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Kohlberg’s Models on Moral Development

Morality is a sense of right and wrong, which maintain stability among individuals. Kohlberg’s models described that an infant is born as clean slates without any sort of morals; these developed naturally as the child develop and it can be measured (Kohlberg, 1981). In Kohlberg’s model, human being develop in their moral reasoning through six identifiable stages that can be categorized into three levels. One can however, fit into one of the six stages of moral development at a time.

Thus moral dilemmas can be presented for discussion to enable individuals recognize the justification of a higher stage morality and promote their progressiveness towards that direction. Pre-conventional level: Stage 1: Punishment, obedience orientation Decisions about what is good or bad are made to avoid punishment. This stage focus on the rules enforces by others and is oriented for punishment and rewards. One should avoid things that lead to punishment. Decisions in this stage are basically egocentric, that is looking into other individuals perspectives (Kohlberg, 1981).

Morality of the School is focus in this stage. Stage 2: Personal reward orientation In this stage right and wrong is determined by individual needs. Human beings are considered good when they posses a constructive consequences for the actor. At this stage individuals are still egocentric, however they have started internalizing morality in understanding that other individuals have their own needs. Most learners reason in this stage. The morality of stage 2 frequently hinders educators in identifying the offenders. Conventional level:

Stage 3: Good boy/ girl orientation Good behavior is considered as what pleases others. In this stage, individuals will rationalize and excuse his wrong behaviors, if it was meant to enhance his image and interpersonal relations. What is morally good can be measured from an external authority but not from an internalized value. Learners at this stage hardly misbehave because they want to please and be accepted. Some may even tell the wrong acts of others to please the educator. A school morality is focus in part, on stage 3 (Hunt, 1993).

Stage 4: Law and order orientation Right can be defined as maintaining the social order in the society. Morality here comprises of respect to authority and ownership right, and considering that individuality is significant for the success of the society. Kolhberg argued that individuals at this stage recognize higher authority, not to evade punishment but because authority and social rules are right. Post-conventional level: Stage 5: Social contract orientation Laws are significant for social interests but should be open to situational interpretation.

Individuals at this stage develop sense of recognizing what is right from wrong despite what is advocated by the system and the society. The society’s right surpasses the right of groups. Every person has rights in spite of sex, status, and race and thus, the constitution is within itself moral. As in the case with adults, few adolescents are functioning at this stage. Sage 6: Morality of individual principles of consciousness In this stage, what is good is measured by individual’s conscience based on internalized moral principles.

Human being have believe and conduct principles, which are considered regardless of the authority, reward, or punishment. The beliefs here are suitable for all persons and individual cannot use others to reach at unjust end, but respect the dignity of every individual. Few people reach this stage. There are two methods of moral reasoning (Gilligan, (1982), one is based on justice concepts while other on caring for others. These methods can however be distinguished sexually.

The concept of justice is attributed to male reasoning, whereas caring for others is mainly on women’s moral decision. Male look at rights and reason out in individualistic perspective, while female, view moral issues in terms of individuals relationships and the needs of both sides in a moral dilemmas. Gilligan however, argues that, some female make moral judgment based on a justice perception and some male from a caring one. As a result of their inclinations, however, male focus their judgments on abstract moral values and female on individuals needs in real situations

In conclusion Gilligan’s claims reveal that male and female develop differently, however, neither of them is more or less morally developed than the other. Female develop morals through caring for others, while male develop through justice perspective. Reference: Hunt, M. (1993). The story of psychology. New York: Anchor Gilligan, C. (1982). In different voice: psychological hypothesis & female’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Kohlberg, L. (1981). Moral development philosophy. New York: Harper & Row.

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