ABSTRACT This arldress starts by explaining the educational philosphy of John Dewey. In this context, the central aims of education are cognitive and moral development. In a pluralistic society, the teaching of morals poses a grave problem and gives rise to a belief in moral and ethical relativity. This address proceeds to show what is wrong with ethical relativity conceptions and to show that the developmental-philosophic strategy is the only clear non-relativistic strategy for educationai aims. The school’s major conscious aim is seen as academic achievement as defined by tests and grades. According to Dewey, an educational experience which stimulates development is one which arouses interest, enjoyment and challenge in the immediate experience of the student. From the progressive or cognitive-developmental perspective, insofar as behavior changes are of reversible character, they cannot define genuine educational objectives. Central to the progressive approach is the longitudinal perspective, the perspective that the worth of an educational effect is to be determined by its effects upon later behavior and development. (CK)
Speeches have to start with a joke or a reading from the Bible. Since I don’t know any good moral jokes I’ll start with a reading from the Bible, the Bible of education. Sometimes my moral education sermons start with a reading from the Old Testament of Education, Plato’s Republic, but today I’ll start with a reading from the New Testament of Education, delivered to John Dewey in 1895. It startsz “The educative process can be identified with growth or development not only physically but intellectually and morally. It goes on:
. . .we may say that every teacher requires a sound knowledge of ethical and psychological principles. Only psychology and ethics can take education out of the rule-of-thumb stage and elevate the school to a vital, effective institution in the greatest of ell constructions — the building of a free and powerful character. Only knowledge of the order and connection of the stages in the aevelopment of the plashicaLfunctions can insure the full maturing of the psychical powers. Education is the work of suvolving the conditions which will enable the psychical functions, as they successively arise, to mature and pass into higher functions in the freest and fullest manner.
Let me paraphrase this text — First, true education is not teaching; it is supplying the conditions for development. Second, development is not just the catch-all phrase of child psychology textbooks, development is defined by a psychology of invariant ordered sequential stages. Third, development is defined not solely by psychology, but by philosophic ethics and epistemology. Fourth, as a result, the central aims of education are cognitive and moral development, with moral development a free and powerful character being the ultimate touchstone of education. Fifth, moral character is not confor ity to, or internalization of cultural norms; moral development iA freedom, not bondage.
Today I want to suggest how we trying to put Dewey’s abstruse preachment into very concrete practice. In doing this I shall present a view of what developmental psychology potentially can contribute to education. In my view, this potential contribution is r volutionary — it goes far beyond the presentation oi a bundle of facts about child behavior useful for teachers to know. Once understood, the basic findings of recent develop ental psychology are revolutionary because they redefine the school’s aims and its methods for meeting these aims. While I am claiming that recent work in developmental psychology can revolutionize the schools, the revolution is really Dewey’s old revolution which never really took place in the thirties.
While I may be pesumptuous to speak as an elder about educational history, I like to think I got a head start in educational history by being a student in the late forties at the University of Chicago, the place where all the educational revolutions started or almost gtarted.
I became intensely interested in educational ideology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in the late forties, partly because I needed to be educated and partly because of Hutchins. At that time, in Chicago, the issue was the Hutchins worship of the eternal Platonic ideas of Western man versus Dewey’s pragmatism. While all Chicago undergraduates learned that the truth lay with Plato and Aristotle, we were all forced to read Dewey rrefu1l.y. And while we all believed that education should really be the transmission of the great ideas of Western man, not pragmatic, we all could see that Dewey ideas about education were great. If your measure ef ideas about education is the sta,ndrd set by Plato and Aristotle, then you know that there was only one modern thinker about education th taking seriously and that was john Dewey.
taking seriously and that was john Dewey. ,AinA, I ted my interest from tion to clinical and child psychology, in thoc-, dominated by adian thought. nowever, I stumbled across Piaget, who in those days was not part of the psychology curriculum. When I started reading Piaget, I said “Of course,” because I had already learned to understand Dewey. I later found out that there w re two great American developmental psychologists, both primarily philosophers, John Dewey and James Mark Baldwin. While American psychology had ignored both men, a man named Claparede in Switzerland was heavily influenced by both of them. Claparede at Geneva founded an institute of developmental psychology and pedagogy, based upon what Dewey and Baldwin called the functional-genetic appronoh. Clnpascd a a brillisnt student, Piaget, to whom he turned over this institute. And Piaget developed the general promises of Dewey and Baldwin into a science of great richness and of logical and empirical rigor.
