Humans go through major developmental phases from birth to adulthood. These developmental stages are seen socially, cognitively, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some of these changes are obvious to the eye and some are not so obvious. Using five open-ended questions to analyze the social and emotional development of four children. This paper looks at the core age groups that effect teaching, preschool to high school.
Beginning with a five year old who is in preschool findings show that the child fights right in the stages of development for a child of their age. According to Slavin (2012), “most preschooler’s interactions with peers occur during play.” This was very important to this child when speaking of his friends” (p.62). According to Piaget’s theory as stated by Slavin (2012) “rules are seen as inflexible” (p.57) this is clearly stated by the preschooler when asked if lying is wrong they said,” yes because it’s mean.” When analyzing the answers given by the five year old one can see he is using language and processing of a typical preschooler.
Moving to an elementary student who is eight. This child is in the preconventional level of morality when looking at Kohlberg’s stages or when looking at Piaget’s stages the child is in the heteronomous stage. As seen in the appendix under elementary student the child is still basing his family being special by meeting his needs and when speaking of his friends or moral decisions their answers align with the stages just as stated by Slavin (2-12) “they with the interest of all parties when making moral judgments, but they are still looking out for number one (p. 62).” The elementary student stated, “You want to take ownership and get a good reputation.” He clearly is starting to care about what his peers think.
This finding leads us to the middle school student. As stated by Slavin (2012) “According to Piaget, children progress from the stage of heteronomous morality to that of autonomous morality with the development of cognitive structures but also because of interactions with equal-status peers (p. 52).” The middle school child clearly is taking what is friends tell him and show him into priority as he states “They (friends) give me new things to do and try out.” One can see his family is still important but peers are having an increasing influence on what his interests. When analyzing the middle school students moral reasoning in question two in the appendix one can see he still values the law as shown in Kohlberg’s stage four, but is starting to move to stage five as he reasons about lying. Kohlberg’s theory as shown in Table 3.3 on page 59 of Slavin’s Educational Psychology, “laws are not ‘frozen’-they can be changed or the good of society.” A typical middle school student has a growing importance of peers as we see here. High school students have this growing importance of peers even more that the middle school student. Analyzing the answers from the questions give to the high school student one can see how important the student’s peers are. Even when answering a moral question about lying the high school student relates it to her friends by stating “shouldn’t loose people’s trust because it’s hard to win it back.” This student is right in Piaget’s Stage V as stated by Slavin (2012) pg. 74 ”identity versus role confusion , adolescents turn increasingly to their peer group” (p.74). One can see what a large role peers play with this student how this typically fits within the norms of stages of emotional and moral development.
Upon reviewing the results of the five interviews one can conclude that the stages of development are age appropriate and that children do fit into the perimeters of the stages. Overall the students did fall into the “age appropriate” categories however there were some overlap or even increase of social-emotional development....