USING AND PROMOTING REFLECTIVE JUDGMENT AS STUDENT LEADERS ON CAMPUS Patricia M. King, Professor Higher Education, University of Michigan Well- and Ill-Structured Problems Well-Structured Ill–Structured Can be described with a high Cannot be described with a high degree of completeness degree of completeness Can be solved with a high degree of certainty Cannot be solved with a high degree of certainty Experts usually agree on the correct solution Experts often disagree about the best solution, even when the problem can be considered solved Goal: Learn to reason to correct solutions Learn to construct and defend reasonable solutions What Counts as Good Evidence? 1) “Something that agrees with me and how I’ve been raised. If I really don’t believe it, I really don’t take it as concrete fact.” 2) “Something that agrees with my view and with what research says. What one person thinks is right, another person might think is wrong, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It has to be a personal decision.” 3) “Facts that are well researched by independent investigators. But facts have to be interpreted; facts reflect the researchers’ assumptions.” “I wouldn’t listen.” Why not? A.“I have no interest in his/her advice because I won’t really benefit from it.” B. “His advice isn’t relevant to me because he is different from me. I just can’t relate.” C. “Because if I did listen, I would be too easily swayed to follow what she recommends, and right now I’m trying to listen more to myself.” D. “Because it is advice from someone whose background is not relevant to my goals.” E. “Actually, I listened, but I just didn’t follow her advice because I didn’t think it was the best for me.” Criteria for Judging Advice Are you aware when others use criteria you find irrelevant or not useful? What are good criteria to evaluate advice? How do you know when advice is not in your best interest? How could you know this better? How has your work as a student leader affected how you evaluate advice? “I speak up for what I believe.” Why? “Because it helps me get what I want/need.” “Because people are open and it is encouraged and welcomed here—I even get a lot of positive feedback when I do.” “Our group does this a lot. When we discuss our different perspectives, it helps me figure out what I really believe.” “When I feel strongly about an issue, it is important to talk with others about how it impacts me and why we should be concerned about it as a community. For example…” Boes. L. (2006). Discussant comments, ASHE Symposium, Methodological Issues in Assessing Self-Authorship. Criteria for… beliefs, judgments A college education is supposed to include learning how to think and make judgments – good judgments Judgments that are well grounded and defensible Consistent with disciplinary or other criteria appropriate to the context That reflect espoused purposes, values and principles Many students report being overwhelmed by this process and default to “just choosing.” Basis for Beliefs–Desired Skills Think of each box as clusters of evidence. Can sort strong and weak evidence/arguments; show how they fit together to construct an argument. Patricia M. King, U of Michigan Basis for Beliefs-Common Entry Point Point of View #1 Point of View #2 How I was raised You were raised differently How I was taught How you were taught What I want to believe What you want to believe What I take as evidence What you take as evidence Assumes one is right and one is wrong. No explicit criteria for judging this Patricia M. King, U of Michigan Basis for Beliefs-Progress toward RJ Point of View #1 ------------------ Point of View #2 Take perspective/approach into account, which allows each to be examined See that both perspectives reflect assumptions, are based on evidence Begin to examine the evidence: Is it sound? See both as valid, begin to examine strength of evidence Patricia M. King, U of Michigan Basis for Beliefs–Desired Skills Think of each box as clusters of evidence. Can sort strong and weak evidence/arguments; show how they fit together to construct an argument. Patricia M. King, U of Michigan RJ Levels-How to Justify Beliefs Early: Observe phenomenon yourself or ask an authority figure Middle: Gather evidence and arguments; choice is idiosyncratic to knower (e.g., choose evidence that fits a belief) Advanced: What is most compelling based on evidence from variety of considerations (e.g., most complete, reasonable, plausible) What helps you think critically, to make better judgments? What do others do? Classes: Types of readings, assignments, class activities Student organizations: Staff members’ assistance in planning, pointing out resources, trouble-shooting, etc. Other students’ comments & critiques to refine ideas Something else? What do you do? Organize your thoughts more carefully (How?) Ask others to explain the basis of their beliefs Something else? Examples from Your Area/Organization Good Examples of Using Reflective Thinking We drew from multiple perspectives We discussed differences and respectfully challenged each others’ ideas We looked for the basis of others’ ideas before evaluating or rejecting them Examples Where We Did not Use Reflective Thinking Skills What was the discourse like? What happened? Following Up… What is the typical approach to decision making in your organization? Does this approach promote reflective thinking? What factors contribute to this? Does this approach reflect your preferred leadership style? What would help members of your organization think reflectively more often? Thank you! Good luck in your education and especially in your leadership roles! I hope you take full advantage of the rest of your time as a UNCW student.