This paper begins with a concise description of various levels of reflective judgment model and the possible selves. The levels of the model that the paper describes include the pre-reflective, quasi-reflective, and reflective development levels. The paper then points out that a learner who dismisses the value of education falls in the level of pre-reflective thinking.
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Subsequently, the paper describes how such a learner can be encouraged to move from his present level to the next levels of reflective judgment. The paper concludes that integrating the reflective judgment model with the theory of possible selves is crucial in assisting a learner who dismisses education to change his way of thinking.
The reflective judgment model has seven stages, which fall into three broad levels of development, including “pre reflective, quasi-reflective, and reflective thinking” (Love & Guthrie, 1999, p.43). Learners in the pre-reflective level (stages 1, 2, and 3) think that knowledge is correct and specific. Learners in this group acquire knowledge from their seniors or from their personal observations. They believe that a precise answer is obtainable by using the right facts.
On the other hand, learners in quasi-reflective levels (stages 4 and 5) identify aspects of ambiguity and perceive some circumstances as truly challenging. They cannot decipher ill-structured challenges and will claim that coming up with a judgment in such areas is not feasible. Besides, they perceive knowledge as fully subjective. Whilst they recognize that evidence should form the basis for judgments, they only use evidence in an idiosyncratic and eccentric way. Learners at this level do not fully perceive the difference between making assertions and justifying positions.
Conversely, learners in reflective judgment level (Stages 6 and 7) are capable of structuring defensible views, but they are never sure whether their opinions about ill-structured challenges are right. While these learners recognize the uncertainty of knowing, they deem that it is possible to formulate a judgment by combining evidence and professional views into a sensible inference. Further, learners at this level appreciate their role as active participants in building their understanding of humanity. They recognize that the interpretation of knowledge must be in the context of its production.
Possible selves are the identities one hopes to acquire in the near or far future. Possible selves are crucial in goal planning and inspiration. They give room for self-development and individual growth. Besides, they offer an opportunity for tests and experiments on a variety of potential futures.
A learner who does not value education falls under the pre-reflective level of judgment. In this level, a learner only believes in what he or she can see and pays little attention to research and quest for truth. In most cases, such a learner comes from low-income groups or has a minority background where there are hardly any role models in the area of education. As a result, he or she desires to have a job but not to go through the education process. Nevertheless, such a learner can develop his reflective judgment to a higher level when there is appropriate support.
The first step in assisting such a learner would be to lead him through discovering his possible self. The best way for a learner to discover his possible self is through carrying out research to establish other truths apart from what he can see and hear. In the process of research, the learner is likely to encounter discrepant information that he can no longer refute. For instance, the learner may come across diverse views or different cultures, and this automatically challenges his perception patterns. The ensuing dissonance forces him to search for more answers from other places, and this spurs the move from pre-reflective thinking to the quasi-reflective level.
In moving from pre-reflective thinking, a learner can also be encouraged to establish his possible self through personal reflections. In this case, a learner reflects about his present position as well as where he desires to reach in the future. The optimistic learner can then be encouraged to formulate strategies that will enable him to attain his desires. Strategies are real actions like reading or completing assignments on time. Strategies assist an individual in realizing goals and preparing for any possible impediments.
A school counselor can support a learner in connecting school-focused possible selves to definite strategies. This would involve linking positive expectations of a learner’s success in school and academic achievements to particular actions such as putting more effort into mathematics and not absconding lessons. According to Rossiter (2007), possible selves can enhance a learner’s security and optimism about the future regardless of immediate situations.
Furthermore, a learner needs to be encouraged to rationalize his or her beliefs when making arguments, in order that he can move from the quasi-reflective level to reflective judgment. A learner at the quasi-reflective level will experience inherent inconsistencies in his own beliefs, and he needs to be encouraged to seek new methods to justify his perceptions and resolve these dissonances. As a learner starts to relate facts and arguments to perceptions, he also starts to understand knowledge as contextual (Love & Guthrie, 1999). Finally, a learner needs to be encouraged to evaluate evidence and to make conclusions that are applicable in diverse contexts, as this triggers reflective thinking.
In conclusion, integrating the reflective judgment model with the theory of possible selves is crucial in assisting a learner who dismisses education to change his way of thinking. Such a learner falls under the pre-reflective level of judgment. One way of assisting the learner in moving to subsequent levels of reflective judgment would be guiding him through discovering his possible self. A learner can discover his possible self through personal reflections and research to establish other truths.
Love, P. G., & Guthrie, V. L. (1999). Understanding and applying cognitive development theory. California, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Rossiter, M. (2007). Possible selves and adult learning: Perspectives and potential. California, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.