Religious Education: What is the place of moral development in the teaching of Religious Education?




4b ii). Explain the place of moral development in the teaching of Religious Education

Moral Development

Although a number of studies have been carried out in a child’s moral development, the focus will be on the findings of Piaget and Kohlberg as expounded by Groenewgen (1993).

Piaget designed three main stages of development in the child’s ability to form a moral judgement. These are:

  1. Morality of constraint from birth to until 7-8 years. This stage is characterized by:  i). Heteronomy in which morality is based on authority. One behaves morally because of the authority of the adults and the rules laid down by them. Rules are therefore obeyed because of those who set them.                                                                  ii).Moral realism: The morality of behavior is judged on the basis of its objective consequences i.e. the mount of punishment due depends on the nature of damage done regardless of the motive behind the action. For instance, in the reasoning of a child of that age, a person who breaks 10 cups should have a heavier punishment than one who breaks one cup regardless of the motive behind the action.
  2. Morality of cooperation from 7-8 years until 11-12 years. This is characterized by:     i)Growing autonomy in where the rules can be argued and bargained about.           ii)Growing reciprocity in which instead of measuring the morality of damage done, one now takes motive into account.
  3. Morality of contract from 11-12 years: This is where there is consideration of the relevance of circumstances to the moral judgement over the act. The judgement that moral rules as conventions make sense for the sake of the common good.

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