One of the areas in which Piaget had developed the basic insights of Dewey and Baldwin was the area of moral develop_ nt. This area Piaget’s work attracted me greatly. As a clinical psychologist, I could see the importance of the area but the way in which clinical psycholo ists handled it seemed grossly inadequate. To label moral velopment “the superego fo mation” seemed intellectually and philosophically naive. Those same cli.ical psychologists who discussed with great earnestness the ethical limits of directive th. apy, would turn around and label sImIlar ethical concerns in their patients a “rigid superego. In any case, starting with Piaget’s exploratory work, I began a fifteen-year study of moral develosment, and of some of its roots in Piagetian cognitive development. Starting with an interest in moral stage psychology and philosophic ethics over 20 years I have moved down the primrose path to what I think is the end of the line in tak Dewey seriously. We are now planning what we hope will be “a vital and effective institution in the greatness of all constructions, the building of a free and powerful character.” It happens not to be a school but a reformatory which we see as an institution for moral education. Partly we’ve gene to prison because all the school systems we have approached are afraid to take Dewey’s ideas seriously. Prisons are o willing to listen to ideas because they know they are failures; they know they are not serving their function of reducing crime While schools still think they are educating. Prisons know they are failures because they have more realistic notions of success and failure than do schools. They consider their Reformatory dropouts successes. Their failures go on to higher learning at what the inmates call the college, the state prison. In contrast, high schools and colleges count their dropouts as failures their successes get Ph.D.s.
I’ll talk a little later about how realistic the school’s criteria f success is. But I want to spend only as much time in negative criticism of the schools as is necessary to convince you that we need radi-ally different definitions of educational aims, of concepts of what schools are for, than those now used, and that research educational psychology must create these definitions. The strategy educational psychology must use to do this I will claim, must be Dewey’s developmental7philosophic strategy for defining the aims of education. This label, developmental-philosophic, is meant to connote the union of the study of universal stages of development with philosophic definition of development in terms of universal ethical and epistemological principles. To justify this strategy, I will have to save you today from the common sin or error of most psychologists, the error of believing in valuerelativity. As an example of this error let me cite Berkowitz’ textbook definition of morality. Moral values are evaluations of action believed by members of a given society to be right,” In the early 1900’s psych-analysis and other popular psychologies challenged Victorian moralism by claiming that conscience was the internalization of arbitrary standards, the superego, and that men had no wills, only needs and counter-needs. As 1 shall document today, these popular psych lo y beliefs are now taken for granted by sophisticated high school students who then complain of a malaise called identity-diffusion, lack of will, or lack of commitment to values. Luckily, psychology is the disease of which it is the cure. Today I shall report the psycholocrical cure of the psychological disease, the psychological finding of motel universals, and conclude that the disease was never based on science; it was only one more piece of bad philosophizing by psychologists. In showing what is wrong with ethical relativity conceptions, I shall also try to show that the developmental-philosophic strategy is the only clear non-relativistic strategy for educational aims. Finally, I shall try to show that relativity is the fatal logical flaw in what I call the human engineering or industrial psychology approach to defining educational criteria which has dominated most educational psychology practice.
In talking about human engineering or industrial psychology approaches to educational psychology, I mean fundamentally a focus upon the research study of means and methods of educational teaching and testing under the assumption that the aims of education are given by one’s client, the school system. In the early 1900’s ducational psychology had two choices, the path of Dewey’s developmental-philosophic approach or the path of Thorndike’s industrial psychology or human engineering approach. Partly because educational psychology chose Thorndike’s industrial psychology path, Dewey’s proposed transformation of the schools into just institutions stimulating development never really took place. Educational psychology’m coutrlbution to the justice of the school at that time was the stand4rdized achievement test marked on a curve. The particular relativistic fella y involved in this is indicated by Ed Zigler’s comment that the vision of justice of Head Start and other compensatory projects is the vision of getting the entire country above the 50th percentile on achievement tests. Incidentally, wIth all credit to Ed Zigier, Dewey made the same comment in a 1922 article in The Nation, As we all know, the schools jor conscious aim is academic achievement as defined by tests and grades. Educational psychology’s improvement of the aim was the creation of the achievement test, based on an industrial psychology rationale of marking on an arbitrary curve to predict to an arbitrary criterion. Luckily industrial psychology eventually provides the data to cure itself, After reviewing the major predictive or longitudinal studies, Mayer and myself concluded: “School achievement seems to relate to later success because it is associated with, or rides on the back of, intelligence and s cial class without independently contributing to life adjustment, as measured by occupational or economic success or by absence of crime ental illness, une ployment or ratings of life adjustment.” “Advocates of academi readiness have confused success in school with success in life.” “In terms of future job success, high school dropouts do as well as graduates who do not attend college; high school graduates wit’a poor achievement scores and grades do as well as those with good scores; and college graduates with poor gtades do as well as those with good grades.”
So thoroughly ingrained is the human engineering or industrial psychology approach in educational psychology that the failure of the schools is percetved as a failure in its methods, not its aims. The most cited document on the failure of the schools is the Coleman report. Its basic conclusion Is that the schools have failed to develop methods to raise achievement test scores for the disadvantaged; it never questioned the worth of achievement scores as criteria of education’s aims in the first place.
If one’s educational aims are correct, the methods will follow. I probably du not need to stress to this audience the primary finding of American educational psychology, the finding that educational methods don’t vary much in across-the-board efficiency. Study after study of method A versus method B indicates no difference or little difference. The reaction of educational psychology to these findings has been to look for more complex interaction between methods and teacher or pupil characteristics, so far a hunt that has not led us far. My reactIon would be that educational psychology would contribute more.to society by investing more effort in defining sensible aims than in honing methods for questionable aims.
