The Self, Social, and Moral Development

From birth to death our self, social, and moral development are constantly growing and adapting to the world around us. This is especially true throughout childhood and adolescence where they go through many trial and errors to become their most authentic or desired person.

This development comes in many forms. The first form that greatly affects adolescent self-esteem is physical development. While many people understand that children and teens develop at drastically rates than their peers, It is a difficult concept for young people to understand, and thus results in teasing and bullying. Angela oswalt says it best in her article Early Childhood Emotional and Social Development: Identity and Self-Esteem, External factors, such as messages from other people, also color how children view themselves.” Her article goes on to expand on how emotional and social development affects the later development of identity and overall self-esteem. My question from this new piece of information I have learned is what is more important and/or realistic – attempting to put a stop to bullying or building up the resiliency in the victims of bullying?

Two paths in the woods
RyanBSchultz Flickr via Compfight cc

The next development comes in the form of identity and self-concept. This is where I learned of Erik Erikson’s eight Stages of Psychosocial Development, and that even for those in the same age range they could be at different stages. Upon evaluating each of the stages, I reflected on myself. I was able to connect to Erikson’s research on social development by identifying where I felt that I was at, which happened to be Identity v. Role Confusion. For myself, I found it difficult enough to choose a career path and focused much of my energy on planning and applying for post secondary. I have not yet explored the world of politics nor chosen an identity that would stick with me for the rest of my life.

One of my personal criticisms that I can’t seem to stop thinking about in regards to Erikson’s stages would be the importance of completing a stage before moving to the next one. I don’t feel particularly drawn to keeping the same identity and persona forever, and feel that time will change my orientation on life.

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is one I had yet to learn about. His three stages split into two parts made sense and weren’t exclusive for different age groups; meaning that the idea that everyone develops at different rates is applicable. I enjoyed watching the video demonstrations of the children presented with moral dilemmas so much that I decided to present the same scenarios to the the children that I look after at work. Although I did not have a large test group, many of them fit into the categories that Kohlberg had predicted, while the youngest ones couldn’t comprehend the multi-part story. Something about watching the gears turn so fast inside the young childrens’ heads was very cute!

Whether a theory has flaws on the surface or seem near perfect, learning about each one will aid in my future as an educator. Being able to take parts of multiple theories and blend them together to make personal beliefs and theories that fit the schemas of the classroom environment is very important. I will be able to apply my learning from this week’s topic on self, social and moral development to improve the learning experience of my future students by presenting curricula ideas at a level that matches their developmental understanding.


Author: Hayley Hodson

I have known I wanted to be a teacher my entire life. I never had a doubt in my mind of what I wanted to be in this world. Even though I was certain of the end goal, I never stopped to wonder what the journey to get to that point would look like. This blog is it. This blog is the messy middle where I transition from student to teacher. Every thought and belief I have and learn throughout my education is posted to this blog in order to document my journey in becoming a teacher. I invite you all to join me as I strive to become more than just a teacher, but also a kind and inclusive citizen.

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