Kohlberg theory of moral development is categorized into six stages. These six steps are further condensed into three that is, the pre-conventional, conventional and the post-conventional level. Again, these levels are further sub-divided into two stages summing to six stages (Kohlberg, 1984). In this essay, the writer will focus on steps relevant to adolescent development. The discussion will begin at stage three. This phase encompasses principles of interpersonal development in the context of Conventional Level of moral interpretation. Kohlberg’s theory shows that moral development occurs in a linear and step-wise approach. The development proceeds from one step to the other in an ordered and predictable sequence. Kohlberg’s theory assumes that during the early adolescence period, youth has attained mid-level of moral logic that he refers to as the Conventional level (Kohlberg, 1984). At this stage, morality is shaped by social norms in a teen's environment. These social norms are composed of social and rules conventions that are overtly or shared by a faction of people (Kohlberg, 1984). These protocols help to establish the best interest of the majority while at the same time granting a standard that upholds the social order and curb discords emanating among members of a group.
According to Scarlett (1998) adolescents construct personal morals and values through ethical conflicts. This is in contrasts to believe that they soak up values and morals copied from adults surrounding them. TheKohlberg’s theory helps to stimulate the adolescent’s reasoning to a much higher degree of moral maturity to a level where the adolescent can internalize her/his beliefs and acts on them as well (Scarlett, 1998). Moreover, Kohlberg’s theory reinforces the act of choosing the right behavior. This aspect, which is anchored on the law and order orientation, is vital for adolescents in upholding social order in the society. It allows the teens to develop a sense of duty by maintaining social order; this avoids conflicts. It cultivates a sense of responsibility making the adolescents appreciate laws and rules are for the benefits of everyone in the society (Scarlett, 1998).
Adolescent is a stage where students display different forms of actions. Thus, in my future class, this trend is likely to increase. As asserted by Partin (1995), these behaviors will include disobedience to laws and order, issues with interpersonal relationships will be familiar, and conflicts resulting from infringement of one’s rights among others will be inevitable.
As a classroom teacher, I play a significant role in shaping students morals and behavior. My activities can either contribute to entrenching positive morals and values or the reverse. What I will do to nurture positive learning experience is involving the students in creating class policies and procedures. These activities will allow students air their voices, besides nurturing team spirit in students.Similarly, I would actively engage students in written assignments. According to this strategy, students will be presented with an opportunity to nurture their reasoning abilities, Also, through this activity; students will be able to evaluate their behavior and developing good study habits according to Partin (1995).
Kohlberg’s theory is better used in class using class discussions and scenarios. These approaches are aimed at solving relational and pragmatic problems adolescents may be facing in their lives. According to Partin (1995) a scripted case places a student in the real situation, making her/him apply practical knowledge in solving a situation. Further, scenarios can be combined with Kohlberg’s model of Socratic questioning and tests that stimulates a student reasoning skills. Using this strategy will allow students to explore their moral reasoning and apply their personal values in solving cases presented to them.
Kohlberg, L. (1984). The psychology of moral development: the nature and validity of
management techniques, and reproducibles for new and experienced teachers.
moral stages. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
Partin, R. L. (1995). Classroom teacher’s survival guide: practices, strategies, young children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Scarlett, W.G. (1998). Trouble in the classroom: managing the behavior problems of
West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education.