Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baxter Magolda's Model of Epistemological Reflection

Chris is a very intelligent student.  He is a hard worker and strives to achieve his highest potential.  While he excels in the areas of math and science he struggles with English, and he grew up in a Spanish speaking household.  Currently, Chris is in a developmental English course.  He feels bad about the circumstances, but understands that is an area he needs to improve.  He did well the first half of the semester when the writing assignments were based on personal experiences, but is struggling now that his assignments are starting to incorporate research.  He is also struggling to keep up with that class, because of his outside work and family obligations. 

Looking at Baxter Magolda's Model of Epistemological Reflection  Chris is in the transitional knowing stage (Evans et al., 2010).  He learns best from his peers and building relationships with others.  Experiential learning is a primary way in which he learns and that is why he did well in the beginning of the semester when he wrote papers about personal experiences.  Chris is also struggling because a good amount of the class time is given to them to work in the library independently on upcoming work, and in the beginning of the semester there was more group work and discussion.  Chris benefits from sharing ideas.

The other stages in Baxter Magolda's Model of Epistemological Reflection are Absolute knowing (before transitional knowing), independent knowing, and contextual knowing (both stages following transitional knowing) (Evans et al., 2010).

Someone who is in the absolute knowing stage believes that authority figures have all the answers and look to them asking many questions.  At this point Chris accepts that authority figures do not have all the answers.  Someone in the independent knowing stage values their own ideas and the ideas of others.  They want context provided when receiving knowledge, and someone in the contextual knowing stage requires that evidence be provided and are alright with uncertainty (Evans et al., 2010).  Chris has not made it to either one of these stages yet.
Evans, N., Forney, D., Guido, F., Patton, L., & Renn, K. (2010). Student development in
college: Theory, research, and practice (2nd. Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Publishers.





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