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The Nature of Development Essay

I. Why Study Children?
A. Responsibility for children is part of everyday life as parent, professional, and/or responsible citizen.Responsible citizenship B. The study of children’s development enables us to understand how humans change as they grow up as well as to understand forces that contribute to that change. C. The study of child development enables us to benefit from understanding our own development and to provide understandings that will help us in our personal lives and rearing our own children. I. The study of child development enables us to benefit from understanding our own development and to provide understandings that will help us in our personal lives and rearing our own children. II. Child Development—Yesterday and Today

A. Historical views of childhood
1. Renaissance philosophies
a. The “Original Sin” view of child rearing dominated during the Middle Ages. In this view, children were perceived as born into the world as evil beings, and the goal of child rearing was salvation. b. The Tabula Rasa view, purported by John Locke, was dominant in the late 17th century. According to this view, children were born as “blank slates.” c. In the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s view of the child as possessing “Innate Goodness” was widely accepted. Viewing children as inherently good lead to the child-rearing philosophy that endorsed permitting children to grow with little constraint. 2. Current idea: Childhood is important as a time of development that lays the foundation for the adult years.. B. The modern study of child development

1. Child development has been a science little more than a century. The field has evolved into a sophisticated science guided by theory and
methods of study. 2. The major shift was from a philosophical perspective to direct observation and experimentation. 3. Alfred Binet invented tasks to measure intelligence. 4. G. Stanley Hall pioneered the use of questionnaires. 5. Charles Darwin kept a baby journal for systematic observation of children and made scientific study of children a respectable science. 6. James Mark Baldwin (1880s) pioneered genetic epistemology, or the study of how knowledge develops. 7. Sigmund Freud (early 1900s) described the unconscious and psychosexual stages. 8. In the 1920s child development research centers were started in Minnesota, Iowa, Berkeley, and at Columbia Teacher’s College, and in Toronto. 9. Arnold Gesell at Yale developed observational strategies using cameras and a photographic dome. 10. In the 1920s and 1930s, John Watson was influential with his theory of behaviorism, methods of systematic observation, and advocacy of “not-so-soft” techniques of childrearing. 11. Jean Piaget (1940s and 1950s) became the giant in developmental psychology when he presented a theory of cognitive development that included qualitatively different stages. .

Arnold Gesell at Yale developed observational strategies using cameras and a photographic dome. In the 1920s and 1930s, John Watson was influential with his theory of behaviorism. e) In the 1940s and 1950s, Jean Piaget, later known as the father cognitive psychology, presented a stage-theory of cognitive development. a) Scientific methods and theories that have been advanced include these: b) Psychoanalytic

c) Behavioral
d) Cognitive
C. Contemporary concernsContemporary concerns
1. Health and well-being. Concerns related to to contemporary health and well-being include poverty, AIDS, nutrition problemsstarvation, health care, inadequate exercise, alcohol and drug abuse, and sexual abuse. Tiffany Field’s work on infant massage is highlighted. 2. Families and parenting. Family and parenting issues focus on increased pressures on contemporary families. These and these pressures are marked by the increasing number of families with both parents working, single parent heads of householdsone parent families, decreased time to spend with children, and lack of adequate and affordable child care, and problems associated with lack of supervision in the absence of after-school care. Research example: Child maltreatment, peer rejection, and aggression are linked. 3. Education. Education occurs in many settings, including home, school, peer groups, books, TV, and computer environments. Education is faced with many questions about how best to educate children and how best to serve the multiple needs of children in modern society.

Research example: Mentoring can improve school performance and improve relationships with parents.Education is faced with many questions about how best to educate children and how best to serve the multiple needs of children in modern society. 4. Sociocultural contexts: Culture, ethnicity, and genderCulture and ethnicity a. Context refers to setting (historical, economic, social, cultural) for development such as home, school, peer group, church, economic, social situation, and cultural legacies. 1) Culture includes behaviors and beliefs that are transmitted from generation to generation. Cross-cultural studies provide information about similarities and differences in development across cultures. 2) Race and ethnicity are often misrepresented. Race is a classification based on real or imagined biological factors. Ethnic identity is based on language, religion, customs, values, history, and race. 3) There is a great deal of ethnic diversity in the United States culture, and there is diversity within each ethnic group. 4) Gender involves psychological and sociological dimensions of maleness/femaleness while sex refers to the biological dimension. Research example: Poverty is a more powerful indicator of home environment than is ethnicity. Stereotyping of minorities continues to be a source of tension in contemporary society and many youth struggle to develop a comfortable ethnic identity status.

