23 January 2014

Kohlberg's stages of Moral Development

CTET Exam Notes : Child Development and Pedagogy (CDP) 

Topic :  Kohlberg's : constructs and critical perspectives

When people are confronted with moral dilemmas, it is their reasoning that is important, and not their final decision, Kohlberg theorized that people progress through three levels (comprising six stages) as they develop abilities of moral reasoning.They are:

Kohlberg's stages of moral growth-

i) Pre-conventional level : This level of moral reasoning includes the rules set down by others and the children follow them. Morality at this stage is determined by the consequences of an action rather than by the inherent goodness or badness of an act. That is, they reason that an act is moral if the consequence of obeying a rule results in their obtaining something positive. A child reasoning at this hedonistic stage may argue that Heinz was right in stealing the drug if he left a note promising to do a favour for the druggist.There are two stages of this level:

Stage one - punishment and obedience orientation :

At the first stage physical consequences of an action determine whether it is good or bad.

Stage two - instrumental relativist orientation : 

What's right satisfies one's own needs and occasionally the needs of others. Elements of fairness and reciprocity are present, but they are mostly interpreted in a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" fashion.

ii) Conventional level

At this level the individual adopts rules, and sometimes subordinates his own needs to the needs of the group. The expectations of the family, the group, or The nation from adolescents are seen to be valuable in their own right, regardless of immediate and obvious consequences.

Stage three - good boy-good girl orientation : 

Good behavior is what pleases others and is approved by them. One earns approval by being nice.

Stage four - law and order orientation :

Law and order orientation means performing one's own duty properly, showing respect for authority, and maintaining the given social , order for its own sake.

iii) Post-conventional level

People define their own values in terms of ethical principles they have chosen to follow.

Stage five - social contract orientation : 

What's right is defined in terms of both the general individual rights and in terms of the standards that have been agreed upon by the whole society. In contrast to the stage four, laws are not frozen, they can be changed for the good of society. 

Stage six - universal ethical principle orientation : 

What's right is defined by the decision of the conscience according to self-chosen ethical principles. These principles are abstract and ethical (such as the golden rule), not specific moral prescriptions.
At the Pre-conventional level of moral reasoning, children simply obey authority figures to avoid being punished. For example, if a piece of chocolate/biscuit falls from the child's hand  and the mother has seen it, the child usually will not eat it. Children's needs and desires become important at this stage, yet they are aware or take care of the interests of other people. In a nutshell, they consider the interests of others when they make moral judgments. But they still look out for ways to satisfy their needs.

Read Limitation of Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development - Here