Human Development

Course Details

Course Number: COUN 2023  Section Number: 80

Fall 2011

Location: Dillard College of Business Administration

Classroom Number: 345

Days & Times:

Class Meets: Mondays and Wednesday, 8:00-9:20, Dillard Bldg. Rm. 345

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Judith Elaine Beechler LPCS, NCC   
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Course Objectives

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to: (National Association for the Education of Young Children – NAEYC Standards are in parenthesis.

 1.    Understand the major theories of children’s physical, cognitive, social, moral, and emotional   development (1a, 1b, 3b, 5a, 5c)

2.    Understand genetic and prenatal influences on human development (1a, 1b)

3.    Recognize normal and abnormal developmental patterns (1a, 1b, 2a, 3b, 5a, 5c)

4.    Understand the role of stress on development (5a, 5c)

5.    Understand the influence of family and culture in human development (1a, 1b, 2a, 3b, 5a, 5c)

6.    Understand the contribution of heredity and environment to development (1a, 1b, 5a, 5c)

7.    Develop and understanding of human growth and development and the changes that occur from

       Infancy to young adulthood (1a, 1b, 2a, 3b, 5a, 5c)

8.    Identify and accommodate for factors that impact learning (1a, 1b, 2a, 3b, 5a, 5c)

9.    Develop and understanding of the development and maintenance of a healthy self-concept

       (1a, 1b, 5a, 5c)

 10.  Develop and understanding of one’s own development and how that process impacts one’s

        approach to children and adolescents (1a, 1b)


Course Expectations

1.       Choice Project                                                  100 points

You are required to choose one of the following projects.  You need to obtain permission before you observe. An example of a Consent form for observation is attached (pg.12.). If you are planning to observe a group of children or an individual in the public, you do not need to get permission.

(1)    Observation of 2-6 Year Old Children: Observe children aged 2-6 in their natural environment (e.g. home, daycare, playground, or any public library).

1)      Obtain permission from the children's parent or teacher (unless you are in a public area, such as a playground, school or the downtown library). Be sure to tell them that the purpose of the observation is for a course assignment, that you will not be testing the children in any way. Explain that you merely want to observe children in a normal situation.

2)      Arrange a time when you can observe. Plan at least two hours of observation. During this time, do nothing but observe and take notes. You must be free to be in the background and cannot be responsible for the children during the observation.

3)      Put yourself in as unobtrusive a place as possible. Move around as the children move. Do not invite any kind of contact with the children; do not make eye contact with the children; do not smile; and do not talk except when the children talk directly to you, in which case say you are busy and will play later.

4)      For one hour try to write down everything the children do. Write down speech (if you understand it), describe movements, and behaviors. Describe only what you see and hear, free of evaluation and intent.

5)      When you have completed the observation, reread what you wrote and consider the following questions in your analysis:

Analysis guide and questions:

1)      Did you manage to keep all description of intent out of your record? Were you able to remain objective? (comment on your experience and level of success with trying to do this)

2)      Since you probably could not write down everything that the children did and said, think about what you left out, and add any additional notes to your observation notes.

3)      Did you find that you paid more attention to some aspects of behavior than others, such as listening to language, rather than noting physical movements?

4)      What would such bias do to the kind of information you could obtain from your narrative?

5)      What do you think were the effects of your presence on the children?

6)      Note the children's ages, describe their physical appearance, and describe the setting in which you observed.

7)      Describe the motor development of the children you observed. List the specific skills.

8)      Describe specific examples of cognitive development through the play activities you observed in the children.

9)      Describe evidence of the developmental theory (Piaget) that you observed in the children.

10)  Describe evidence of language development in the children as far as is possible, given that you probably couldn't understand much of what they said. List specific examples.

11)  Note whether or not you observed any private speech with any of the children. Give examples.

12)  What characteristic patterns of friendship did you observe in the children?

  (2) Observation of Adolescents

For this observation assignment you will observe a group of adolescents in a social environment (e.g. a mall, school grounds, library, or activity center).

1)      Your observation of some individuals may be brief as you are observing subjects who are unaware of your assignment objectives. In the event that the group you are observing leaves the area, be prepared to observe another group. Plan to base your observation on at least 45-60 minutes of observation notes.

