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Morality Development EDU 330: Educational Psychology Daniel Moos.

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1 Morality Development EDU 330: Educational Psychology Daniel Moos

2 Example of a Moral Dilemma: Heinz and the Drug “In Europe a woman was near death from cancer. One drug might save her, a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The druggist was charging $2,000, ten times what the drug cost him to make. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later, but the druggist said “No.” The husband got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife. Should the husband have done that?” (Kohlberg, 1969, p. 376).

3 Morality Development: Introduction (I) Why consider moral development in education? Moral issues embedded in curriculum (especially History) 75% of HS students admitted to cheating on tests (Bracey, 2005) Cheating may be on the rise from ES to College (Goodman, 2005; Selingo, 2004) May lead to other immoral acts after school (i.e. questionable accounting practices) Ultimately, beliefs about right and wrong influence behavior

4 Morality Development: Piaget (I) Responses to moral problems can be divided into two broad stages:  Moral Realism (Morality of Constraint) – Rules are sacred, consequences determine all guilt (6 yr olds)  Moral Relativism (Morality of Cooperation) – Rules are flexible, intent is important in determining guilt (12 yr olds)

5 Morality Development: Kohlberg (I) Level I: Pre-conventional: Egocentric orientation focusing on moral consequences for the self; reasoning found until about 10 years of age StageDescription 1: Punishment - Obedience 2: Market Exchange OR Instrumental Relativist Moral reasoning based on reciprocity. An act is moral if a similar act occurs in return (i.e. satisfies own needs) Moral reasoning based on immediate consequences for the individual. An act is moral if a person isn’t punished for it. It is immoral if the person is punished.

6 Morality Development: Kohlberg (II) Level II: Conventional: Moral reasoning linked to perspectives of, and concerns for, others (i.e. loyalty, obeying the law, family obligation); typical of 10 to 20 yr olds. StageDescription 3: Interpersonal Harmony Or Good boy-nice girl 4: Law and Order Moral reasoning based on rules, laws, and orderly society. An act is moral if it follows rules or promotes an orderly society. Moral reasoning based on concern for others or the opinions of others. An act is moral if others demonstrate similar acts, or it helps others (i.e. behavior likely to please others)

7 Morality Development: Kohlberg (III) Level III: Post-conventional. Reasoning transcends society’s rules; reflects an understanding that rules sometimes need to be changed/ignored. StageDescription 5: Social Contract 6: Universal Ethical Moral reasoning based on abstract principles. An act is moral if it is consistent with an abstract principle that transcends an individual’s society. Moral reasoning based on principled agreements among people. An act is moral if it is consistent with a principled agreement. (ex: Bill of Rights)

8 Summary of Kohlberg’s Six Stage Theory of Morality Development: 1: Punishment and Obedience Moral reasoning based on immediate consequences for the individual. 2: Market Exchange Moral reasoning based on reciprocity. An act is moral if a similar act occurs in return. 3: Interpersonal Harmony Moral reasoning based on concern for others or the opinions of others. 4: Law and Order Moral reasoning based on rules, laws, and an orderly society. 5: Social Contract Moral reasoning based on principled agreements among people. 6: Universal Principles Moral reasoning based on abstract principles.

9 Morality Development: Exercise (I) 1. If I stay out I will be in big trouble with my parents. Stage 1: Punishment and Obedience Preconventional Ethics: Young children, some teenagers 2. Nobody’s doing anything anyway so I won’t be missing anything. Stage 2: Market Exchange Preconventional Ethics: Young children, some teenagers 3. My parents and I agreed that midnight was fair, and you can’t go back on your agreements. Stage 5: Social Contract Postconventional Ethics: Middle school to high school students 4. If I stay out my parents will be worried. Stage 3: Interpersonal Harmony Conventional Ethics: Middle school to high school students

10 Morality Development: Exercise (II) 5. It’s the curfew, so I’ll be in by midnight. Stage 4: Law and order Conventional Ethics: Middle school to high school students 6. My friends have curfews, too, and they’re going to be home by then. Stage 3: Interpersonal Harmony Conventional Ethics: Middle school to high school students

11 Piaget, Kohlberg, and Gilligan: Moral Development Criticisms of Kohlberg’s Theory ã Acceleration of moral development through instruction is limited ã Moral dilemmas are too removed from everyday social interactions  Theory does not adequately address micromoral issues  Too much emphasis on moral reasoning and not enough on moral behavior  Research sample (white males) limits the generalizability of the findings

12 Morality Development: Gender Differences Are there gender differences? Do men and women approach moral dilemmas differently? Some suggest: Men: judgment on abstract concepts (justice, rules, individual rights) Women: Interpersonal connections and attention to human needs Ultimately, findings mixed Kohlberg focused exclusively on cognitive aspects of moral reasoning/development

13 Piaget, Kohlberg, and Gilligan: Moral Development Gilligan’s View of Identity and Moral Development Student of Kohlberg and later became critical of some of him Females develop along different path Preconventional. Care is egocentric Conventional. Care results from internalized focus on others, while neglecting oneself Postconventional. Critical of approach in Conventional stage; Learn to balance caring for self with caring for others.


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