Gender role orientation
D. Social policies and children’s development
a. Social policies refer to a national government’s course of action that is designed to influence the welfare of citizens. Political systems shape social policies. b. Poverty, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, AIDS are social
problems that need to be addressed by policy makers. Political systems shape social policies.

c. Several organizations advocate for policies that are more supportive of children (e.g., UNICEF and Children’s Defense Fund). III. .
Future concerns
1. Children who fail to develop their potential are unable to be effective in society. Resiliency in the face of adverse conditions enables some children to be productive citizens in spite of the lack of optimal rearing conditions. IV. Nature of DevelopmentDevelopmental Processes and Periods A. What is development? Development refers to a pattern of movement of change that occurs throughout the lifespan. B. Developmental processes include biological, physical, cognitive, and socioemotional. 1. Biological processes involve changes in the body.

2. Cognitive processes include changes in thought, intelligence and language. 3. Socioemotional processsesprocesses involve changes in relationships, emotions and personality. C. Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes interact and influence development. D. Periods of development from conception through adolescence include: prenatal, infancy, early childhood, middle and late childhood, and adolescence.Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes interact and influence development. E. Developmental issues

1. Nature versus nurture
a. What are the relative contributions of maturation and experience to development (nature versus nurture controversy)? b. Maturation (nature) view: Biological inheritance is most important. c. Experience (nurture) view: Experience is most important. 2. Continuity versus discontinuity

a. Continuity view: Development is gradual and cumulative. b. Discontinuity view: Development involves distinct stages. 3. Early versus late experience
a. The relative importance of early versus later experience is a
major them in research. b. Can early experiences determine how child will develop as adult? 4. Current view

a. Extreme positions are unwise.
1) Both nature and nurture are important as is the interaction between them,. 2) Some things develop with more continuity than do others. b. The debate continues.
II. Careers in Child Development
A. Typical careers include:
1. College/university teaching
2. College/university research
3. Child clinical psychology
4. Counseling
5. School teaching
6. School psychology
7. Nursing
8. Social work
Varied levels of training and education are needed for different types of careers that involve working with children. Yet, the basic understanding of developmental processes, issues, and levels of development serves all those who seek to serve in careers aimed at improving the quality of life for children and families.


1. Women in Developmental Psychology

The pioneers in developmental psychology who are generally described in text bookstextbooks were male (e.g., Watson, Skinner, Piaget, Erikson). NoticablyNoticeably missing is recognition of women who contributed to the field of child development. Prepare a lecture paying tribute to women who made a difference in children’s lives and in the theoretical and research literature on child development. Many pioneers in child development were in
fields such as hHome eEconomics (Ellen H. Richards), eEducation (Susan Issacs), or sSocial wWork (Jane Adams), or pPublic pPolicy (Marion Wright Edelman). More women have become outstanding contributors to theory and research in the second half of the 20th century. What social and political forces might have led to this?

Source: O-Connell, A. N., & Russo, N. F. (1990). Women in psychology: A bio-bibliographic sourcebook. New York: Greenwood Press.

2. Rights of the Child

Santrock discusses contemporary concerns about children such as health, families, education, and the sociocultural contexts of culture, ethnicity, and gender. Do children really have a right to certain things like education and health care, or are these just privileged opportunities that are afforded children in countries whose governments are committed to and able to afford at least a minimum standard of life experience?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child articulates a set of standards and obligations that defines human rights for children worldwide. It includes civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Prepare a lecture about the cConvention, its principles, the rights it articulates, the history of the cConvention, and its current status. What are the legal rights of minors (children under age 18)? Do these rights apply to all nations? Where does the United States stand in regard to guaranteeing children certain opportunities? What organizations or governmental agencies are responsible for protecting children?

