When you successfully complete this course, you will
For more information about the learning outcomes for this course and others, please see the BYU Expected Learning Outcomes website.
SFL 210 (for all majors) and SFL 290 (for SFL majors) are necessary prerequisites to this course.
You will buy one textbook for this course: Shaffer, D. R. (2009). Social and personality development (6th Edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
You will also buy (or rent, or otherwise watch) this DVD: Lost and Found: The Story of Romania's Forgotten Children, directed by Joshua Seftel. Documentary Educational Resources, 1991.
I have provided links to the additional articles and readings in each lesson.
Similar to other fields of empirical inquiry, developmentalists depend on writing skill to (a) meaningfully summarize and evaluate current research and theory, (b) offer new insights or theories, and (c) inform public policy and cultural practices (by promoting standards underlying optimal child development). In short, effective writing is central to the ongoing progress of child development research and theory. Accordingly, this course is in part designed to help you learn to write better and consequently think better about the important issues of child development.
Learning to read and write in this field is crucial not only to your current academic success but also to whether or not you will benefit your family and others in the future. You must be an informed consumer of social science research, able to sort through a competitive marketplace of ideas. Conflicting and contradictory assertions of child development abound. You must be “fluent” in the language of the field to critically evaluate the arguments presented. Effective writing—summarizing and critically evaluating research and your own perspectives—is directly tied to your ability to understand the research you encounter. Furthermore, the effectiveness of your response to controversial theories and interpretations of research is largely dependent on your manner of expression. Writing is an exercise in that expression and evaluation process, an invaluable contributor to your efforts as a parent, family member, neighbor, bishop, home teacher, visiting teacher, etc., to meaningfully help others to deal with the complexities of child development.
Whether or not your major is specifically dedicated to child development (such as SFL and ECE), I would hope that you will emerge from this course thinking of yourself as a budding developmentalist, interested in the continued pursuit as well as application of knowledge which promises to improve the lives of children. Developing your writing skills is an essential part of this ongoing effort, especially for those of you who will go on to earn advanced degrees (for example, MS, MSW, PhD) in child development. The most influential researchers and theorists not only pursue provocative ideas but know how to express them effectively. You must learn to do the same if you intend to impact your family, others, or the field at large. Accordingly, this course will give you ample opportunity not only to read about the important issues in social development but also to write about them in a couple of formats. You will also note that a considerable amount of the class points are assigned to the various written assignments.
Reading assignments must be completed in conjunction with each lesson. Lessons are based on the assumption that you have read the assigned text and are ready to further elaborate on points given therein. These assignments will test your knowledge of what the readings have covered.
For most lessons there will be an assignment which tests your knowledge of principles and concepts derived from the lesson or the accompanying readings (text or otherwise). Each of these 15 computer-graded assignments consists of 10 multiple-choice questions (.5 pts per question).
To help you prepare, I strongly recommend that you do not use your textbook and readings to answer these questions—consider them closed-book assignments. Remember that these include questions similar to those that will appear in each exam.
A two-page research paper (plus references and title page) will be required, based on a social development research topic of your choice. This paper is intentionally short: it will push you to develop a very succinct writing style as you summarize a fair amount of the relevant research in very little space.
You will first submit a finished draft. You will receive personalized feedback from me. I will not assign a grade for the paper at this time, but the rubric will show you how the paper stacks up across 5 different dimensions, on a scale of 1 to 10.
At that point, you will revise your work and submit the final version of your research paper. This is the version of your paper that I will grade and assign points for.
As an extension of the research paper, you will also be required to essentially rewrite your paper for a different audience—the lay public—and experience the challenge of translating research findings into a format that is readily understood and applicable. More details are given in “Instructions for Research and Lay-Audience Papers.”
There will be a midcourse exam and a final exam. I have provided a review sheet to guide your preparation for each exam. Be prepared for multiple-choice questions which will ask you to apply or identify concepts with real-life examples (these are the tougher type of multiple-choice questions, but certainly doable if you keep this mindset as you read). In addition, pay close attention to the lesson-assignment questions as you complete them, as similar questions will appear on each exam.
Your cumulative grade will be based on a percentage of 396 possible points, which includes:
|Lesson Assignments||15 at 5 points each||75 points|
|Midcourse Exam||100 points|
|Research Paper||Research question: 10 points
Bibliography: 10 points
Finished Draft: 1 point
Final Draft: 50 points
|71 points total|
|Lay Audience Paper||50 points|
|Final Exam||100 points|
All exams and major assignments must be completed in order to earn better than a passing grade (C) in this course. In other words, I expect everyone to fully participate in every element of the class. In addition, you must pass the midcourse and final exams to earn credit for the course.
Letter grades will be assigned on the basis of these percentages (I round final scores to the nearest percentage point):
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