Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development (with models)

Lawrence KohlbergA prominent cognitive-developmental theorists and American psychologist and is known for his extensive research on moral reasoning.


Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development
Moral Development: involves acquiring standards about right and wrong, analyzing moral issues thoughtfully, and increasingly engaging in helpful behaviors that reflect concern for other peoples rights and needs.

Kohlberg's Model

New Model

  • Level III: Postconventional Morality- Rarely seen before college (Stage 6 is extremely rare even in adults)
-Stage 5 Social-Contract Legalistic Orientation: People recognize that rules represent agreements among many individuals about appropriate behavior. Rules are seen as potentiality useful tools that can and help maintain social order and protect individual rights rather than as absolute dictates that must be obeyed simply because they are "the law". People also recognize the flexibility of rules; rules that no longer serve society.
-Stage6 Universal Ethical Principle Orientation: This stage is hypothetical that few people ever reach. People that do reach this stage adhere to a few abstract universal principles that transcend specific norms and rules. They answer to a "strong inner conscience and willingly disobey law that violate their own ethical principles."

Key concepts

Moral Dilemma: a situation in which two or more people's rights or needs may be at odds and for which there is no clear-cut right or wrong solution.
Preconventional morality: the earliest and least mature form of moral reasoning in that as child has not yet adopted or internalized societies conventions regarding what is right or wrong.
Conventional morality: characterized by an acceptance of society s conventions regarding right and wrong.
Post conventional morality: view rules as useful but changeable mechanism created to maintain the general social order and protect human rights, rather than as absolute dictates that must be obeyed without questions.

Moral Reasoning and Behavior

Late Adolescents (14-18 years)
-What you might observe
  • Understanding that rules and conventions help society run more smoothly
  • Increasing concern about doing ones duty and abiding by the rules of society as a whole
  • Genuine empathy for people in distress
  • Belief that society has a obligation to help those in need
  • For some older adolescents high moral values are a central part of their overall identity
  • Show strong commitment to to helping those less fortunate than themselves
  • Adolescents who have less advanced moral reasoning are more likely to engage in antisocial acvtivies
  • Explore moral issues in social studies, science and literature
  • Give teens a political voice in decision making about rules and school elsewhere
  • Provide decent role models since children learn by example
  • Offer positive feedback when children act respectful or generous to others
  • Offer support by listening to their problems
  • Encourage independent thinking by telling children to pursue what they believe in

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