Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Classical and Contemporary Approaches for Moral Development*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Classical and Contemporary Approaches for Moral Development*

Article excerpt


Most of the information in the moral development literature depends on Theories of Piaget and Kohlberg. The theoretical contribution by Gilligan and Turiel are not widely known and not much resource is available in Turkish. For this reason introducing and discussing the theories of Gilligan and Turiel and more comprehensive perspective for moral development were attempted. The purpose of this paper is to presenting and discussing comparatively the psychological theories of moral development. Piaget had proposed two stage theory in children's development as called "moral heteronomy stage" and "autonomous stage". Kohlberg, on the other hand, had established his comprehensive theory of moral development based on Piaget's cognitive developmental stages in which he suggested 3 levels and 6 stages. Although Kohlberg's theory had been very influential, it has limitations with ignoring local, cultural, moral ideas and being disconnected between moral behavior and moral judgment. Gilligan particularly as a reaction of focus on male development rather than females contributed to the literature of moral development. For her, women tend to consider other's care and protection and she emphasized this difference of ethic of care and ethic of justice. However only few studies in the literature have pointed out differences between women and men in terms of moral judgment. Besides Gilligan's ideas are also been criticized for lack of different contextual and cultural support. Turiel, has quite a different perspective for moral development and he specifically focused on connections between social life and morality. As the pioneer of Social Domain Theory he mentioned the difference between "social convention" and "morality". In this paper, theories are presented with their major concepts.

Key Words

Moral Development, Theories of Moral Development, Gilligan's Moral Development Approach, Social Domain Theory, Eliott Turiel.

Most of the knowledge in moral development literature depend largely on theories developed by Piaget, Kohlberg and later theories. Contributions from Gilligan and Turiel are represented relatively limited. However, only few Turkish resources mention Gilligan and Turiel's theories. In this review, contributions from Freud, Piaget and Kohlberg have been touched, criticisms are mentioned. Gilligan's and Turiel's theories comparatively introduced.

In moral development, Freud considered conscience a key for moral development which develops in the superego (Turiel, 2002). In addition personality development is completed largely in the first 5 years of life (Kagitçibasi, 1999). In the psychoanalytic theory, especially development of rules and effect of physical punishment are crucial.

Piaget's and Kohlberg's Moral Development Theories

Piaget and Kohlberg approach moral development from cognitive perspective. Piaget used various sto- ries in order to investigate moral development and observed the children during in the play settings (Wright & Croxen, 1989). Piaget emphasized the importance of mutuality autonomy in moral development (Onur, 1979).

Piaget proposed two stages in the moral development as "heteronomous stage" and "autonomous stage" (Fleming, 2006; Gander & Gardiner, 2010; Kagitçibasi, 1999). Although Piaget's comments were very crucial in moral development, his method had been methodologically criticized (Schaffer, 1997). The Piagetian views led Kohlberg to develop a new theory based on three levels and six stages (Çileli, 1987). The levels in the theory are "preconventional", "conventional" and "post conventional" (Gander & Gardiner; Kohlberg, 2008). Kohlberg's contributions to moral development have been very influential (Stroud, 2001). Kohlberg and Piaget theories have common qualities (Çileli; Mercin, 2005). Kohlberg's theory had reported western cultures reached higher stages. However this finding had not been supported by certain studies and criticized by some other researchers (Kuyel & Glover, 2010; Miller, 2006; Schaffer, 1997). …

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