This activity is used to introduce students to the Perry Scheme of Student Intellectual and Ethical Development. Educational Psychologist William Perry identifies four major stages in student development: dualism, multiplicity, relativism and committed relativism.
Instead of being presented the Scheme with its categories and characteristics, the instructor creates a list of 4-5 statements related to each stage in Perry’s Scheme. These statements are cut up individually and mixed together in an envelope. Students, in groups, work in class to find patterns among the statements, and try to organize them back into coherent groups. They also give their own name to the student profile and they are encouraged to draw (or find) a picture of that student. (There is lots of room here to unpack stereotypes…) Students, as a class, then discuss the reasons for how they divided the statements. They identify patterns and highlight core characteristics that group certain statements
The instructor presents Perry’s Scheme and leads a discussion.
A suggestion would be to leave time to present challenges to and criticisms of Perry’s Scheme. For example, one could look at Baxter’s model of relational knowledge.
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