Besides the industrial psychology approach, another basic strategy used by educational psychology to define educational aims, especially non-cognitive ones, is the mental health trait strategy. Based on the pose of ethical relativity, it replaces moral terms with personality traits with supposed mental-health value. Its empirical effectiveness is summarized in the Kohlberg and Mayer paper as follows:
The current emphasis on mental health traits — exemplified by Head Start objectives for instance — can’t be substantiated on the basis of existing longitudinal research. Admirable as these traits may appear to be, they have failed to show any predictive value for adult ‘life adjustment.’ At the moment there is no evidence that a psychiatrist or psychologist can pick out preschool or elementary children who will have adult mental health or adjustment problems (aside from the few severely retarded, brain damaged or autistic children). Most studies show that three-quarters of the children diagnosed as needing treatment and receiving it get better, but so do three-quarters ot the control children diagnosed as needing treatment but not receiving it. . .
The Kohlberg and Mayer paper primarily stresses the empirical tact that the only good long-range predictors of adaptive features of personality and cognition are measures defined in terms of trends and sequences of age devel pm–t. Since neither achievement measures nor mntml ,+mslo.Arer; are developmental, neither are predictive over ,-.0e or to really new settings. Today I wish to stress the philosophic failure of the value-relstivity soaumptions behind a hievement and mental health trait conceptions of educational aims. To clarify the issues of relativity in the non-cogniti e area, let us start b’r zecognizine that the basic non-cognitive aims of the sense or another moral education aims.
While moral education has stantly do it. They tell kids are n one f0ing sound, all teachers congnat to do, make evaluations of children’s behavior, and direct chilruen’ s relations in the classrooms. Sometimes teachers do these *tangs without being aware that they are engaging in moral education; but the kids sr* of it. As an example, my second grade son told me that he 81,1 bad boys?” he replied, “the ones who don’t boys. Asked 000ks back where they belong and get yelled at.” His teacher w uld have been surprised to know that her concerns with cla sroom management defined for her children what she and her school thought were basic mor l values, or that she was engaged in value-indoctrination.
Most teachers are more a are that they are teaching values, like it or not, and are more con_e- ed as to whether this teaching is unjustified indoctrination. In particular, they are uncertain as to whether their own moral opinions should be presented as ‘moral truths,” whether they should be expressed merely as personal opinion, or should be omitted from classroom discussion entirely. As an example, an experienced junior high school teacher told us, “My class deals with morality and right and wrong quite a bit. I don’t expect all of them to agree with me, each has to satisfy himself according to his own convictions, as long as he is sincere and thinks he is pursuing what is right. I often discuss cheating this way but I always get defeated, because they still argue cheating is all right. After you accept the idea that a kid has the right to build a position with logical arguments, you have to accept what they come out with even though you drive at it ten times a year and they still come out with the same conclusion.” This teacher’s confusion is apparent. She believes everyone should “have their own ideas” and yet she is mpst unha py if this leads to a point where some of these ideas include the notion, “It all right to cheat.” In other words, she IS Smack up against the-Problem of relativity of valUes in moral education.
Now this morning I’m going to solve this teacher’s problem for you. Ne will attempt to demonstrate that moral education can be free from the charge of cultural relativity and arbitrary indoctrination which inhibits this teacher when she talks about cheating. Zefore I solve it for you, I want to reject a few copouts or false solutions sometimes suggested as solving the relativity problem. One is to call moral education socialization. Writers like Phil Jackson and Bob Dreeben Ive claimed that moralization in the interests of classroom management and naintenance of the school as a social system is a hidden curriculum, that it performs hidden services In helping children adapt to s-ciety (Jackso 1970). They have argued that since praise and blame on the part of teachers is a necessary aspect of the “socialization” process then the teacher does not have to consider the psychological and philosophical iSsues of moral education. In learning to conform to the teacher’s expectations and the school rules, the child is becoming “socialized”; he is internalizing the norms and standards of society. I have argued at length (Kohlberg, 1970) that this approa a copout to relativity as clarifying educational aims. In practiCe it means that we call the teacher’s yelling at kids for not puttiAg their books away “socialization.”
You will recognize that the ‘problem raised is one which goes beyond moral education. It is the problem of the perspective of social relativity implied Ln the whole industrial psychology approach to the sch It says, “Since values are relative and arbitrary, we might SS Well take the given values Of the society and schopl as pur starting point and adapt the child to them.” Thus Bere ter and Engelma 1966) say:
In order to use the term cultural deprivation, it is necessary to assume some point of reference. . The standards of the American public schools represents one such point of reference. 0There are standards of knowledge and ability which are consistently held to be valuable in the schools, and any child in the schools who falls short of these standards by reason of his particular cultural background may be said to be culturally deprived. (p. 24)
The Bereiter and Engelmann preschool model, then, takes as its standard of value “the standard of the American public schools.” It recognizes that the kinds of learning prized by the American public schools may not be the most worthwhile kinds. But it accepts the arbitrariness because it assumes that “all values a e relative,” that there is no ultimate standard of worthwhile learning and development so we should settle for getting the child to conform to and make it in the system.
