Application and Reflection

As far as my own development, I tend to agree more with the social domain theory. According to my parents, for most of my life I had a very good understanding of moral values and I represented them through my behavior. My father told me that as a young child, my grandfather asked me several questions that were meant to determine whether I had good morals or not and I answered every question in the way that one with good morals should without having any lesson prior to these questions. Although I had of course learned different moral lessons through school and authority figures in my life, I believe that I must have instinctually known whether something was right or wrong to some extent. Much like Turiel, I think that young children who would fall under Piaget’s heteronomous stage do have an idea of right and wrong and know the difference between rules that are followed in order to be a decent human being and rules that are followed to please authority figures. I agree that children have an understanding of these things; however, I believe that they struggle with it because they do not yet know the significance of these moral values and, as children, are most likely putting themselves before others.

I believe that moral development is one of the most important topics to understand as an educator. We must realize that children do not always inherently know the right thing to do and that a large part of our job is to guide them in the right direction. Teachers should be understanding of the fact that young children are often very egocentric and do not yet have the ability to think about how their actions and words affect those around them. It can be frustrating when a child does something like hitting another child for no reason because adults are often left wondering why the child would do this. However, asking a child why they did or did not do something is not very effective because many younger children do not know why they did something, they only know that they did it. Many times when you as a child, “why did you hit your friend?” their response is simply, “I don’t know.” As an adult, we wonder how a child cannot know the meaning behind their own actions, but if you are educated in the area of moral development, you know that this is because they have not fully developed and therefore do not have much intention behind their actions. Having a good understanding of moral development and the various stages can allow teachers to have realistic moral expectations of their students, which eliminates frustration on both ends. Learning the topics I have learned about moral development in this class will allow me, as a teacher, to be more patient and understanding of my students.

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