Kohlberg’s Theory Today

How has Kohlberg’s Theory influenced Psychology today?
Kohlbergs theory of Moral Development was an advancement in the way people had once viewed moralily. Kohlberg’s elaboration on Piaget’s initial stages of development opened up new discoveries in the world of Psychology today. The Defining Issues Test (DIT) was developed in 1959 by James Rest using Kohlbergs theory of morality. This test uses a Likert Type Scale that gives rankings of the five stages of morality. The test was created to test the transition in children from adolecense through adulthood. The DIT uses three schemas that classify moral reasoning: the personal interest schema, the maintaing norms schema and the postconventional schema.
Another use of Kohlbergs Theory is it’s use for a model of disipline in school systems. A writer by the name of Budd Churchwood developed a system using Kohlbergs theory of moral development to explain that children function at different levels of disipline. Churchwood used this argument to explain how all methods of disipline do not work in the same way in children and that each level of schooling should change their rules of disipline to best fit the child. His four stages of disipline include:
Stage 1:
Recalcitrant Behavior The Power Stage: Might makes right!
Stage 2:
Self-Serving Behavior The Reward/Punishment Stage:”What’s in it for me?”
Stage 3:
Interpersonal Discipline The Mutual Interpersonal Stage:”How can I please you?”
Stage 4:
Self-Discipline The Social Order Stage:”I behave because it is the right thing to do.”
From these examples we can see how Lawrence Kohlberg has influenced child psychology in a way that will be remembered and taught for years to come. Educators are able to use his theory of moral development to help develop better disipline systems that are useful to the successful development of children.


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