Student Development Theory

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Student developmental theories describe the experiences of students, the holistic development of students, and how their experiences affect their development in order to inform the theory-to-practice-to-theory loop. In order to demonstrate a firm understanding of theory, one must be able to apply theory to practice. Student development theory emerged from the fields of psychology and sociology as student affairs professionals noticed the need to understand the experiences of students half of the 20th century and how practices in higher education could facilitate their development (Patton, Renn, Guido, & Quaye, 2016). These roots generated general theories on human development, but did not directly speak to the experiences of students at institutions …show more content…
53-54): (1) Upon what population is the theory based? (2) How was the theory developed? (3) Is the theory descriptive? (4) Is the theory explanatory? (5) Is the theory prescriptive? (6) Is the theory heuristic? (7) Is the theory useful in practice? As with Walsh’s qualities, any theory that does not generate a desired response to all of Knefelkamp’s questions for utility when evaluated, will have limited utility. For example, a theory that is based on a population of white men of a high socioeconomic status, then the model may have low utility for a population of racially minoritized women of a low socioeconomic status, due to the different experiences and social contexts between the two populations.
Theories
In order to demonstrate an understanding of four frameworks related to student development, I will present each item, apply it to my personal experiences, apply them to my work, and critique the item. The frameworks I chose to include are the white racial consciousness model, the theory of social reproduction, the involvement theory, and Kholberg’s theory of moral development (all found in Patton et al., 2016).
White Racial Consciousness
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In my work I occasionally encounter situations with students who have unachieved White racial consciousness and I have to work to help them achieve White racial consciousness. These cases usually involve microaggressions such as talking about inappropriate party themes (ie. Mexican and pimps and hos) or racial jokes (ex. Asian students being good at math). These students are usually avoidant or dependent In these cases I challenge students’ ideas by asking questions in order to create dissonance and facilitate

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