A Summary of Kohlberg’s Theory
Tiffany Easterling, Sandra Maxey, and Nakeia Trimble
PSYCH/600 – Developmental Psychology
October 5, 2014
How the development of morality in children develops has been a big question for parents and philosophers for decades. The issue of moral development has been and has become a hot topic within education and psychology. “One of the best known theories was developed by a psychologist named Lawrence Kohlberg who modified and expanded up Jean Piaget’s work to form a theory that explained how children develop moral reasoning” (Cherry, 2014). Moral development was described in two stages by Piaget. Kohlberg took those two ...view middle of the document...
The first level is Pre-Conventional, second level is Conventional, and the third level is Post-Conventional Principled depending on which book you are reading.
The first level, which is Pre-Conventional, is broken down into two stages. The first stage is for punishment and obedience orientation. Although adults can express this reasoning type, it is more common to see this in children. The rules placed on children are seen as absolute or fixed. Children obey the rules to keep from receiving a punishment. Every human being at some point in life are going to show this form of reasoning. The second stage is for instrumental purpose orientation. At this stage, children are accountable for their own view points and actions.
The second level, which is Conventional, has stages three and four. The third stage is morality of interpersonal cooperation. This stage is commonly referred to as the “good boy/girl” stage of orientation. Quite often, adults and children like to see things in their own perspective. This stage of development is where morality is primarily focusing on the expectations of the child socially and how these choices the children make influence their relationships, whether those relationships be family oriented or on a personal level. Instead of going against the grain you go with the flow of things, which is commonly known as being a society pleaser. The fourth stage would be social order maintaining orientation. This is the stage where children start to observe, follow, and respect the laws and rules made by society and law enforcement officials. From the very first day of school we are taught to follow the rules and following the rules will keep us from getting punished and it would also help us to become successful.
The third level, which is Post-Conventional, list the remaining two stages. The fifth stage is the social contract orientation. This is the stage where individuals start to account for different beliefs, opinions, and values of other individuals. Even though observing, following, and respecting the laws and rules, society and law enforcement officials should have to agree to those laws, rules, and standards, as well as be in compliance. The sixth and final stage is universal ethical principle orientation. Morality reasoning is founded on abstract reasoning and ethical principles and individuals stand true to this morality reasoning, even though it defies the laws and rules of society. In life we have to do something’s that we don’t always want to do, but it’s a part of life and it continues the cycle to keep peace. With every positive there is a negative.
Not everyone agrees fully with Kohlberg’s contributions. The limitations that are reviewed by criticizers are as follows. Nay-Sayers ask does moral reasoning necessarily magnify into moral behavior. Society knows right from wrong and we have those who think that there excluded from doing the right thing and it’s perfectly ok to act the way they...