Levels of Commitment
  • Positions 7 through 9 are levels of commitment beginning initially in position 7.
  • Positions represent degrees of development and depth.

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

other cognitive development models
Other Cognitive Development Models
  • Baxter Magolda\'s Model of Epistemological Reflection
  • Belenky\'s Epistemological Perspectives from Which Women Know and View the World
  • Sinnott’s Complex Postformal Thought

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

references
References
  • Wankat, Phillip C., Oreovicz, Frank S., Teaching Engineering, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, Chapter 14.
  • www.cs.buffalo.edu/~rapaport/perry.positions.html
  • www.ericfacility.net/ericdigest/ed284272.html
  • www.new.towson.edu/iact/main_files/cognitive.htm
  • admin.vmi.edu/ir/sid.htm

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

references1
References
  • academic.pg.cc.md.us/~wpeirce/MCCCTR/perry~1.html
  • arl.cni.org/newsltr/193/ld.html
  • english.ttu.edu/kairos/2.1/features/brent/perry.htm

Gateway Engineering Education Coalition

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