Lawrence Kohlberg, philosopher of morality, theorizes that human beings develop morals in stages, progressing consecutively from one stage to the next in an invariant sequence (Bee, 2004, p. 314). His model consists of three levels and a total of six stages (Bee, 2004, p. 314). These stages are extremely accurate, as well as useful, in understanding others’ behavior and what motivates such behavior when applied to practical, real life situations.I have personally found this to be true as it has served as my beacon in the dark over the last two weeks or so while “testing the theory” in within my own life’s circumstances and interactions with others.
Having such an invaluable tool can give one the upper hand in dealing with and manipulating potentially unproductive situations from a moral standpoint. It is very important to acknowledge that all people are not necessarily at the same place and/or stage in their moral development.Once one makes this connection, they will be equipped with the weapons needed to combat or dismantle situations that could result in conflict, and in turn, devise a strategy that will return more positive results for the whole.
As previously mentioned, I experienced this type of empowerment first hand for the first time about two weeks ago. I am an active member of my community and participate in as many “causes” as my time will allow.As my available time has been more limited since the start of my experience here at Bridgepoint Education, I have been especially determined to make the best possible use of what time I do have, and try to get as much accomplished as App. of Moral Development 3 possible in half the time. As my roles in my activities consist only partially as “leadership” ones, I am limited to how much actually gets done as a group.
This has been extremely frustrating, and prior to the last couple of weeks I had not a clue how to reverse this negative energy and re-channel it to convert it into a positive effort.This all changed dramatically since I had the pleasure of calling in my reinforcement, good ‘ole Kohlberg, and his super amazing theory of moral development. In three days time, the name of our next president will be announced, which will ultimately determine the direction of our nation. This is unspeakably important to me, as well as the other AZ democrat volunteers. We have all worked our fingers to the bone in a relentless effort to decide and change our republican state’s electoral vote.
However wrenching the road has been for us all, the most critical time for us to call on our reserve strength is now, and the five days preceding the election. Yes, we have all done our part in launching the largest grassroots effort in American history, but there is more to be done. I had been increasingly noticing the sharp decline for the last 11 days in our precinct’s “turn AZ blue” campaign efforts, as well as growing increasingly angry and feeling betrayed.My thoughts were, “How could they help us come this far and then hang us out to dry just when we need them most? ” As the attendance tapered off, so did the remaining member’s dedication and morale.
The handful of those still “active” shared my sentiments. The whole shebang was becoming divided and totally unproductive. I was in panic as I realized that because of the hostility among us, we were going to eventually make void all the work we had done for the past 6 months, and it we going to defeat our own purpose! App.
of Moral Development 4Our precinct captain was oblivious to a solution, as was I, and finally concluded that we would work individually at our own desire to get tasks previously assigned to each participant completed, as opposed to a coordinated effort. This did not make for any plausible nor productive results. It was over. All of my work (and late assignments to BPE) were in vain! Until one fine day, I met Kohlberg by way of Bee and Bjorkland. Upon learning about his theory, I came to a revelation: The ladies with whom I was previously upset were in fact NOT selfish and inconsiderate and slack after all!We were simply bound initially by a common interest, but the intensity in which we personally experienced that interest varied based upon our own current stage in our moral development. Wow! What an eye-opener, right? And it did just that. Because our designated leader was more or less “on sabbatical”, if you will, I took the liberty of naming myself “acting captain” and re-dispersing the assigned tasks among the remaining members (to my best ability) according to Kohlberg’s model. For example, as Bee suggests in Table 10.
1 on p. 316, stage II consists of one acting according to his/her own best interests, nai??ve hedonism. One of the younger ladies (around my age, actually) never really seemed to be as submerged in what we were trying to do as the rest of us, though she did complete the duties given to her, slowly. Never having acted with much enthusiasm, we were not at all surprised when she decided and announced that she did not feel that her stake in our project was not “worth her time or effort” as she was not being paid for any of it and that “we didn’t really need her anyway”. As I scanned some of the members’ faces for reaction, I instantly knew that this was going to be ugly.Not to worry, though; Kohlberg rushed in to save the day! As my mind raced for a way to keep this meeting from completely disintegrating, the word “childish” popped into my head, which App. of Moral Development 5 conjured up the concept of “postconventional”.
