Kohlberg's Theory of Development

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Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory
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Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory
Lawrence Kohlberg developed a theory of moral development and moral reasoning based on many of the ideas of Piaget’s stage theory of cognitive development. Development occurs through qualitative stages. Kohlberg was interested in the ways that people make moral decisions and how this changes throughout development. He believed that early stages of moral reasoning are characterized by immediate and concrete rewards or punishments for behavior. This is similar to Piaget’s model of moral reasoning. (Varcarolis & Haloter, 2010). Later stages of development are characterized by more complex, abstract concepts that exceed personal or egocentric rewards and punishments. This weighs the pros and cons of a situation in ways that go beyond standard rules or even laws. Kohlberg believed that this moral reasoning develops as a function of cognitive growth and change as well as experiences and interactions with the environment. Kohlberg’s model is more concerned with development as a concept that may exceed chronological age. (Borkar, 1994). Kohlberg agreed with Piaget’s theory of moral development but he wanted to develop the idea further. Kohlberg’s levels of moral development consisted of three levels of moral reasoning each of which had two sub stages. Individuals pass through these levels only in the order listed. Each new stage replaces the previous reasoning of the earlier stage. Not everyone achieves all of the stages. (Varcarolis & Halter, 2010). The first stage is level 1 and is the Pre-conventional morality. At this stage, others are the authority and reasoning is based on what the consequences are for the actions done. The first sub stage of this level is punishment and obedience stage. The individual or child is good so as to avoid punishment. If that person is punished, they believe they must have done something wrong. The second sub stage...
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