The second major copout from the relativity problem is defining moral values in terms of what I called the bag of virtues. By a bag of virtues I mean a set of personality traits generally considered to be positive. For Hartshorne and May (1928) the traits included honesty, service and self-control For Havighurst and Tael7a (1949), they included honesty, loyalty, respensibility, mor41 courage and friendliness. Aristotle’s early-bag of virtues included temperance, liberality, pride, good temper, truthfulness and justice. The Boy Scout list is well-kn On — a scout should be honest, 1 yaL reverent, clean and brave.
The attraction of such an approach is evident. Although t is true that people often cannot agree on details of right and wrong or even on fundamental moral principles, we all think such “t ait ” as honesty and responsibility are good things. By adding enough traits to the virtue bag, we eventually get a list which contains something to wait everyone.
As can be seen from the different lists of virtues mentioned, one difficulty with this approach to moral character is that everyone has his own bag. However, the problem runs deeper than the composition of a given list of virtues and vices. Vague consensus on the goodness of these terms conceals a great deal of actual disagreement over th definitions. What is one man integrity” is another man’s “stubbornness,” what is one man’s honesty in “expressing your true feelings” is another man’s insensitivity to the feelings of others. This is evident in controversial fields of adult behavior. Student protesters, view their behavior as reflecting the virtues of altruism, idealism, awareness, courage. Those in oppo ‘ti n regard the same behavior as reflecting the vices of irresponsibility and disrespect for “law and order.”
As I have documented elsewhere, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men of t Itothodology and factor analysIs have done little to make the virtue words objective. You can’t make up good tests of relativistic value concepts. Let me cite an example from the Stanford Research Institute study of the non-cognitive effects of Follow-Through. Falling into the bag of virtues strategy for avoiding facing hard issues of value-conflict and value-relativity, minority group educators listed increasing ethnic pride as a salient objective of Follow-Through. To measure ethnic pride, FRI made up an ethnic pic ures test. The Follow-Through child was asked to oicIt a black, chicano. or white pictured child as the one who was smartest best liked, best looking or generally best. In other words black child scored high in ethnic pride if he thought blacks were always smartest, mnst likeable, etc.
The results SRI found were that the Follow-Through group who increased the most in ethnic pride were the white children. That finding suggests that the ethnic pride measure was just another measure of race prejudice. One man’s integrity is another man’s stubbornness; a black man’s race pride is a white man’s race prejudice. Undoubtedly, test could have been made up which at lee_st tried to distinguish btween pride and prejudice, but if Jane Austen couldn’t do It, why think SRI could? As the Follow-Through example suggests, the use of the bag of virtues, and its failures, go far beyond What is usually c nsidered a education. A mental health rather than a moral bag of virtues is the approach to non-cognitive aims that comes most naturally to American educato s. For instance, it is embodied in the Head Start list of objectives derived from “a panel of authorities on child development.”
The first is: Helping the emotional and social development of the child by encouraging self confidence sp ntaneity curiosity and self discipline.
From the developmental perspective, to operationalize the aim of helping the emotional and social development of the child” would require that the general liles of the child’s ego development be logically and empirically c%arted, and that the preschool changes which facilitate ‘t be discovered. However, the autho.-tdes already know T;nat it means to stimulate social or ego development: ‘t means increasing a set of traits called self confidence, spontaneity, curiosity and self discipline. Maw all these words sound nice, but one wonders whether promvilng self discipline and promoting spontaneity Etr. 0i-b4 Ither, or whether either has any Emytyvabic t’ouscquences for later development. As said earlier, the longitudinal research suggests they don’t.
We have summarized three copouts from the relativity problem and rejected them. We found that soc lization, teaching positive values and developing a bag of virtues all left the teacher where she was stuck with her own personal value standards and biases to be imposed on kids. There is one last copout to the relativity problem. That is to lie back and enjoy encour ti– ‘t. In the new social studies this is called value-clarifica
As summarized by Engel (1970) this position holds that: In the consideration of values, there is no single correct answer but value clarification is supremely important. This is not to suggest, however, that nothing is ever inculcated. As a matter of fact, in order to clarify values, at least one principle is: in the consideration of values there is no single correct answer.
An elaboration of this approach in one curriculum is entitled “Why don’t we all make the same decisions?” A set of classro m materials and activities are then presented to demonstrate to children the following propositions:
A. we don’t all make the same decisions because our values are different,
B. Our values tend to originate outside ourselves.
C. Our values are different because each ef us has been influenced by different important others; each of us has been influenced by a different cultural environment.
The teacher is told to have the children discuss moral dilemmas in such a way as to reveal these different values. As an example one child might make a moral decision in terms of avoiding punishment another in terms of the welfare of other people. The children are then to be encouraged to discuss their values with each other and to recognize that everyone has differe t values. Whether or not “the welfare of others” is a more adequate value than “avoiding punishment” is not an issue to be raised by the teacher. Rather, the teacher is instructed te teach only that “our values are different.”
