Promoting Student Cognitive Development

Abstract

This study focused on a theoretically grounded counselor preparation curriculum that was designed to enhance the moral reasoning and cognitive complexity of students as well as teach them the basic skills and theories of counselor education. The curriculum for the counselor training was rooted in a teaching–learning framework that included conditions for facilitating cognitive–developmental growth and skill and theoretical training components. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the developmental effects of the counselor training program as measured in 2 domains of cognitive development: conceptual level and level of moral reasoning. The participants were assessed at 3 different times: prior to entering the counseling program, 1-year into the program, and the month marking the completion of their 2nd year in the program. The Paragraph Completion Method (PCM) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT) were used as estimates of cognitive–developmental level. Analysis of the results revealed a significant gain for the group on the PCM between the 2nd and 3rd assessments and a positive but nonsignificant trend for the DIT.

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Correspondence to Johnston M. Brendel.

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Brendel, J.M., Kolbert, J.B. & Foster, V.A. Promoting Student Cognitive Development. Journal of Adult Development 9, 217–227 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016056227344

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  • counselor education
  • college student development
  • cognitive development
  • moral development
  • conceptual development