Lawrence Kohlberg

By: Madison Becklean

Theory Explanation

Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation.

Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. .

Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships.

Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order.

Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights.

Stage 6: Universal Principles.

Pros & Cons


-Moral reasoning develops through invariant and irreversible stages. Walker studied both sexes ranging from 5-63 years using responses to hypothetical moral dilemmas. The finding’s supports Kohlberg’s theory, showing that P’s had moved stages.

- Kohlberg’s theory can be applied to both sexes ad Walker found no sex differences in Kohlberg’s scoring system.


- Research shows that moral development does not proceed through 6 distinct stages, as in the Walker study 6% did seem to have slipped back stages of development.

- Other studies contradict evidence that the theory is universal – although the research indicates that the rate of moral development is similar in a wide range of cultures, development in some however is more advanced than that of rural cultures.

Does this theory still exist in education today?

Yes, this theory still exists today and is used in school and distracts without staff or people knowing that they are using it. The theory is very wide subject and could be used for many things besides education.

Information on Kohlberg

Lawrence Kohlberg was born in Bronxville, New York on October 25, 1927. Kohlberg enrolled in the University of Chicago, and with high examination scores, he was excused from many required courses and received his bachelor’s degree in just one year. He received his PhD in psychology from the University of Chicago in 1958. His dissertation was based on his research into the moral choices of adolescent boys and led to a life devoted to the exploration of moral and ethical development in young people.

How can the theory be applied to the classroom?

1. Students will be afforded the opportunity to have to create classroom policies

and procedures using a four-quadrant chart method described later in the


2. The four –quadrant chart will be revisited when necessary to restate class


3. Writing assignments will be developed that will give the student an

opportunity to reflect on misbehavior.