Acceptance of the idea that all values are relative does, logically, lead te the conclusion that the teacher should not attempt to teach any particular moral values. This leaves the teacher in the quandary of our teacher -who couldn’t successfully argue against cheat’ing. If one ef his students has learned his relativity lesson, when he is caught cheating, he will argue that he did nothing wrong. His own hierarchy of values made it right to cheat. In criticizing the approach I again need to point out that it goes beyond moral or value education as such. Much psychological and affective education, many sensitivity and encounter groups, are designed to clarify the self’s true value and feelings and to create ah atmosphere which says “What’s right is to do your ewn thing whatever it is as long as it is A sally yo f If youself.
Now I am not criticizing the value-clarification approaches as a procedure. iJy point is rather that value-clarification is not a sufficient solution to the relativity problem. Furthermore, the actual teaching of relativism is itself an indoctrination or teaching of a fixed belief, a belief chich we are going to show is not true scientifically or philosophically (Kohlberg, 1971).
In other words, I’m happy to report that I can save you today from the relativity problem that has plagued philosophers for 3,000 years. I can say this with due modesty because it didn’t depend on b ing s t. It only happened that my colleagues and I were the first people to do detailed cross-cultural s udies of the development of moral thinking. To clarify just what the issue is I will read you a dilemma we have used ard would like you to decide whether it is objectively right or wrong to steal the drug:
In Europe, a woman was near death from a very bad disease, a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist iy1 the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went pz) everyone he knew to_borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife is dying, atd aeked him .to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No-, I discovered the drug and I’m:going to make money frot Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for hie wife,
Should the husband have done that? Was it right or wrong? your decision that it is right (or wrong) objectivOy right, is morally universal, or is it your personal opinion? If you think it is morally right to steal the drug, you must face the fact that it is legally wrong. What is the basis of your view that it is morally _ight then, more than your personal opinion? Is it anything which can be agreed upon? 44 you think so, let me report the reqults of a National Opinion Research Survey on the question asked to a representative sample of adult Americans. Seventy-five percent said it was wrong to steal, though most said they _ight do it.
Can one take anything but a relativist position on the question? By a relativist position I mean a position like that of Bob, a high school senior.
He says: “There’s a million ways to look at it. Heinz had a moral decisi n to make. Was it worse to steal or let his wife die? In my mind I can either condemn him or condone him. In this case I think it was fine. But possibly the druggist was working on a capitalist morality of supply and demand.” (I went on to ask Bob, “Would it be wrong if he didn’t steal it?”)
Bob replies, “It depends on how he is oriented morally. If he thinks it’s worse to steal than to let his wife die, then it would be wrong what he did. It’s all relative, what I would do is steal the drug. I can’t say tha s right or wrong or that it’s what everyone should do ” But if you agree with Bob’s relativism, you may not want to go as far as he does He started the interview by wondering if he could answer because “he questioned the whole terminology, the whole moral bag. He goes on, “But then I’m also an incredible moralist, a real puritan in some sense and moods. My moral judgment and the way I perceive things morally changes very much when my mood changes. When I’m in a cynical mood, I take a cynic I view of morals, but still whether I like it or not terribly moral in the way I look at things. But I’m not too comfortable with it.” Bob’s moral perspective was well expressed in the late Joe Could’s poem called “My Religio ” Brief and to the point, the poem said, “In winter I’m a Buddhist, in the summer _ a nudi t.” Bob was in psychoanalysis. Now Bob’s relativism rests on a confusion. The confusion is the confusion between relativity as the social science fact that different people do have different moral values and relativity as the philosophic claim that people ought to have different moral values, that no moral values are justified for all men.
To illustrate, I will quote a not untypical response of one of my graduate students to the same moral dilemmas. She says, “I think he should steal it because if there is any su h thing as a universal human value, it is the value of life and that would justify it.”
I then asked her, “Is there any such thing as a universal human value?” and she answered, “Wo, all values are relative to your culture.”
She starts out by claiming that one ought to act in terms of the universal value of human life, implying that human life is a universal value in the sense it is logieal and desirable for all men to respect all human life, that one can dem nstrate to other men that it is logical and desirable to act in this way. If she were c ear in her thinking she would see that the fact that all men do not always act in terms of this value, does not contradict the claim that all men ought to always act in accordance with it. Because she makes this confusion she ends in total confusion. What I mm going to claim is that if we distinguish the issues of universality as fact, and the possibility of universal moral ideal we get a positive answer to both que tions. In the first place, basic moral values don’t come from the outside, from the culture. From the age of four my son joined the pacifist and vegetarian mov :_ent and refused to eat meat because, he said, it’s bad to kill animals. In spite of his parent’s attempts to dissuade him by arguing about the difference between justified and unjustified killing, he remained a vegetarian for six months. However, he did recog ize that same forms of killing were “legitimate.” One night I read to him from a book about Eskimo life which included a description of a seal-killing expedition. While listening to the story he became very angry and said, “You know, there is one kind of meat I would eat, Eskimo meat. It’s bad to kill animals so it’s all right to eat them.”
