EDCI 100-02: What does research say about identity?

February 10, 2013

As we develop in life we all go through certain levels of development, some of us sooner than others, but we go through them all at our own pace. As we all come to these stages of development in life we wrestle with our identity, who are we? What do we want to do with ourselves? How are we going to move forward and what decisions are we going to make and what are we going to base our decisions on? We have intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in life that drive us and allow us to make informed decisions. Some of our extrinsic motivators would include our parents, teachers, and life events. So what do we do with all of this motivation? How do they influence us? Our textbook defines this as “moral reasoning, the thinking process involved in judgments about question of right and wrong” (Woolfolk, 99). As we develop our moral compass we gain a deeper understanding of rules and the role we play in following rules and how they apply to us. “Piaget called this a state of realism” (Woolfolk, 100).


As kids come to a realization of who they think they are or want to be they come to an understanding that “the idea that each of us exist in, and through, our relations with other persons, is at the very heart of our understanding of what being a person means” (Splitter, 491). The classroom can help children by “transforming the classroom into collaborative thinking environments is an invitation to young people to take an active role in their own vales” (Splitter, 497). This falls into the ideas of Bronfenbrenner’s bio ecological model where kids receive influence and nurturing from their environment that includes the school and family (Woolfolk, 75-77). By helping to develop children’s morals and identities they are receiving good citizens who work to please their parents, teachers, and community.


According to our textbook development of Kohlberg’s three levels of moral development include two stages at all three levels. It shows that as children develop both emotionally and cognitively they move up the levels and stages respectively, and their abstract thinking becomes more important (Woolfolk, 100-101). This is an interesting take on moral development, but is thought to be flawed. There are several theories out there on moral development, and many have several levels of validity but as generations of children change and society changes, children see that they can rebel and get away with more such as “coming to class late, sleeping, rudeness, texting or ringing cell phones, inappropriate talking, profanity, apathy, bullying, fighting, and other forms of anti-social behaviors – is a major problem in American education institutions; hence, the growing efforts to promote civic and character education” (Moore, 142).


I must say that I do not feel that educating children of morals solely falls on the school systems or society, I believe that it starts at home. Parents must be vigilant about morals, right and wrong, setting good examples, demonstrating how to follow rules and be good citizens. Children like to emulate the behavior of those around them and by being good leaders and setting good examples parents, teachers, and neighbors demonstrate on a daily basis citizenship with good moral judgment and lead to a more morally based identity in children.

Hoy, A. W. (2013). Educational psychology (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Moore, J. (2012, May 21). A Challenge for Social Studies Educators: Increasing Civility in Schools and Society by Modeling Civic Virtues. Www.tandfonline.com. doi: 10.1080/00377996.2011.596860

Splitter, L. (2010). Identity, Citizenship and Moral Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory43(5), 484-500. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2009.00626.x


Categories: Educational Psychology.

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