UNICEF maintains a comprehensive Wweb site that includes the history of the Convention on Children’s Rights, the principles, and the 41 articles (see http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm). Students might be surprised to learn that attention to children’s rights is a relatively recent historical phenomenon. Even more surprising is that, while 191 countries have ratified the cConvention, two countries have not. One of these is the United States and the other is Somalia. According to UNICEF, optional pProtocols, related
to the use of children as soldiers in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography were entered into on 12 February and 18 January 2002.

The Convention outlines four principles as follows:

• Non-discrimination
• Best interests of the child
• Survival and development
• Participation

The 41 articles define specific legal rights that must be respected and protected. Some examples are listed below. Please see the UNICEF Wweb site for a full copy of the text. • The right to have a name. This includes the right to be registered after birth and to be given a nationality. • Protection from illicit transfer abroad and non-return • Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion

• That child refugees be given protection and humanitarian assistance • The right of mentally or physically disabled children to enjoy a decent life, dignity, and participation in the community. • High standards of health and treatment of illness. • The right to education

• The right to rest, leisure, play, and recreation • Freedom from torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, or punishment.

All of the principles and articles in the Convention on Children’s Rights are relevant to the developmental processes featureds through all 18 chapters of the Santrock text. There is sufficient material in the cConvention to have a weekly in-class discussion, debate, or other activityies to complement each Santrock chapter. Because the current status of children worldwide is closely tied to the continued evolution or potential devolution of humankind, students anticipating various careers will be able to generate a vision of how their chosen profession might contribute to improving the
plight of all children. It is obvious how careers in medicine, home economics, public health, social work, and education might contribute to world-wideworldwide well-beingwell-being. However, students anticipating careers in law, architecture, engineering, economics, marketing, information systems, business, and hospitality might need to reflect more deeply to anticipate the potential contribution that could be made by their chosen profession.

Source: http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm

3. Public Policy Advocates

Many of the contemporary concerns described by Santrock are being addressed by organizations that advocate for policies aimed at improving the lives of children around the world. Use the Internet to obtain information about the current issues being addressed by such organizations as:

• March of Dimes (http://www.modimes.org/)
• Children’s Defense Fund (http://www.unicef.org/) • UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/)

Students need to be familiar with the criteria for evaluating Wweb sites. They are certain to locate numerous organizations who proclaim to have the “best interest of the child” at heart, but that may may advocate policies that are self-serving for specific segments of the population.

4. Research Pioneers as People

Students often find that when they learn more about the personal lives and passions of researchers and child advocates, they understand why their theories, research, or policy work developed followed certain paths. A monograph of the Society for Research in Child Development (1976?) provides excellent examples of personal stories from the lives of prominent American psychologists such as John Watson. It also includes rich with stories of people who were passionate about improving the lives of young children and
whose work helped shape the field of child development. Review the monograph and select stories that you believe your students can relate to. Then encourage students to have confidence that their own passions and interests provide energy for revising theory, furthering research, and promoting child advocacy.

Reference: Senn, M. (1976?). Insights on the child development movement in the United States. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.

5. Ontogeny Does Not Recapitulate Phylogeny

Development of individual children (ontogeny) is a continuous process that occurs in the context of a wider culture that is also changing continuously. In the 19th century the Naturphilosophi movement in Germany presented a simplistic, but intuitively appealing, explanation of development. This perspective held that the process of development is one in which the embryos of all species pass through the adult forms of their evolutionary ancestors on the way to maturity. Further, the view purports that only at maturity can new capabilities be added. From this perspective, the sequence of developmental stages as experienced by each child repeats the sequence in which humankind evolved. For example, after learning to crawl, the young child walks on all four limbs before developing the ability to stand and walk in an upright position. Likewise, cognitive skills develop from a primitive level that involves responding to sensory stimulation, and this can be viewed as parallel to a human in the primitive stages of evolution. The acquisition of abstract thought occurred late in evolutionary history, and it is the last level mastered by in individuals as they develop. This view of development was expressed by the phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This view was later found to be untenable.

As early as 1828, von Baer presented four laws by which development could be described, and his account was ample to refute the “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” thesis. In essence, von Baer (1828) pointed out that at any time during the continuous developmental process of differentiation and organization, new structures could arise. Yet, in the early 1900’s, G. Stanley Hall used the outdated metaphor to explain adolescent development. Because of its intuitive appeal, fragments of the view continue to be seen in stage-related explanations of development. Students need to be aware of this outdated philosophy so as to not be tempted to explain behavioral development as simply a stage-related phenomenon that will be lost when the “primitive” urges are discarded in order to become “more human” or to attain the “higher self.” As intuitively appealing as this theory is, scientific studies have revealed that the principle is not sufficient for explaining the epigenetic process of development.