This episode illustrates (1) that children often genera e their own moral values and maint in them in the face of cultural training, and (2) that these values have universal roots. Every child believes it is bad to kill because regard for the lives of others or pain at death is a natural empathic response, though it is not necessarily universally and consistently maIntaIned. In this mple the value of life led both to vegetarianism and to the desi e to kill Eskimos. This latter desire comes also from a universal value tendency: a belief in justice or reO,ProCity here expressed in terms of revenge or punishment (at higher levels, the belief that those who infringe upon the rights of others cannot expect their own riYhts to be respected).
I quoted my son’s responses because it is both shockingly different from the way you think expressed in the idea that it is a low -tage, and yet it has universal elements you will recognize. Recognizing both the universal and the di fere t you will see that moral development is largely a process of stage restructuring of universal human tendencies of empathy (concern for the welfare of others) and justice (concern for equality and reciprocity) in more adequate forms. This restructuring occurs in the form of six culturally universal stages presented in Table 1. The universality of these stages is documented by findings in villages and cities in the United States, Great Britain, Taiwan, Yucatan, and Turkey. In all these cultures, the same basic moral concepts used in making moral judgments were found — value of life, reciprocity.
P ace Table 1 abouthere
My studies show not that the same basic moral concepts are used in eVery culture but that the stages of their development are the same Furthermore, t-la experimental *7nrk has demonstrated that children Move through these stages one at a ime and always in the same order . velopmental change means forward movement in the equence without skipping steps. Moral reasoning of the conventional (Stages 3-4) type never occurs before the preconventional (Stages 1-2) thought has taken place. No adult in Stage 4 has gone through Stage 6, but all Stage 6 adults have gone at least through Stage 4. The cross-culturally moral trends and these stages are presented in Figure 1. They are universal human modes or principles of moral thInkIng that progress through an invariant order. In addition, there are differences in more specific moral beliefs that are culturally or individually determined and a e therefore, relative in content. Differences that can be seen in the basic structure of moral thinking are differences in maturity or development. Accordingly, the teacher may take the stimulation of moral development as the aim of moral education. Such stimulati n of development is not indoctrination; rather, it is the facilitation of the hild’s development through a sequence that is a natural progression for him. We can then operationalize Dewey’s statement that the aim of educative pro ess can be equated with development intellectual and moral. Can we operationalize Dewey’s statement that educational process is not Instruction, it is supplying the conditions for development? What I have said implies that we should move from developmental research to moral education practice. Practical work started with a Chicago thesis by Moshe Blatt who ran classroom discussions of moral dilemmas in junior high and high -chool classes, black and white, lower class and middle elass. The discussions wel2e Socratic, no right answers were preaehed. Insteaa principles were employed.
The first major principle was that exposure to the stage above the child’s own would stimulace development while exposure to the step below would not induce regression. The classes were composed of children at three adjacent stages, a naturally occurring mixture in most classrooms. At first Blatt would pit the bottom two stages against each other. Then when he felt children at the lowest stage had moved up, he would pit the middle stage against the next higher. The second basic principle was the induction of cognitive conflict. The trouble with conventional mor 1 education is it preaches the obvious cultural cliches. Our procedure was to throw these cliches in conflict, to pose situations where there was no ready answer, when there was violent disagreement. Only by sensing the inadequacy and conflIct of his own current stage of thought is the student impelled to reorgani e at the nest level. Blatt’s results were qufte clear-cut. About one-quarter of the students moved up one staae, another quarter showed some but less upward change. These results occurred in all age, race, sex a d class groups. One year later, the experimental subjects retained the average one-third stage advance over their controls- Perhaps of most significance is that room-induced change was developmental, it was almost always to the next stage up. These results have encouraged us to begin more formal preparation and evaluation of moral discussion materials and methods. These range from a film strip series for first and second graders to a manual on use of the new social studies materials in high school from the developmental perspective, to an undergraduate course on moral and political choice. These efforts focus on moral judgment. We are aware, of course, that moral judgment is not moral action. It is however a necessary if not sufficient condition for moral action. A person cannot engage in principled -o al action if he is not aware of principles.
As Joe Hickey reports on Tuesday, a delinquent raised from instrumental egoism to the light of conventional or even post-conventional morality judgment has a certain sense of salvation, he likes thinking of himself as a moral being. But there are still severe problems in changing his behavior and life style. Not the least of these problems is the unjust institution in which he lives, the prison. After all, whether in prison or in schools, the fundamental condition for moral development, for development of the sense of justice, is not _o al discussion but a just society. So Dewey’s demand that education supply the conditions for development means making the schools and prisons just. Since the prisons seem aware of their limitations in this reeard, are currently developing a ju__ community approach to two institutions one in Connecticut, one in Georgia. Peter Scharff will give a progress report on this Quixotic venture Tuesday.
I have tried to document a beginning effort to take Dewey seriously in educational InterventIon.
Now if we can briefly conclude with some general implications about value-relativity and educational psychology research. Most research on learning and development defines its key terma in valueneutral and relativistic fashion, in terms _hich do not imply that learning implies greater cognitive adequacy or worthwhileness. Learning is measured as frequency of re ponse of earning to criterion. Acquisition of a cog_itively arbitrary or errnoeous concept (e.g. , that it is best to put a marble in the hole) is considered to he learning in the same general sense as is acquisition of a capacity for logical inference. There is, in other words, no clear or philosophically justified concept of cognitive adequacy directing the definition and study of learning in most American theory and research.
