Moral Education for Child!
A child, up to the age of five, should be considered amoral; as up to that time, he or she has no conception of morality. Superego or conscience is the result of a long series of actions and reactions to one’s own experiences. During adolescence, superego or conscience starts working as an effective censor.
The adolescent starts thinking whether certain behaviour is morally proper or not. But because of lack of maturity in this respect, many times, he or she gets confused, and fails to decide whether a certain thing should be done or not. For guidance, during such difficult occasions, the adolescent needs a good amount of repertoire to fall upon for reference.
And so is the importance of moral teaching which may even be orally delivered by the adults who themselves are good enough in moral character to serve as models, and, source of inspiration. Good, interesting stories or poems may be the media for such an education.
Sometimes, a picture, a television serial or cinema may very effectively serve as media. Much depends upon the resourcefulness of the adults imparting such an education, and upon their character. Subjects like history, civics and even language books, generally, contain a lot of material which may be invoked for moral education.
Even the sums in mathematics may be given an additional dimension to teach a moral lesson to the students. The adolescents very much need such an education to assist them in resolving dilemmas which they face not infrequently.
There are some qualities which can effectively be inculcated in the classroom situation—the students may be turned into diligent youth; they may be taught to work sincerely and to help others in times of need.
An adolescent is full of energy and is keen on doing something remarkable—he is passing through the most creative and developmental period of his life. He may, on many occasions, be confused what is morally good, and what is not; hence, he would be seeking moral enlightenment.
The adolescence is the period when one grows mature also for moral reasoning. This being the period for Formal Operations, as Piaget has described it the best approach for moral reasoning may be “cognitive- developmental approach”.
According to Piaget, it is the third stage of Moral Judgement characterised by the following:
1. Moral subjectivism.
2. Growing importance of mutual consent.
3. Evaluating actions by intentions.
4. Punishment in proportion to crime.
Piaget distinguishes “moral realism” from “moral subjectivism”—when punishment is in proportion to the damage caused, it is “moral realism”; but when the intentions of the subject are taken into consideration while deciding punishment, it is “moral subjectivism”; only an adolescent or an adult can have “moral subjectivism”; and not the children younger than that.
The children have to observe rules as they have been made, or as they are there conventionally developed; but during adolescence, the faculty of reasoning starts developing, and it reaches to its maturity point during this very period; hence, directly to issue instruction in matters related to morality, in the long-run, may turn the youth into a rebel.
As the adolescent is fastly gaining ability to reason out things, his opinion ought to be sought when confronted with some moral dilemma.
The work of Kohlberg called neo-Piagetian in the sense that working on the same lines, he suggested revisions through his studies. According to Kohlberg, making sub-divisions, there may be six stages of the development of moral judgment.
The first level is that of Pre-conventional, when the child reasons in relation to himself. A child younger than nine cannot think in terms of society expectations or conventions—he is interested only in his own self, in the good of his individual self.
The second level of development is that of Conventional Morality. It is the level when an adolescent starts giving importance to societal rules, conventions and expectations over his own individual interests.
Hence, it is the right time that the adult society of parents, teachers and others, should more and more acquaint adolescents with the relevant rules of the spheres of activities that they are related to. They should be taught what are the healthy conventions of our society and what may be the other expectations of the society which each adolescent must endeavour to fulfill.
The third and the final level of moral development is the level of Post-conventional or Principled Morality when the adult is cognitively developed enough to evaluate even laws, and would raise voice against such laws which violate the “universal principle of justice”, the principle of the “equality of human beings” and respect for the “dignity of human beings as individual persons”.
Though this final Moral Development is the result of maturity, yet, environment plays an important role in the process. The school can directly help in leading the child through these three levels (each level has been further divided into two stages by Kohlberg) with better development.