Source: Cairns, R. B. (1998). The making of developmental psychology. In W. Damon (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (5th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 25-105). New York: John Wiley.

6. Play and Culture

Play is a key factor in cultural evolution, according to a famous Dutch historian, Johan Huizinga. In his classic book, titled Homo ludens: The play element in culture, the term homo ludens refers to “human the player,” in contrast to homo sapiens, which means “human the knower,” and homo faber, “human the maker.” Huizinga’s main thesis is that “civilization arises and unfolds in and as play” (p. i). This perspective holds that play is one of the main bases of civilization, because the freedom in play allows humans to go beyond things as they currently exist and to create new forms that later become part of the culture. He holds that myths have the instinctive forces from which civilization originates. What are the forms that are created as play? They are “ . . .law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science” (p. 5). In Huizinga’s words, “Once played, it endures as a new-found creation of the mind, a treasure to be retained by the memory” (pp. 9-10). Huizinga (p. 13) listed the formal characteristics of play as:

• A free and non-serious activity occurring outside of ordinary life

• An activity that absorbs the player intensely

• Not carried out for any material interest or profit

• Bounded in time and space (e.g., playground or circle, turf, golf course, chessboard).

• Having fixed rules and occurring in an orderly manner

• Promoting social groupings that may be secret or disguised (e.g., disguises, costumes, team uniform).

Huizinga indicated that all society can be viewed as a game if we accept the game as the living “principles of all civilization” (p. 100). Moreover, he stated: “. . . in the absence of the play-spirit civilization is impossible” (p. 101). For example, war can be viewed as a form of play or contest used to settle disputes. And, even wars have rules for civil conduct. Thus, civilized nations at war agree on the rules that must be followed. If these conventions break down (i.e., the game is not played by the rules), civilization breaks down, according to Huizinga. As another example of how contests became formalized and later institutionalized, Huizinga recounts the development of the university. The word playground is derived from the Latin word meaning campus. School is derived from a Greek word for scholar that referred to leisure. Scholars beat opponents in the contest by using reason. What was once a riddle presented by a master to a student is represented (re-presented) in contemporary society as tests and exams that are regarded as sacred rituals in educational institutions, but which bear no resemblance to the playful activities from which they arose.

Huizinga’s critics believe his ideas reflected an “elitist” perspective derived from images of the leisure class that is relatively free from stress and toil, and therefore free to play. His propositions are documented with “selected” examples from a diverse societies rather than scientific observation. Yet, keen sensitivity to aesthetic elements in culture makes the book a classic piece of literature in the field of human development. It is a source of stimulating ideas that provoke reflective thinking about the
place of individual development in the large scheme of cultural evolution. Thomas Hendricks (1999) provided a scholarly analysis of Homo ludens and concluded that “Huizinga’s true contribution to modern thought lies more in the questions he asks than in the answers he provides” (p. 38).

Sources: Hendricks, T. (1999, February). Huizinga’s legacy. Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Play, SanteSanta Fe, NM; Huizinga, J. (1838/1955). Homo ludens: A study of the play-element in culture. Boston: Beacon Press.

1. Freud and His Contemporary Philosophers

Many students believe that Sigmund Freud was the first to propose the importance of the unconscious, sexuality and aggression, and human irrationality when, actually, the philosophers of his time shared these ideas. Three of his contemporaries are noted below.

• Arthur Schopenhauer was a 19th-century philosopher who believed that people were irrational beings guided by internal forces of which they possessed only vague awareness. Schopenhauer also believed that sexual behavior was governed by a primary, primitive drive for copulation.

• Nineteenth-century philosopher Eduard von Hartmann believed that the unconscious mind influenced everyday behavior.

• Friedrich Nietzsche believed that human beings operated by self-deception. He also stated that the biological drives of sex and aggression distorted all conscious thought.