We quoted the value-free and relativistic approach to moral research in Berkowitz’s definition of morality as the internalization of the standards of the group; a definition which denotes nothing worthwhile. While in a democratic or just society moral internalization may culminate in just action, I, a Nazi society it will culminate in genocide.
Given a “value-free” educational psychology research, there is no way to move from psychological research to the prescription of practice without importing a set of value-assump ions having no relatio psychology itself. When the psychologist moves from value-free r search results to the prescription of practice, he is in the bind of importing values from somewhere. If he Is a relatIvist, his imported values are likely to be biased and arbitrary, i.e., they are likely to be merely his particular values or the values of his particular community. Interventions based on “social relativity,” like the Bereiter and Enoelmann intervention quoted, are no more ethically rational than are the standards of the American public school with which they start.
To rationally intervene the educational psychologist must join in the construction of a rational educational ideology, a set of prescriptions which are grounded on both the methods of science and the methods of rational ethical judgment. The value component of a rational educational ideology does not spring directly from the personal values of the psychologist or from the values of his refe ence group, but from a consideration of educational psychology facts in light of philosophically rational ethical principles.
If I have saved you from ethical relativity, you will have no trouble accepting the idea that rational ethical principles and research fact must be integrated in educational prescription. I wish now to argue hr.-fever that such integration is almost impossible unless it is done at the start of inquiry into educational fact. Given that we need ethical and epistemological principles to make educational prescriptions, these principles must also guide inquiry. There is very little ethically principled advice about education which can be given to teachers on the basis of research facts derived from studies which define morality or cognition in value-free relativi tic fashion.
In contrast to value-free research approaches, the approach suggested by Dewey and Piaget is the developmental philosophic strategy for relating the study of human development to educational aims. This solution imports philosophic considerations of value or adequacy at the very sta t of the study of development and learning. Piaget starts with epistemological and logical criteria of the adequacy of thought. Because these philosophic criteria are involved in Piaget’s initi l conceptualization of what cognitive development la, his research has direct implications for educational conceptions of what cognitive development ouAht to be.
My own work in morality has been based on the same developm _talphilosophic assumptions. my work, using the deve1onmental7ohiloaophic strategy attempts to avoid the naturalistic fallacy of directly deriving judgments of fact and j dgments about the facts of development from notions of evaluative adequacy, it however also assumes that the two may be systematically related. It takes as a hypothesis for empirical confirmation or refutatIon that development is a movement toward greater moral adequacy (hypothesis about fact derived from reflecti e valueanalysis) and it takes as a hypothe is that an empirical sequence of development may reflect a philosophically justifi d order of adequacy (hypothesis about reflective or philosophic statements of adequacy derived from factual findings). As an example, John Rawls (1971) has developed a quite definitive argument for why what we term Stage 6 is a more adequate conception of justice than is Stage 5 4, etc.)
What we term the developmental-philosophic strategy for relating the psychology of development to philosophy is Dewey’s strategy for relating the child to the cu rieulum. The relation of the child to the curriculum is the relation of developmental psychology to logic or philosophy. Of it Dewey says:
It may be of use to distinguish and to relate to each other2the logical and the psychological aspects of experience the former standing for subject-matter in itself, the latter for it in relation to the child. A psychological statement of experience follows its actual growth; it is historic; it notes steps actually taken. The logical point of view, on the other hand, assumes that the development has reached a certain positive stage of ful- fillment. It neglects the process and considers the outcome. It summarizes and arranges, and thus separates the achieved results from the actual steps by which they were forthcoming in the first instance. Ile may compare the difference between the logical and the psychological to the difference between the notes which an explorer makes in a new country, blazing a trail and finding his way along as best he may, and the finished map that is constructed after the country has been thoroughly explored. The two are mutually dependent.
Our review suggests the logical and empirical bankruptcy of the aims of traditional education, a e of the behavior technology, compensatory education, tests and measurements and mental-health approaches which educational p ychology has developed to support these aims. The current efforts to define a new kind of education go largely under the f open education, heralded as “How the schools should be changed” by Silberman (1970). As Silberman notes, much of the ideology of open education rests upon the thought of Piaget _nd is in that sense the same developmental ideollgy that lay behind Dewey’s progressive education. Indeed Dewey’s 1900 Chicago Laboratory School looked much like British infant schools today. The weakness of open education, whether in the United States or Britain, is that it has no clear positive definition of its aims. As the t rms “open education” or “informal education” indic t_, it is an ideology defining the means of education, not its ends. Its successes are rec7istered in the fact that children are more happy, .nvolved, or interested in a good open classroom than in traditional classroom. The child’s enjoyment and interest i_ a basic a d legitimate criterion of education if stripped of its mental health pretensions but it is a humanitarian criterion, not an educational criterion. Education or worthwhile learning and development meet humanitarian criteria, i.e. , they argue that a concern for the enjoyment and/or the liberty of the child is equivale:t to a concern for his development. In con ast the progressive ideology distinguishes the t o holding that the humanitarian criteria are a necessary but not sufficient condition for meeting developmental criteria. On the psychological side the distinction between humanitarian and developmental cricerla is the distinction between the value of the child’s immediate exper ence and the value of that experience ab it enters into development. Some f rms of romantic or “humanistic” psychology often claim not only that emotional aspects of education are important components of the educational process, but that s ontaneous emotional experience and expression are educational goods or aims in themselves. In contrast, while Dewey believes in educati n as experience, the test of the worth of present experience is “that they live fruitfully and creatively in subsequent experiences,” i that the experiences lead to _later development.