Then, in a desperate attempt to change her mind I said, “But if you quit now, and Kerry wins, you won’t be able to be in the Phoenix New Times with the rest of us! It’s only a few more days, and you have worked on this for a long time, which you won’t get recognized for.” Well, needless to say it worked like a charm, and quickly. The meeting carried on, and ended on a positive note.
In a more recent situation, application of Kohlberg’s concepts of moral development once again played a significant part in success as an end result. As the election draws nearer, many of the members (including myself) have been emotionally overwhelmed at the anticipated poll results of whether Arizona will turn blue or remain red. We have been tracking the latest poll results for our state, which are not very promising. This has been bringing us down severely.
We all agreed during our meeting before last that, considering how hard we have gone at this election, there is not a chance in Hades AZ will vote republican this year. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t realize, at least not until I was reading up for this very paper, that wait a minute! None of us entered into this thing and obligated ourselves to this project with any intention of self – gain; when we started this group back in the summer, not even one of us believed that Kerry would even come close to gaining as much popularity here in AZ as he has!So why are we all so “blue”? Most of us did this because we felt so strongly toward getting the president out of office that we just had to try something….. anything. We all acted out of pure, untainted mutual obligation as members of society for what we felt was for the good of the public.
We felt the need as responsible citizens to help educate voters about the current state of our country, how it came to this App. of Moral Development 6 horrid state, and what it will take to change it and to stress to potential non -voters that it is their duty and obligation to vote.Once this was pointed out to the rest of the group, it dawned on me that this would be considered stage V according to Kohlberg (Bee, 2004, p. 317) and that the common bond among the majority of us was more than just our intensity, but our shared stage of moral development as well. Once this was discussed amongst us in detail, our attitudes simultaneously fell in sync, and we all agreed that regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, we are all content with our own personal sacrifice and contribution.
Once again, Kohlberg’s theory of moral development proves to be of great value when applied to real life situations, and can make the difference in settling for the given circumstances as opposed to changing them as well as improving them. All that is needed is for such a change to occur is a working knowledge and the presence of mind to apply this knowledge as a situation arises. Most importantly, if this practical application is utilized often enough, one could ultimately become empowered not only to make changes and improvements within specific situations, but within all aspects of their lives as well.App. of Moral Development 7 References Bee, Helen L. , Bjorkland, Barbara R.
(2004). The Journey Of Adulthood (5th ed. ) New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Appendix I This course has provided me with a multitude of insights and understanding of many foundational values; it is no simple task to narrow it down to only two of them.
But for the sake of time, I will elaborate on the values of creativity and self-worth. For starters, I will say in whole truth that my experience of this course has been nothing less than enjoyment.For the first time EVER in my whole scholastic career I have expressed my opinions, thoughts, and feelings in their entirety, and with such ease! Having been one of those students that usually knows the answer yet never raises her hand all the previous years, this is a complete turnaround for me. My creative outlet has always been writing, but I was always the type to write things but then never let a soul read them. I absolutely adored term papers and such, as I could write what I wanted without worrying about getting called on to read aloud; for the teacher’s eyes only!With this course, I once again was permitted to indulge in doing something I love to do, and the ironic thing about it is that it has been so much fun. My reasoning for the sudden change is the encouragement that is consistently given on the weekly assignment pages of each and every new learning block, as well as the system in which they are set up.
The interaction for these online courses is a little different than what I am accustomed to, but they really can bring out the best in a person, especially when instructors take the time to interact with the students.Secondly, because I learned to communicate my ideas publicly via discussion groups, my sense of self-worth is soaring! I have noticed also that when addressing group of people, I no longer feel the need to think in advance about what I will say. I just open my mouth and the words come out naturally. As I said a few times before, this course has helped me immensely and has given me so much direction, understanding, and insight that I am sure to draw upon through all the new chapters and transitions to come.