C. Knowledge and Understanding of Student Populations and Student Development

To gather an understanding of students in order to best help them to learn, it is important to know the various dimensions of both developed and developing student identities. Some of these identities may confer privilege, power and dominance, and some of these identities may subordinate or oppress students. Context, worldview, and culture all contribute to an individual student’s identity and development, both psychosocial and cognitive. Theory can help simplify the complexities of intersectionality, but theories must be utilized in conjunction with one another to offer full pictures of students. Theory and reflection also benefit from action to provide praxis in education that engages students and educators in disrupting the system of privilege and oppression in our culture and empowering students to continue to change the system in the future.

In my learning regarding student development and student populations, I have been able to investigate specific populations and developmental theories in depth. Learning more about students is an act that engages my sense of wonder at the complexities involved. However, in these two years, I have certainly not been able to engage with all student populations, and my doubt arises whenever I think of the implications of cultural competency, as it implies understanding all cultures, an impossible task. Therefore, my goal is to continue to learn about possible various student identities, my own intersecting identities, and how our interactions may engage notions of dominance and subordination that I will strive to overturn.

The following are aspects of competency C on which I have written individual reflections. Please click on an aspect to go directly to the post:

1. Understand the impact of student identity, cultural heritage, and institutional and societal systems (including power and privilege), on identity development, personal growth, individual perspectives, and students’ experiences

2. Recognize various dimensions of identity and the intersectionality of those dimensions in the lives and learning experiences of students

3. Analyze and apply concepts and theories of student and human development to enhance work with students

4. Identify and articulate issues students face when transitioning into and out of institutions of higher education

5. Assess the impact of varied higher educational settings and institutional types on the student experience

6. Apply varying approaches and relevant technology to communicating with different students and student populations

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