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Social Work
SWRK 224
Ilju Kim

SWRK 220 Human Development in the Lifespan Lecture NotesMay 1 2012IntroductionSome QuestionsWhy do social workers need to study human developmentWhy do social workers need to understand how people change from birth to deathWhy do social workers need to know about changes over the life courseWhat is developmentThe Journey of LifePrebirth Life Span Perspective DeathCuriosity about human beingsWhy is it that all humans turn out to be so similar in certain ways and at the same time so different from one anotherWhat is developmentThe word development is used widely in our everyday talk but what does it mean o It begins at conception and continues until death o It is characterized by 6 major issuesNature vs NurtureCritical Periods vs PlasticityContinuity vs DiscontinuityUniversality vs SpecificityQualitative vs Quantitative changeActivity vs PassivityNature vs NurtureDilemma To what degree do genetic or hereditary influences nature determine who we are relative to experiential or environmental influences nurture o Is our personality inherited from our parents or passed on through observation o Is intelligence representative of the capacities you inherited from your parents or of the hard work and opportunity you hadTwo important process o Maturation biological development according to a plan contained in the genes o Learning our experiences produce relatively permanent changes in our feelings thoughts and behaviorsDevelopment is the result of complex interactions between biological and environmental influencesVirtually no features of lifespan development are due exclusively to either heredity or environment o Crucial question in todays research How do they interactCritical Periods vs PlasticityDilemma Are humans able to learn at any point in their lives or are there some critical periods in which certain developments must take place o Is it possible to learn a language in adulthood with the same ease than in the preschool years o If a child has not been given the opportunity to develop at best during hisher first years of age can new learning opportunities create counter effectsCritical periods exist but they can be extended much more than previously thoughtThe cases of feral children o Definition a human child who from a very young age has lived in isolation from contact and has no or little experience of human care loving or social behavior and crucially of human interaction o Children who learn an alternative animal culture especially if from a baby age for the first 5 or 6 years find it almost impossible to learn human language to walk or engage meaningfully with other humanseven after intensive and loving care for years o Ex The mythology of RemusRomolusContinuity vs DiscontinuityDilemma Do developmental phenomena represent smooth progressions throughout the lifespan red or a series of abrupt shifts blue o State theory periods of time plateau during which a persons activities have certain characteristics in common o Eg Motor development Universality vs SpecificityDilemma Is there just one path of development or several depending upon cultural and ethnic groups or genders or upon different eras o Are the intelligence capacities of all 8yearold children the same o They probably dont know the same things but are the things they know equivalent in essence Processes of development follow similar directionsEg Motor development Qualitative vs QuantitativeDilemma Are changes a result of knowledge transformation or knowledge addition o When children start to say full sentences is it because they have no learned the logic of their language qualitative or because they have acquired enough vocabulary to create a full sentence quantitative o Modern theorists integrate both influences in their description of human developmentActivity vs PassivityDilemma Are changes a result of external factors which humans have control over or do they play an active role into their own development o Are infants playing a role in the relationship they develop with their caregiversWe are neither passive receptors nor in perfect control of our development extremes are to be ruled outBoth active and passive processes play a role in shaping who we areMay 3 2012Theories on Human Development ththHistory 1718 centuriesTime period of major debates on the human nature of children o Hobbes children are inherently selfish egoists who must be restrained in society o Rousseau children are born with an inherent nature and intuitive sense of right and wrong that society often corrupts noble savage o Locke children have no inborn tendencies how they turn out depends entirely on their worldly experiences tabula rasath19 CenturyPeriod in which investigators began to observe children most often their own to publish data in works known as baby bibliographiesDarwin is one of the most famous writers of this time o Renowned naturalist and thinker associated with the theory of evolution by natural selection o He believed that infants share many characteristics with their nonhuman ancestors o He developed the theory ofththLate 1920 centuriesG Stanley Hall is considered as the founder of developmental psychologyHe was interested in childrens thinkingo Logical thinkingHe published a book called Adolescence which was the first one written on this specific age periodModern Developmental Theories
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