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Theory of moral development

Theory of Moral Development

Moral reasoning is closely linked to cognitive development.
Complex six stage sequence of moral development taking place within three broad levels.
- Pre-conventional Level
- Conventional Level
- Post-conventional Level

Pre-Conventional Level (Stage 1 & 2)

Stage 1 - Punishment and Obedience Orientation.
Stage 2 - Instrumental and Exchange Orientation.
Pre-conventional morality is seen as a set of rules handed down by adults. (Self-centered; get rewards and avoid punishment)

Conventional Level (Stage 3 & 4)

Stage 3 - Mutual Interpersonal Expectations, Relationships and Interpersonal Conformity.
Stage 4 - Social System and Conscience Orientation.
Conventional morality is seen through an individual being a good member of society and helping those close to them a priority. (Social relationships;compliance with social duties and laws)

Post-conventional or Principled Level (Stage 5 & 6)

Stage 5 - Social Contract of Individual Rights Orientation.
Stage 6 - Universal Ethical Principles.
Post-conventional is when individuals move beyond the conventional rules of their community to focus more broadly on what is best for society at large, and on ways of promoting justice in society (Ideal centered;moral principles)

Key Idea about Learning

Children's moral development begins with a focus on punishment and obedience and moves through 5 stages until in adulthood it reaches the 6th stage, in which moral decisions are based on universal moral principles. Ethical problem-solving helps students move to higher stages.

Implications for teaching in a classroom

Strategies for fostering moral development and values.
Every subject - even disciplines such as mathematics that may appear to lack obvious moral content - offers opportunities for helping students develop their skill in moral reasoning. Every group can become a learning community where values of mutual respect, sensitivity to others' needs and cooperation are emphasized and discussed.

Key Idea about Learning

There are three main levels of moral development: pre-conventional level (self-centered), conventional level (socially centered) and principled level (moral principles) occurs in three main stages.

Implications for teaching in a classroom

Strategies of fostering moral development and values.
Role-playing opportunities help learners imagine what it would be like to be someone else. As young people discuss issues and try to work out how to deal with their differences, they begin to come to terms with the concepts of fairness and justice.

True/False - Kohlberg's Theory...
Primarily researched males from white middle class backgrounds...


True/False - Kohlberg's Theory...
Has an assumption that stages are universal...


True/False - Kohlberg's Theory...
Encourages people to break laws...


True/False - Kohlberg's Theory...
Provided a guide for understanding how moral reasoning progresses...


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