Possibilities of influence on the moral development...

Possibilities of influence on the moral development of a child

As already mentioned, according to L. Kohlberg, the moral development of a child is determined to a greater extent by the level of development of the intellect, therefore, for example, the family provides only opportunities for accepting certain roles, but does not itself have a significant effect on moral development. At the same time, American psychologists L. Walker and J. Taylor showed that the family has a significant impact on the moral development of the child. In their studies, pre-school children, together with their parents in the presence of the experimenter, discussed both hypothetical (conditional) and "real", specific problems faced by the child and his parents. It turned out that depending on the nature of the issues under discussion, the behavior of children changes significantly: when discussing "real" the level of moral thinking of children is increasing. The parents' thinking strategy also changes: when discussing conditional problems, they give answers that correspond to a high level of moral development, and in a joint discussion of "real" moral problems associated with the life of the child, they significantly reduce the level of moral judgments. Thus, it becomes possible for the child to include in the discussion of the problem, which positively affects his moral development. In these studies, it was also shown that the most effective moral development of the child occurs when, during the discussion, the moral statements of adults exceed the judgments of children by one stage. Such a difference is optimal, since new content is available for assimilation by the child's schemes, which ultimately leads to moral development. In this respect, the stimulation of the moral development of children assumes a certain consistency in acquaintance with moral dilemmas. Adults, before choosing a moral problem, it is necessary to determine the level of moral development of the child, so that the task posed exceeds the real level of development by one stage. It is desirable to think out situations that are as familiar to children as possible. To do this, you can give preference to external conditions associated, for example, with those places that the preschooler visits, and also use role-playing games to model such moral problems.

As a result of the analysis of joint discussions of moral problems, several types of interaction between children and parents were singled out.

1. An operational type of interaction is applied whenever one member wants to influence the opinion of another.

2. Representative type characterizes the position at which the participant tries to clarify the understanding of some question by the interlocutor.

3. Informative is associated with an exchange of views.

4. Supporting type implies the support of the interlocutor.

5. Cognitive-inadequate type of interaction is accompanied by silence, unwillingness to enter into communication, distraction from the topic of discussion or condemnation of the interlocutor.

Parents when discussing real problems try to use representative and supportive types of interaction and reduce the use of the operational type, i.e. adults try to address the child to understand his point of view. Intuitively, parents understand that in this case the maximum cognitive activity of the child is achieved, since the situation in which the preschool child is praised and supported by his reasoning is more effective for moral development than for the situation of adult domination.

We can distinguish three types of situations of interaction between a child and an adult: 1) moral situations proper, in which moral problems are discussed; 2) social situations in which several children are involved and which affect common problems; 3) personal situations related directly to the interests and needs of the child. In studies of psychologists, it is noted that children's negativism is more evident in personal situations related to eating, dressing and similar activities, when a child can and insists on implementing an alternative choice. The difference between a child's stay in a preschool institution and the stay of a home is that in the first case, more attention is paid to situations of the first and second types, in the second case to situations of the third type. With age, the number of personal situations increases: a personal context can arise in almost any activity. However, teachers, as a rule, translate it into moral and social situations, and parents, especially mothers, discuss them with the child as personal situations. This is the important difference between the teacher and the parent when assessing the child's behavior.

One of the problems in the study of moral development is aggressive behavior. Traditionally, it is believed that when faced with aggression, children either do not use moral thinking, or they lack the social skills to assess acceptable behavior. However, in the work of R. Astor, who investigated the moral development of younger schoolchildren inclined and not prone to violence, results were obtained that were inconsistent with this widespread opinion. On the basis of a two-month observation, the children were divided into two groups, depending on whether or not they were aggressive. They were acquainted with hypothetical situations of provoked violence between peers (when, for example, one child calls another, and the other starts to fight) and unprovoked violence (when, for example, a child suddenly manifests physical aggression towards another child). In this case, two types of situations were presented: when the actors were only children, and when they were both children and adults (in this case, the parents demonstrated aggressive behavior towards children up to physical violence). It turned out that unprovoked aggression was assessed by all children negatively. In other words, in their judgments, even when assessing situations in which adults took part, children relied not on social (conventional) rules, not on the authority of family members, but on moral attitudes that are the same for all. Children who are prone to violence, the situation of provocation was considered more undesirable; they believed that the fight was an adequate response to verbal abuse, as opposed to children not prone to violence, who were negative in any situation to physical harm to another child. However, when assessing the situation when the parent physically punished the child, most of the children said that "it is impossible to beat the parent in response, because if the parent beats, then the child is to blame." In addition, it was shown that with age, children who are prone to violence are increasing the number of responses that positively assess the response violence equal to the force of the violence caused (for example, if a child is struck three times, then such children answer that in the answer is also to hit the offender exactly three times). We can say that children who are prone to violence, have their own understanding of justice. This is because in most cases such children demonstrate aggression in situations of provocation from other peers. At the same time, often adults do not pay attention to the behavior of provocateur children, but see only the fact of aggressive behavior of the child or his result, which leads to the appearance of such children's own understanding of justice.

