Student Development Theory Case Study

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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.
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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Wayne Rowe, Sandra Bennett, and Donald Atkinson had four concerns with previous White racial identity models (WRIMs): (1) WRIMs “suggest white people and people of color have parallel identity development processes” (Patton et al., 2016, p. 103), (2) WRIMs focus on the increasing sensitivity of White people towards racially minoritized populations, rather than on the development of a White identity, (3) WRIMs use a strict linear structure that was not supported by research, and (4) WRIMs assumed a Black-and-White binary without considering other racial identities (Patton et al., 2016, p. 103). In order to address these concerns, Rowe et al. (1994, found in Patton et al., 2016) introduced the WRCM, assuming “White racial consciousness and racial awareness are related and that dissonance and the manner in which it is resolved is the primary cause for change in racial attitudes” (p. 104). In short, exposure to a stimulus that causes dissonance in an individual’s knowledge of race is likely to cause a change in that individual’s views of race. According to Rowe et al (1994, found in Patton et al., 2016), a nonlinear model, a White individual either has unachieved White racial consciousness with an avoidant, dependent or dissonant attitude, or achieved White racial consciousness fitting into one of four types: dominative; conflictive; reactive; or

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