Thursday, November 15, 2007

William G. Perry, Jr. & Marcia B. Baxter

William G. Perry, Jr. and Marcia B. Baxter Magolda are developmental psychologists whose theories build upon the ideas of Jean Piaget. Unlike Piaget, however, Perry and Magolda explore the cognitive processes of humans older than fifteen. Perry defines four levels of cognitive development: dualism, multiplicity, relativism, and commitment to critical evaluation. Magolda defines the four ways of knowing: absolute, transitional, independent, and contextual. For more information about these stages please references: A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers by Erika Lindemann.

Basically, Perry and Magolda theorize college students, ages seventeen to nineteen, are more absolute in their world beliefs. To these students there exists a state of right or wrong. Hence, teachers should not expect students in this age set to challenge ideas or explore new ways of looking at concepts. During their later college years students gradually begin to question authority and come to see that not everything before them is black and white.

Teachers implementing the philosophies of Piaget, Perry, and Baxter set expectations based on cognitive ability.

Resources for Perry and Magolda:

Teachers who implement, or are interested in the Kegan model may find “A Developmental Model of Intercultural Maturity” by Patricia King and Marcia Magolda an interesting read. It can be found in the Journal of College Student Development, Nov/Dec 2005.

Image: (accessed 11/20/07) This is an article commemorating the life of William Graves Perry Jr. He died of pneumonia on January 12, 1998. (accessed 11/22/07) This is a great link that elaborates on Perry’s four levels of development. Also, at the bottom of the page, you can find hyperlinks to: Theories of Learning and Teaching Resources. (accessed 11/22/07) This site contains links to nine articles by Magola.

Texts by Perry:

Perry, William G., Jr. Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the

College Years: A Scheme. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970.

Perry, William G., Jr. "Cognitive and Ethical Growth: The Making of Meaning,”

in Arthur W. Chickering and Associates, The Modern American College. San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1981.

Text by Magolda:

Magolda, Marcia B. Baxter. Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming

Higher Education to Promote Self-Development. Virginia: Stylus Publishing, 2001.

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