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Theories of Moral Development Piaget & Kohlberg. EDU 6303 Edwin D. Bell. Piaget’s Stages of Moral Development. Piaget hypothesized two stages of moral development Heteronomous morality Autonomous reality. Heteronomous Morality (Younger Children). Based on relations of constraints

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theories of moral development piaget kohlberg

Theories of Moral Development Piaget & Kohlberg

EDU 6303

Edwin D. Bell

Slavin, 2003

piaget s stages of moral development
Piaget’s Stages of Moral Development
  • Piaget hypothesized two stages of moral development
    • Heteronomous morality
    • Autonomous reality

Slavin, 2003

heteronomous morality younger children
Heteronomous Morality (Younger Children)
  • Based on relations of constraints
  • Rules are seen as inflexible requirements (moral realism)
  • Badness is judged in terms of the consequences of actions
  • Punishment is seen as the automatic consequence of the violation of rules

Slavin, 2003

autonomous morality older children
Autonomous Morality (Older Children)
  • Based on relations of cooperation among equals
  • Rules are viewed as products of mutual agreement (rational moral attitudes)
  • Badness is determined the person’s intentions
  • Punishment should be affected by human intention

Slavin, 2003

kohlberg s stages of moral reasoning
Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Reasoning
  • He identified three levels that are made up of six stages; The levels are
  • Preconventional
  • Conventional
  • Postconventional

Slavin, 2003

preconventional level
Preconventional Level
  • Stage 1: Punishment and obedience orientation. Physical consequences of action determine its goodness or badness.
  • Stage 2: Instrumental relativist orientation. What is right is what satisfies your own needs and occasionally the needs of others, e.g., the expectations of the family group or nation can be seen as valuable in own right.

Slavin, 2003

conventional level
Conventional Level
  • Stage 3: “Good boy – good girl” orientation – good behavior is what pleases or helps others and is approved by them
  • Stage 4: Law and order orientation – right is doing one’s duty, showing respect for authority, and maintaining social order for its own sake

Slavin, 2003

postconventional level
Postconventional Level
  • Stage 5: Social contract orientation – what is right is a function of individual rights and agreed upon standards.
  • Stage 6: Universal ethical principle orientation – what is right is determined decision of conscience according to self-chosen ethical principles (these principles are abstract and ethical not specific moral prescriptions)

Slavin, 2003

criticisms
Criticisms
  • Kohlberg’s population for his research was primarily male.

Some research on girls’ moral reasoning finds patterns that are somewhat different from those proposed by Kohlberg. Whereas boys’ moral reasoning revolves primarily around issues of justice, girls are more concerned about issues of caring and responsibility for others. (Slavin, 2003, pp. 58-59)

Slavin, 2003

criticisms continued
Criticisms (continued)
  • Young children often reason about moral situations in more sophisticated ways than the stage theories of Piaget and Kohlberg would suggest. Children as young as 3 or 4 years old use intentions to judge the behavior of others (Slavin, 2003).

Slavin, 2003

criticisms continued1
Criticisms (continued)
  • Moral reasoning does not directly translate into behavior. Behavior may be affected by many other factors other than reasoning, e.g.,
  • “Go along to get along”

Slavin, 2003

reference
Reference
  • Slavin, R. E. (2003). Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice, 7e. Boston, MA. Allyn and Bacon.

Slavin, 2003