Changing Childhood Prejudice: The Caring Work of the Schools

By Miriam M. Davidson; Florence H. Davidson | Go to book overview

4
Power and Favor-Trading (Stages One and Two)

Leah and Pat are typical of children who suffer from negative views of themselves. Rather than being able to take pride in the fact that she managed so well while her mother worked, Leah saw herself as "ugly" and as "a cry-baby." Feeling alone, she needed her teacher to encourage her to recognize and enjoy her considerable strengths. Pat, who rejected his insecure mother and identified with his absent father, also felt himself to be alone. The toughness he projected prevented the children he scorned in self-defense from reaching out to him. Loneliness and negative self-images kept both these children stuck in defensive thinking at low stages -- Leah at stage one and Pat at stage two.

This chapter examines and amplifies the pre-moral stages one and two. To create Stages of Respect, respect being the psychological cause of morality, we have added some additional material from our study to Kohlberg's stages. 1 The purpose is to provide reasons for some ways in which typical children who speak in a prejudiced way actually do think. The more we can tune in to the child as an apprentice philosopher, not just an irrational kid or someone who says bad words, the more we are likely to model the behavior we want by offering him some appropriate respect and encouragement to progress.

Kohlberg made "a chart in a wasteland" to advance the study of moral judgment through scientific research, beyond where philosophy alone could take it. Had he not excluded attitudes and other content as much as possible from his structures and his scoring system, we would have less clarity about the confusing notion of structures of thinking and their role in moral judgment. Structures are confusing because they represent both fundamental ideas and rules for their own transformations. Because the rules for transformations are hard to identify and no very sudden shifts between stages occur, some cognitive psychologists now prefer to speak of general levels of development. 2 Kohlberg tried to help people's understanding by explaining that the structures of each stage are like the girders erected to hold up a building -- they fit

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Changing Childhood Prejudice: The Caring Work of the Schools
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1 - The Cognitive Roots of Prejudice 1
  • 2 - The Emotional and Social Roots of Prejudice 25
  • 3 - Prejudice Tied to Moral Judgment: A Study 49
  • 4 - Power and Favor-Trading (Stages One and Two) 77
  • 5 - Goodness, Niceness, and Higher Ideals: (Stages Three, Four, Five, and Six) 91
  • 6 - Creating Character in Early School Years 109
  • 7 - Making Choices in Middle School 129
  • 8 - Fostering Ideals in High School 149
  • 9 - Conclusion 171
  • Notes 183
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 219
  • About the Authors 225
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