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The Importance Of Identity Development

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It is believed that the worth of a student’s education relies on experience and curricula outside of the classroom, as well as academics. Experience and curricula foster growth which in turn leads to developing the student as a “whole.” Understanding how students from many different backgrounds develop is the key to establishing effective programs and policies that with promote positive student growth. Development can be influenced by things such as race, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, social class, disability, and faith and spirituality. However, a large part of development lies within psychosocial, ethical, and moral development. The primary goal of development for college students can be found in the development of self-authorship.…show more content…
Students typically enter college in the fifth stage of identity versus identity diffusion. Students are struggling to explore their independence and develop an idea of the self. This is the perfect opportunity for student affairs to develop learning activities that will engage students in the exploration of other cultures, beliefs, and ideas. Residence halls at larger institutions are crucial for fostering communications and relationships that will help students build an identity from. For community college without residential capabilities, it is important to establish activities that promote student bonding and relationships in a fun, stress-free setting. These relationships will become a part of the following stage of intimacy versus isolation. A strong sense of identity will lead to healthy relationships. Chickering and Reisser saw that college students move through several stages while developing an identity. They developed seven vectors that explained the way college students view experiences and form them into stages of development. These seven vectors are not to be viewed as linear progression, although cognitive abilities become more complex as students enter higher vectors. Chickering also expressed importance in understanding that not all students will move through these vectors at the same rate and it is possible for students…show more content…
Student affairs can and should create holding environments to encourage forward movement as students develop. Kegan developed the orders of consciousness which serve as suggestions and guidelines for the most beneficial ways to challenge and support students in each stage of development. In Kegan’s orders, college students will become more aware of the self, move into socialization and the need for rewards, to a self-authoring mind when students develop responsibility and form relationships. Each of these themes can provide direction for student affairs. Providing opportunities for exploration and reflection will influence identity. Providing small things like food or free movie events during times when students may be feeling overwhelmed can help them feel appreciated and encourage them to keep moving forward. Maintaining high student outcomes will challenge students while other incentives will make them feel
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