Kohlberg Moral Development

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Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)
New York, USA

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development.

Kohlberg focused his development of moral judgment in children and adults using the cognitive development approach based on Piaget’s theories. His primary concern with moral development is believed to be central to education and has ground roots as far back as Plato’s Socrates dialogues around the question of whether virtue is taught, comes with practice of whether it is a natural aptitude or instinct. There are 6 stages to Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, stating that everybody goes through them in the same order, however at different rates. LEVEL 1: PRE-CONVENTIONAL

Stage 1: (OBEDIENCE)
Stage 2: (SELF INTEREST)

LEVEL 2: CONVENTIONAL
Stage 3: (CONFORMITY)
Stage 4: (LAW AND ORDER)

LEVEL 3: POST CONVENTIONAL
Stage 5: (HUMAN RIGHTS)
Stage 6: (UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS)

Level 1 is particularly common in children and it is where most children in an early years setting will be at. This level is concerned with the self in an ego centric manner and children judge the morality of an action by direct consequences. For instance in stage 1, children will perceive something to be wrong because they have been punished. Let’s say that a child has stolen something from another child’s rucksack, they have been punished by not being allowed to play outside with the other children. The child has not adopted societies conventions that stealing is wrong, rather the child is more concerned with the punishment. The worse the punishment the more bad something is. Heinz should not steal the medicine because he will consequently be put in prison which will mean he is a bad person In stage 2 of the pre-conventional level where older children in an early years setting may well be at, the child will consider what is right and wrong to be defined by what is in their best interest. It’s the ‘what’s in it for me?” mentality. The child at this point can now see two sides and is no...
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