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There are several stages of reflective judgment theory; each stage is divided into three levels. The level is pre reflective, quasi-reflective, and reflective thinking. Pre Reflective stage is the student believes what they hear or what they have seen. Quasi-reflective thinking is when a student makes his own conclusion on an issue and then researches it to find “truth”. The student will make a decision based gut feelings or just what feels right. At this stage, a student will believe what he wants to believe, however, understand others will have different views and respect that both could be right. Reflective judgment is when a student is able to compare different evidence and opinions and construct solution personally. Possible selves involve a student looking at what he could possibly be in the future. When a student struggle or dismiss the value of education, it can be speculated that his is in the pre reflective stage of the reflective judgment theory.
Helping a student move from a lower level into the next level of reflective judgment theory can be challenging but possible. This student who is in stage one, would not value education as much and would consider getting a job rather than an education because they can even though they are capable off concrete thinking but usually believe what they see is and never search for the truth. It is also the stage where students do not research or examine their truth. It is important to guide a student when he is in this stage.
It would be beneficial for the student to examine his possible self. If he reflect on where he is and where he could be, he must also reflect on how he will get there successfully. If a student is dismissing the value of an education, he is probably in this stage. In order to move him forward, one must try to encourage him to seek other truths and research information so that he is able to prepare to infinitely defend his position for all points. If education is unimportant he should have research arguments for and against continued education before giving up on school.
Understanding why the student is dismissing the value of education is going to be the key in helping him progress to the next stage off. If he is making a decision based on his possible self, he could be afraid of what he could possible become. One poet wrote that “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness.(Williamson, 1992). Sometimes giving up and not seeing what a person could become is easier than becoming someone that a person is unfamiliar with.
An example of this is a young man that has been economically challenged having the opportunity to attend college but because no one in his family has attended college and are still economically challenged. He could dismiss the importance of an education because he feels that his family will think he would look down on him if he betters himself. If he was in the stage five of this theory, he would be able to understand that there are other possible solutions to his problems.
In stage five of the reflective judgment theory, the student will be able to understand that everyone have different approach to a situation, and one way is no better than the other. Stage five concept of justification states that beliefs are justified within a particular context via the rules of inquiry for that context. Justifications are assumed to be context specific or are balanced against each other, delaying conclusions (Kail, ). If the student reaches this stage, he would be able to better understand the ramification of his decision. He would understand birth point of view before making a decision.
Advancing through the stages of the reflective judgment theory occurs as a person become more educated and mature. As a young adult, it is hard to make good decisions because there is not any information to base his decisions on that is reliable. He believes what he sees and hears, but as he becomes more comfortable in the school environment and learn more, he would be able to make more informed decisions.
Relative Judgment Theory allows a person to reflect on the whats, whos, and the whys. However these questions are intrinsically motivation and the answer must come to the asker. This theory allows the most undereducated person to the advance student the oppurtinuty to be informed and responsible for the decision.
Kail, R.V., & Cavanaugh, J.C. (2010). Human development: A life-span view (5th ed.). doi: 1009-0001-161F-00001620.
Williamson, M. (1992). A return to love. Reflections on the principles of a course in miracles. Harper Collins.