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Self, Social, & Moral Development. Identity Development Theorists Erik Erikson. Identity Development Theorists James Marcia. Stages of Identity Development Identity diffusion : not much thought given to identity

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Identity Development Theorists

James Marcia

Stages of Identity Development

Identity diffusion : not much thought given to identity

Identity foreclosure : firm adherence to particular ideas about identity

still little exploration / not open to other perspectives

Identity moratorium : time & thought purposefully given to identity considerations

Identity achievement : informed commitment to a particular identity configuration


Life Story Model

Individuals living in modern societies provide their lives with unity and purpose by constructing evolving narratives of the self.

Dorothy Holland

Practice Theory of Identity Development

Many contemporary theories of identity

development are grounded in the beliefs that

identities are constructed, fluid, and multiple,

(not necessarily unidirectional & reciprocal),

and that they are situated (and therefore shaped by – and shape in response) the contexts in which they are formed. In a popular contemporary model of identity development Dorothy Holland and her co-authors highlight the important and reciprocal interplay between a personally held perspective on one’s own identity and one’s context (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998). According to these theorists, identity is a construction, a consequence of interaction between people, institutions, and practices.

Third Space / Hybrid Identities Gutierrez

Making room for student identities in class

Children and adolescents bring important cultural resources from their home & community experiences. It is the job of schools to understand those resources & their application to the demands of school based learning. We must consider design learning environments so that differences between community-based & school-based norms can be negotiated by students and teachers.

Lee, C. (2007). Culture, Literacy, and Learning. New York: Teachers’ College Press.

Blending cultural (lived) and academic sources of knowledge can allow youth to stay connected with their communities & their cultural identities, AND achieve at school.

Hatt, B. (2007). Street smarts vs. book smarts: The figured world of smartness in the lives of marginalized, urban youth. The Urban Review, 39(2), 145-166.

Traditional Dimensions of Self

Self Concept: Picture of yourself

Self-esteem: Opinion of yourself

Multiple concepts of self

Supporting development of self-esteem

Safe-to-Fail environment that values all students

Know yourself & your biases

Be intellectually honest

Set clear goals for teacher & student

Value cultural diversity in your student



Peer groups (crowds)

Peer networks

Romantic Relationships

Peers are the “glue” that adheres students to the educational enterprise. Ladd (quoted in Hymel, et al., 1996; p. 318)

Positive peer relationships coincide with student adjustment,

positive affect toward school (liking school) engagement & involvement (Furrer & Skinner, 2003; Kindermann, 1993; Ryan, 2001; Wentzel, 1997)

Poor peer relationships coincide with : low self esteem,

poor achievement

dropping out,


mental health problems

Carol Gilligan

Noticed that females often scored a full stage below male counterparts.

Either: females are less morally developed than males or

something is wrong with Kohlberg’s framework.

Responses from females did not fit in Kohlberg’s framework

The moral reasoning of women and girls valued preserving connections.









William Damon

Noted that Kohlberg focuses on thought NOT actual behavior.

Most children & adults express the belief that it is wrong

to let someone else suffer –

but only a small subsetwill get involved.

Focus not just what the person thinks is the right course,

but what they will actually do.

Alfie Kohn

Saw a problem with Character Education as a support for Moral Development

(A collection of exhortations & extrinsic inducements designed to

make children work harder, behave well & do what they are told

is not the same thing as moral Development. )

2 problems with this:

1. Research does not support the effectiveness of such lessons

2. Good behavior (docility) is mistaken for good character.

If our goal was to help children become active participants in democratic society…

we should engage students in deep, critical reflection, & discussion about

justice, caring, equity…& opportunities to get involved!!

Encouraging Moral Development

Model moral and pro-social behavior and

expose students to role models

Encourage, acknowledge and reward prosocial behavior

Encourage perspective taking, empathy,

and pro-social behavior

Discuss reasons why some behaviors are inappropriate

Engage students in discussions of moral issues

and dilemmas

1 creative use of Moral Development for Teachers

Conflict Resolution & Behavior Management

Cooperative discipline (Linda Albert)

emphasizes analyzing the reason for misconduct

The Six-D’s of Conflict Resolution

Step 1: Define the problem objectively.

(focus on the behavior not the individual,

agree on an account of the problem without blaming)

Step 2: Describe the feelings.

(use I-messages, practice active listening)

Step 3: Declare the need.

(practice active listening, reframe problem)

Step 4: Discuss solutions..

(don’t criticize ideas, remain calm and open-minded,

consider several solutions to the problem)

Step 5: Decide on a plan.

(eliminate weak solutions together, choose the solution

with the most pros from both points of view)

Step 6: Determine the plan’s effectiveness.

(meet with student(s) to evaluate)

2nd creative use of Moral Development for Teachers

Dealing With Bullying

Bullying = Negative, mean behavior, that occurs repeatedly,

in a relationship that is characterized by an imbalance of power.

Elementary school – more overt

Middle & High school – more covert

IN THE U.S. Weekly: 8% - 20% bullied

Annually: 24% - 45% bullied

Across the school years: up to 75% of students are bullied

Factors that encourage bullying…

Schools where adults are largely unaware or do not take action

Schools where peers to not take action

Many effective anti-bullying programs focus on students

actively working to develop a school culture that resists