2)      Try to write down as much as you can about what you're observing while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. Describe only what you see and hear, free of evaluation and intent.

3)      Include in your summary/analysis the estimated age of the adolescents you observed, a description of them, and a description of the setting.

4)      When you have completed the observation, reread what you wrote and consider the following questions in writing a developmental analysis. Include reference to the text when describing and analyzing developmental concepts and theories.

Observation questions and guide

1)      What did you notice about the physical development of the adolescents you observed? What range of development did you see?

2)      The text describes "sensation seeking" in relation to risky behaviors. If you could hear and understand dialogue, did you notice any references to, or discussion of behaviors you would consider to be sensation seeking?

3)      Did it appear that any of the adolescents were "together" in terms of dating? What did you notice about their interactions? (if applicable)

4)      Were any of the adolescents smoking or using other chemicals?

5)      Identify whether the group you were observing was a clique or a crowd (and explain your reasons for your conclusion). What else did you notice about the peer group structure?

6)      Did any of the adolescents engage in any form of, or discussion of, antisocial behaviors?

7)      What else did you notice during your observation that is important to include in your analysis?

Note: Your summary and analysis should be 4-5 pages (be sure to proof read and spell check). Include your rough field notes when handing in your summary.


  1. Parenthood  Project                                                       100 points

You will be watching a film in class. Apply what you’ve learned by analyzing a person’s life behavior. We will use the characters as they are portrayed in the film to identify where each of them fits in the following categories/stages of the following major theories.

                                Kohlberg Stages of Moral Development

                                Erikson’s Life-Span Development

                                Marcia’s Four-Statuses of Identity (Categories)

Bandura’s Development and Exercise of Self-Efficacy over the Lifespan


A chart of the characters in each of the five families in the film is listed on the syllabus (pp. 17-18). Identify where each character would fall in the five research theories. Some of the characters change in certain ways over the events of the film, so you would need to discuss briefly where the character fits in the beginning and then what stage did they move to, etc. You need to select at least five characters to further discuss your findings.  An example of a parenthood paper will be posted on the Webct. You need to select appropriate theory/theories (based on your knowledge) to each character to the chart, and turn in your paper and the chart together to the instructor.


  1. Your Life Story (200 points) and Presentation (50 points) -           250 points


Your "Life Story” is from a developmental perspective. In this version of your life story, you must include the theories, concepts, and behaviors for each life stage that is described in the textbook. Please follow the outline below, giving each of the six sections a heading. Within each section you may organize your paper as you wish, but make sure that you address each area (taking into consideration that your parent may not be able to or willing to share information on all questions) and that you follow a clear organizational structure. Feel free to add to the following outline as you tell your story. Format and suggested length: Papers that do an adequate job of covering the outline are generally a minimum of 6-8 pages of word-processed text, double spaced. If you have any photographs of yourself and other people and aspects of your life that you would like to use to illustrate your story, you are welcome to use these (or to create your own illustrations).  Present your life story to the class using technology or poster board. You just need to elaborate on the questions that you have applied to your development at each stage. Life story and presentation’s rubric is listed on page 16.

You will be assessed on the following criteria:

(a)    Explanation of developmental theory

(b)   Relation of theory to life

(c)    Organization and mechanics

(d)   Informal presentation

(e)   Creativity

Ø  Paper guidelines & outline:

Stage 1: Prenatal

1)      How does/do your parent(s) describe your prenatal development?

2)      Describe yourself at birth (weight, length, hair, anything else you can find out about your appearance at birth). Also: where you were born, who was there, what your birth was like?

3)      Did your mother use drugs to relieve labor pains?

4)      How were you described as a newborn? Sleep patterns? Family's adjustment to you?

Stage 2: 0 - 2 years

1)      Who took care of you? Did you stay at home? Did you attend childcare?

2)      Describe your motor and language development.

3)      Referring to Chomsky's idea that innate ability and rich linguistic and social environment combine to promote language development, describe your environment and how it could have contributed to your language development

4)      Discuss your development of attachment using the four attachment patterns 

5)      Describe your temperament

6)      Refer to Erikson's theory in describing the way you were parented.