According to the followers of L. Kohlberg, children use various social actions, which leads to the formation of different systems (or spheres) of social knowledge.

So, parents care about the well-being of the child, protect his rights and help to understand how to treat others. This knowledge refers to the sphere of moral development - a system of rules that regulate the social interactions of individuals and are based on the concept of well-being (or harm), trust and justice. First of all, morality arises as a result of reciprocal social relations (that is, when the child finds himself in the role of experiencing real social impacts). Since moral knowledge acts as a special area of ​​knowledge, the question may arise about the creation of special programs for its development.

Lawrence Kohlberg formulated the principles on which such a program should be based. The first is the principle of structurality, suggesting an analysis of the way of solving moral problems, understanding the structure of the cognitive action that the person does. According to the second principle of consistent development, the educational program should take into account the succession of changes in the stages of moral development (accordingly, the content of the program must be developed gradually). Since the goal of education is to stimulate the transition from one stage of moral development to another, then teachers need to have an interest in this development. Even if, in the process of mastering the program, a shift in moral development does not occur, the teacher faces the task of preventing the fixation at this stage of development: for this purpose, it is necessary to look for opportunities to expand the existing structures of the child's moral consciousness to new areas of content. L. Kohlberg criticized the existing programs of moral development for their, on the one hand, simplified content ("good always defeats evil"), and on the other - the use of too complex abstract concepts for understanding by the child. In other words, such programs did not take into account the principle of consistency in development and, accordingly, did not allow to judge the progress in moral development. In accordance with the third principle - the principle of interaction - development is represented as the result of active communication with surrounding people. At the same time, an important role belongs to the teacher, who should stimulate the exchange of opinions between children; children, representing their own positions, actively participate in the dialogue. It is important to emphasize that the most effective conduct of the discussion, when the stage of moral development demonstrated by the teacher, exceeds by one stage the level of moral development of participants. L. Kohlberg stressed that moral development is not the result of copying a model, but represents "the process of reorganizing thinking." Therefore, it is necessary to create a situation of cognitive conflict between the points of view of children and the teacher, which contributes to moral development.

Moral development is associated not just with the intellectual development of the child, which characterizes the child's interaction with the surrounding reality, but also with the way the child perceives emotionally significant situations and transforms them in his mind. Better to say, moral development is not a collection of knowledge about certain norms adopted in society, but a specific structure of consciousness that allows you to transform and solve moral problems. It is clear that with this approach, when faced with a situation, a child can choose different strategies of action that will be less or more adequate. The goal of education should not consist in showing the adequacy or inadequacy of a particular strategy, but in stimulating the moral development of the child. In other words, the teacher's task is not to give an answer how to act in different situations, but in every possible way to strengthen the process of independent search for this answer by children.

The described principles were especially vividly demonstrated in the research of R. Blatt, who assembled a group of students and suggested them to solve various moral dilemmas. It turned out that the group's uneven age group (and, consequently, the difference in moral development) had a favorable effect on the moral formation of each member of the group. This is due to the fact that for any participant there was a partner in communication, exceeding his level of moral development by one stage. For the most advanced in the moral aspect of the student in the role of such a partner acted as a teacher.


Although L. Kohlberg's works are devoted to a rather narrow aspect of child development - the development of moral consciousness, his theory we refer to second-order theories, since in fact he extended J. Piaget's approach to another area of ​​child development.

Nevertheless, L. Kohlberg's works were subjected to extensive criticism. As already noted, his theory was constructed on the basis of the answers of the test subjects obtained as a result of hypothetical dilemmas. However, such conditional the nature of moral problems suggests that since they are not directly related to the individual's experience and, accordingly, do not include his emotional involvement, interest, then the answers of the subjects can not be regarded as indicating the maximum level of development. It is worth mentioning that there are conflicting data on this matter. One researcher managed to demonstrate the validity of this criticism, while others demonstrated that when faced with real moral problems, the subjects were at a lower level of moral development.

Nevertheless, Kohlberg used this method precisely to check the maximum available level of development of the moral consciousness of a person. To be more precise, if J. Piaget revealed that he is a developed logical thinking (which is achieved at the stage of formal intelligence), L. Kohlberg managed to do a similar work in relation to morality, singling out the structures and stages of moral development. Therefore, from his point of view, it is wrong to deny the universality of the theory on the grounds that, for example, the sixth stage of development in practice is extremely rare. The fact is that L. Kohlberg's theory speaks of the need for appropriate conflict situations, for the successful resolution of which the development of moral consciousness is necessary. For example, the conflict in the classical dilemma with Heinz lies between the basic values ​​of one person (the right of a pharmacist to property) and another person (the right to the life of Heinz's wife). If such situations do not occur, then there is no development of the corresponding aspect of consciousness.

Key Concepts

Moral dilemma - a conditional situation associated with the moral choice of a fictional hero, presented to the subject and requiring judgment on the adequacy of the hero's behavior.

Tins of the moral interaction of parents with children - strategies of parents' behavior when discussing real (not hypothetical) problems with children.

The level of development of moral consciousness - the stage of development of consciousness, characterized by a certain type of decision of moral dilemmas and the corresponding behavior.

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