Education | Lifespan Development
P514 | 5024 | Dr. David Estell
The purpose of this course is to give students an overview of the
study of lifespan development. As with any survey of a scientific
discipline, this course will include three major things: theory,
methodology, and the empirical findings themselves. You will be
introduced to the major theories of human development in the
cognitive, social, and emotional realms, how they came about, how
they advanced the understanding of human development, and the
problems associated with each particular theory. Like theories, the
methods used to study a particular question have both strengths and
limitations, which makes a careful consideration of them very
important. Lastly there is of course what has actually been learned
by developmental scientists over the years. One key element of this
class will be examining how well these theories, methods, and basic-
science findings map onto real-world phenomena, and how they can lead
to practical applications for educators.
I hope you will take from this course a deeper appreciation of the
complexities of human development as well as the challenges and
rewards of studying it.
Turner, J. S., Helms, D. B. (1995) Lifespan Development (5th Ed.).
Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.
Various readings (see attached list).
Your grade will be based on four areas of evaluation:
Midterm exam - 80pts
Developmental Profiles (50 points each) - 100pts
Final exam - 120pts
Total - 300pts
Exams. The exam will focus on the major themes of the course. I
will make it clear as we go through the course what kinds of
questions I am likely to ask on the exam. I will not test you on
minor details (names, dates), but rather on the major concepts of
development. The midterm will cover the broad theories of and
concepts of development we discuss at the beginning of class, as well
prenatal, and infant development. The final focus more on childhood,
adolescence, adulthood, and death and dying. However, the final exam
is cumulative in the sense that what we learn and discuss builds upon
itself, so it is hard to think about adolescence and adulthood
without reference to general theories of development and how things
change from earlier in life.
Developmental Profiles. Developmental profiling is a technique for
assessing the developmental status of an individual by observing
their overt behaviors. There will be two sets of profiles expected
of you, one looking at a child and an adolescent, the other set
looking at a middle-aged person and an older person. The goals of
these exercises are three-fold. First, to allow you to see, in
careful formal observations (itís amazing how much more you notice
when you are really looking) developmental differences among
individuals of various ages. Second, it gives you training in a very
useful technique for both counseling and just dealing with people in
general (keeping your language and expectations developmentally
appropriate make interactions with clients, bosses, co-workers, and
even friends go much more smoothly). Third, this assignment allows
me to see how well you understand the course content by allowing you
to apply what you know to real people in natural contexts. More will
be explained about this in a later handout.
Grades will be assigned as follows:
Grade / Percentages / Points
A+ / 97-100 / 290-300
A / 93-96/ 278-289
A- / 90-92 / 268-277
B+ / 87-89 / 260-267
B / 83-86 / 248-259
B- / 80-82 / 238-247
C+ / 77-79 / 230-237
C / 73-76 / 218-229
C- / 70-72/ 208-217
D+ / 67-69 / 200-207
D / 63-66/ 188-199
D- / 60-62 / 178-187
F / 59 and below / 177 and below
The material of this course will be arranged by topic, though I hope
by the end of the course you will understand that dividing
development into social, emotional, and cognitive areas is simply an
easier way to look it--and that all are interdependent upon each
The key to keeping this course interesting for all of us is
participation. You are to have done the assigned reading prior to
the class for which it is listed, and are accountable for the
information. This will allow us to use class-time for discussion of
the material and for supplementary information above and beyond that
in the text. Although lectures and discussion follow the topics in
the books, they will expand on the information in the text.
The basic schedule for the course follows...
Mon., Jun. 23
Introduction to development: definition, theory, and methods.
Turner & Helms, Ch. 1 & 2.
Magnusson & Carins (1996)
Wed., Jun. 25
Biological foundations of development.
Turner & Helms, Ch. 3
Johnston & Edwards (2002)
Mon., Jun. 30
Environmental foundations of development: Families
Hetherington Bridges, & Insabella (1998)
Wed., Jul. 2
Environmental foundations of development: Culture and social networks.
Cochran & Niego (1995)
Mon., Jun. 7
Pre- and neo-natal development.
Turner & Helms, Ch. 4
Brown & Pollitt (1996)
Wed., Jul. 9
Infancy and toddlerhood.
Turner & Helms, Ch. 5
Mon., Jul. 14
Wed., Jul. 16
Turner & Helms, Ch. 6
Mon., Jul. 21
Turner & Helms, Ch. 7
Wed., Jul. 23
Turner & Helms, Ch. 8
Developmental profile set 1 due.
Mon., Jul. 28
Turner & Helms, Ch. 9
Wed., Jul. 30
Turner & Helms, Ch. 10
Mon., Aug. 4
Turner & Helms, Ch. 11
Carstensen & Charles (1998)
Developmental profile set 2 due.
Wed., Aug. 6
Death and dying.
Turner & Helms, Ch. 12
Mon., Aug. 11
Wed., Aug. 13
Synthesis and applications.
Available at: http://ereserves.indiana.edu/coursepage.asp?cid=1280
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Ridley, M. (2003, June 2). What makes you who you are. Time, 161,
Gottlieb, G. (1998). Normally occurring environmental and behavioral
influences on gene activity: From central dogma to probabilistic
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Johnston, T. D. & Edwards, L. (2002). Genes, interactions, and the
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Scott, M. M. (1993). Recent changes in family structure in the
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Hetherington, E. M., Bridges, M., & Insabella, G. M. (1998). What
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Cochran, M. & Niego, S. (1995). Parenting and social networks. In
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Brown, J. L. & Pollitt, E. (1996). Malnutrition, poverty, and
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Segal, J. (1998). 10 myths about child development. In E. N. Junn &
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