Stage 3: 2-6 years

1)      Describe your growth during this time. What was your general health like? Describe your motor development.

2)      Use Piaget's theories as a framework to describe your thinking and playing.

3)      Use Vigotsky's social-cultural theory and describe your language and your schooling during this stage.

4)      Describe the formation of your gender identity. Do you remember when you realized you were a boy/girl?

5)      Who did you play with? What were you like to play with?

6)      Did you suck your thumb/pacifier or have a favorite "blankie?" When did you give these things up? Was it traumatic for you?


Stage 4: 6 - 11 years

1)      Describe your health, motor development and play at this stage.

2)      What kind of student were you? Was school a positive experience during this time?

3)      Describe how you used information processing at school.

4)      Refer to your resolution of Erikson's stage of inferiority.

5)      Describe your friendships and your category of peer acceptance.

6)      Describe family influences on your development (parent, siblings and/or other relevant family members).

7)      What do you remember most about this time?

Stage 5: Adolescence

1)       Describe your experiences of puberty and the effects that it had on your life.

2)      Describe how your experiences fit into Erikson's theory of Identity vs. Identity confusion.

3)      Describe your adolescent identity status according to James Marcia's theory.

4)      Refer to the imaginary audience and personal fable during your adolescence. Describe an example of how this manifested itself in your life.

5)      Describe and comment on the influence of your peer group.

6)      Did you experiment with drinking/smoking/other drugs? What types of intervention occurred as a result (if any)?

Stage 6: Early Adulthood

1)      In what ways have your body and mind changed since you were younger?

2)      How do you expect them to change as you get older?

3)      How has attending college affected your life, and what difference do you think it will make in your future.

Grading Standards



Final grade will be determined by the number of points earned through completion of the following assignments. You are required to finish all of the assignments in order to receive a complete final grade.  If you have any unfinished assignment, you will receive “incomplete” on your final grades till you completely finish all course required assignments. Special Notes: some in-class projects and supplemental articles may be required, but not listed specifically in the syllabus. You will be informed in class and /or-via email of any changes to the calendar.


Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Late work is not accepted in this class.   A total of 50 points per day will be deducted until the assignment is turned in.  Arrangements for exceptional cases must be made AT LEAST TWO DAYS PRIOR TO THE DUE DATE, AND ONLY ONE TIME PER SEMESTER. Turn in your assignments with a hard copy on the due date which is listed on the course calendar.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance Policy:

a.  This course has a strict attendance policy.  Professional teachers are dependable, reliable, and responsible.  Therefore, you are expected to be on time, and in attendance in every class.  Tardiness, leaving early, and absences are considered evidence of lack of dependability and are taken seriously.

b.  If you are absence, your grade will be reduced as follows:

                1st absence – no penalty

                2nd absence 50 points deducted from your final grade average

                3rd absence 100 points deducted from your final grade average

More than 3 absences will result in an additional 100 points deducted from your final grade average for each absence beyond the first three.

(c)  If you have an unexpected medical treatment, you must turn in a doctor’s note at the time you return to class.  It is your responsibility to provide the written documentation to the instructor to avoid the loss of points.

(d) Turn any electronic device OFF during class. Any use of your cell phone and/or texting may result in your phone being confiscated, and a Fitness Alert being written.


Other Policies

Academic Honesty:

Honesty is a fundamental precept in all academic activities, and those privileged to be members of a university community have a special obligation to observe the highest standards of honesty and a right to expect the same standards of all others.  Academic misconduct in any form is inimical to the purposes and functions of the university and there is unacceptable and rigorously proscribed.  Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade for the semester and will be reported to the appropriate authorities within the College.  This policy applied to the issue of plagiarism, in particular.  It is critical that you cite your sources and give people the credit they deserve.


Plagiarism Statement:

Plagiarism is academic dishonesty.  Plagiarism will be considered grounds for failing this course.  You are required to use the APA citation and you are not allowed to directly quote the textbook or any other books without proper citation.


Note:  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity and for educational purpose. (from the Student Handbook)


Disability Access:

In accordance with the law, MSU provides academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Students with documented disabilities who believe they may need accommodation in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and to contact the MSU Disability Support Services, Clark Student Center, Rm. 168 or call:  397-4140.


Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.