ERIC Number: ED214461
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Hearing How Students "Make Meaning": Listening Through Perry Ears.
Stonewater, Jerry K.; And Others
Perry's theory of intellectual and ethical development of college students is briefly reviewed. This theory was based on work with Harvard University students, and addresses dualism, multiplicity, and relativism. In the first stage, a student sees the world in right-wrong, black-white terms, with no room in the thinking process for conditional or contextual reasoning. The assumption of the dualist is that all knowledge is known, that authority knows it all, and that it is up to authority to give the student the right answer. Multiplicity represents a significant broadening of the student's understanding: the student begins to realize that there might be more than one right answer or way of looking at some things. The view of authority is that in areas where there are several right answers, authority has not found the right answer yet, but will eventually; in other areas, authority will have the answer. Multiplistic students are still not able to weigh one perspective against another, or to see the relative merit of one perspective versus another. As students move into relativism, a fundamental shift in thinking takes place. They realize that in many areas there are no right answers and are now capable of thinking in relativistic or contextual terms. Relationship to authority changes significantly during relativism as students begin to realize that professors think that way too, and although students still look to authority for guidance they see that they themselves can reason too. Later, through a sense of identity and a series of commitments, the student is able to make sense out of reality that was so elusive during relativism. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Perry (William)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Academic Advising Association (Indianapolis, IN, October 1981).