Using Developmental Theories for More Effective Teaching

This article reviews six developmental theories and what they suggest to college teachers about various perspectives on student cognitive and moral/ethical development. First, the progression of understanding of human development from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day is summarized. The discussion of each theory includes reviews of some of the more recent discussion and critiques in the literature on those theories. The first theory discussed is Piaget’s cognitive development theory and includes his definition of stages and how individuals progress from one stage to the next. Perry’s scheme of intellectual and ethical development addresses how college students’ cognitive processing matures through dualism, multiplicity, relativism, and commitment.
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