Perry’s model of cognitive development will help you learn more about the learning process. William Perry claimed that individuals went through four stages of development during their college years.
· Stage 1 is called the Dualism stage because students tend to divide the world into right/wrong, true/false good/bad dichotomies. Students view the teacher as right and that the student’s role is to give the teacher back what they have received. They are frustrated when asked to listen to other students’ opinions (since they are likely to be wrong) and content when the teacher is clear and comfortable in lectures and assignments.
· Stage 2 is called the Multiplicity stage because students have come to realize that other than a few dualistic areas, most knowledge is a matter of opinion and, therefore, any opinion is knowledgeable. The student’s role is to offer their ideas. They are frustrated when they find that requirements restrict them and happy when allowed to express themselves.
· Stage 3 is called the Contextual Relativism stage. Students recognize that there are disciplinary guidelines for choosing among various opinions. They accept that it is the student’s role to apply the skills and knowledge base of the academic field. They are frustrated when arbitrary opinions seem to rule and content when they have the information they need to use to form a solid judgment.
· Stage 4 is called the Commitment within Contextual Relativism stage. In it, students connect their disciplinary skills to new settings and see the need to apply knowledge and skills to settings outside the classroom. They are frustrated by activities that cover content without knowing relevant applications and happy when allowed to apply ideas to everyday problems.