Some experiences are miseducative. Any experience is miseducative that is the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience. An experience may be immediately enjoyable and yet promote the formation of a slack and careless attitude which operates to modify the quality f subsequent experiences so as to prevent a person from getting out of them what they have to give. Just as no man lives or dies to himself, so no experience lives or dies to itself. Wholly independent of desire or intent, every experience lives on in further experiences. Hence the central problem of an education based on experience is to select the kind of present expe-eiences that live fruitfully and creatively in subsequent experience.” (Dewey, 1938).
According to Dewey, an educational experience which stimu _tes development is one whieL mr.-mses interest, enjoyment and challenge in the immediate experience of the studel., The reverse is not necessarily exactly the ease, however, immediate interest a_, enjoyment does not always indicate that the educational experience is stil” -tine longrange development. Interest and involvement is a necessary, L ,not a sufficient, condition for education as development. For humanistic psychology ha g a novel, intens and complex experience is selfdevelopment or se2f-actualization. For the progressive, a more objective test cf the effeek of the experience upon later experience and behavior is required before deciding that the experience is developmental.
Paradoxically, both the romantic and the cultural transmission ideologies have focused upon observing educational objectives in terms of changes which are immediate in time. A characteristic behaviorist strategy is to demonstrate the reversibility of learning, an experiment in which a preschooler is reinforced for socializing rather than withdrawing in a corner is followed by a rever al of the experiment demonstrating that when the reinforcement is removed, the child again becomes withdrawn. From the progressive or cognitive-devel pmental perspective, insofar as behavior changes are of this reversible character, they cannot define genuine educational objectives. Central to the progressive approach then is the longitudinal perspective, the perspective that the worth of an educational effect is to be determined by its effects upon later behavIor and development. In the passage quoted e lier Dewey says, “the central problem of an education based on experience is to select the kind of present experiences that lie fruitfully and creatively subsequent experience ” This central problem, then, is a problem to be settled by empirical longitudinal research.
The basic problems of educational ends and evaluation, then, can only be solved by longitudinal studies of the effects of educational experience as these relate first to the natural lines of human development and second to a reflective or philosophic appraisal of the meaning and worth of the various lines of development. Such an undertaking is a new, large, lengthy and difficult task for educational psychology. Can it settle ior less?
PTFERT7CES BEREITER, C., & ENGELMANN, S. Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Preschool. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1966.
DEWEY, J. Experience and Education. New York: Collier, 1963 (originally written in 1938). RARTSHOREN, N, & MAY, M.A. Studies in the Nature of Character. Columbia University, Teachers College. Vol. 1: Studies in Deceit. Vol. 2: Studies in Service and Self-control. Vol. 3: Studies in Organization of Character. NeT7 York: MacMillan, 1928-30.
HAVIGHURST, R.J. & TABA, H. Adolescent Character and Personality. New York: Wiley, 1949.
KOHLBERG, L. Education for Justiee:_A Modern_Stctement of the Platonic view. In T. Sizer (Ed.), Moral Education. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970.
KOHLBERG. L. Stages of Moral Development as a Basis for Moral Education. In C. Beck and E. Sullivan (Eds.), Horal Education. Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1970.
KOHLBERG, L. From is to Ought: How to Commit the Naturalistic Fallacy and Get Aw v with It in the Study:of_Moral Development. T. nischel (Ed.), Contive Develornent and E.Istemology. New York: Academic Press, 1971. 0.
KOHLBERG, L. & MAYER, R.S. Preschool R seareh _and Preschool_Educational Objectives; A Critique and a Proposal. Harvard University, 1971.
RAWLS, J. Justice as Fairnesa. Unpublished manuscript, Harvard University, 1970.
SILBERMAN, C.E. Crisis in the Clsasroom: The Remaking of American Education. New York: Random House, 1970.
AUTHOR Kohlberg, Lawrence
TTTLP The Contribution of Developmental Psychology to Education–Examples from Moral Education.
PUB DATE 7 Sep 71 NOTE 32p.; Address to American Psychological Association, Division of Educational Psychology, Washington (September 7, 1971)
EDRS PRICE KF-$0.65 HC-$3.29
DESCRIPTORS Academic Achievement; Behavior Change; Beliefs; *Cognitive Processes; Cross Cultural Studies; *Developmental Psychology; *Early Childhood Education; Educational Objectives; *Educational Philosophy; *Ethical Instruction; Individual Development; Social Influences; Values IDENTIFIERS *Dewey (John)
IDENTIFIERS *Dewey (John)