Sources: Hogan, R. (1986). What every student should know about personality psychology. In V. P. Makosky, The G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series, Vol. 6. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Stanley Hall (1846-1924)
About the psychologist: Although the word adolescence has ancient roots in
the Latin word for growth, the word itself is a 20th-century phenomenon—it was coined by G. Stanley Hall, who is considered the founder of adolescent psychology. Hall believed that adolescence was a stormy and stressful developmental stage; current research suggests that a minority of the adolescent population has a “stormy adolescence.”

Hall is also remembered for his experimental work in child development, and for pioneering the study of aging with a book written when he was nearly 80 years old. Although he began his research with case studies, Hall knew he needed large numbers of subjects in order to have representative data. To acquire the necessary data, Hall devised the questionnaire method, now an important research method in all the social sciences. Although best known for his study of children and teenagers, Hall was important to the whole of psychology and was one of the founders of the American Psychological Association. Here are some quotes from Hall’s Adolescence (1904):

“The teens are emotionally unstable and pathic. It is a natural impulse to experience hot and perfervid psychic states, and it is characterized by emotionalism.”

“Normal children often pass through stages of passionate cruelty, laziness, lying and thievery.

2. The Concepts of Development and Interaction
One of the ways in which developmental psychology is distinct from other areas in psychology is its focus on a special kind of behavioral and psychological change. Developmental change is said to be different from other types of change such as learning and maturation.

Give a lecture that explores the nature of developmental change, its causes, and what distinguishes it from other types of change. Although there are different views about what characterizes developmental change, consider these four features: dDevelopmental change (a) is orderly; (b) is relatively long lasting; (c) produces something that is new or qualitatively different from what was present earlier; and (d) results in superior functioning.
Elaborate and exemplify each of these points with brief descriptions of material that you will cover in the course. Motor development is an excellent vehicle, as are Piaget’s theory and material on language development.

After characterizing development, discuss causes of development. Consider these possibilities: (a) heredity; (b) biological maturation; (c) psychological change; and (d) environmental forces. Then address the question of whether any one of these causes is more important than any other. In this context begin a treatment of the concept of interaction as a way to understand development (see class activities next for a useful illustration). Useful examples include phenylketonuria, Vygtosky’s conceptVygtosky’s concept of the “zone of proximal development,” and the interaction of critical periods and genetics.

3. Studies of Mother-Newborn Bonding
In the late 1970s reform of hospital procedures for handling births received strong impetus from the claims made by pediatricians Klaus and Kennel that mothers needed immediate contact with their newborn babies to bond properly with them. Use this work as the basis of one of your early lectures to illustrate the potential influence of developmental psychology on policies and practices for raising children. Describe the original work and either describe or discuss appropriate applications of it to or with the class, assuming that the findings were valid.

Then mention that the original work quickly became controversial. Invite the class to criticize it. Eventually, discuss its shortcomings and talk about subsequent research that essentially disconfirmed Klaus and Kennel’s findings. An interesting point to pursue, however, is that parents and hospitals alike continue to stress the value of early parent-infant contact to their developing relationship, despite this research. Discuss why.

This lecture provides a good opportunity to illustrate the potential contributions of developmental psychology, the importance of good research methodology, and the place that values have in both research and practice.
You may also find it to be a good vehicle for further illustrating concepts and issues you have raised in the other lectures suggested here.

4. Observation in Child Psychology
Present an overview of the importance of observational methodologies in life-span developmental psychology. Begin by defining the technique. Focus on observation as a means of identifying patterns and regularities in behavior that invite explanation. Relate this to the process of discovery in all of the sciences, drawing on examples from physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences.

Explore some of the early observational work. Darwin is a good example, whichom you may want to parallel with other baby biographers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (e.g., Piaget). Identify example regularities such people noticed and felt needed explanation. Comment on how pervasive observational work is in child psychology, and therefore how important it is to understand how it is done. An interesting point to discuss here is the fact that observational work has made something of a comeback in child psychology because researchers are in search of new ideas about various aspects of development.

Finally, explore some of the difficulties of doing observational work. How do observers decide what to look at? How do they record all the information they need? How do they know their observations are accurate? What are the limitations of observational strategies? Depending on time constraints, this may be a good time to deal with such concepts as reliability and validity, or as a point of departure for talking about other research strategies.


Use the following annotated outline to determine how to best use the Total Teaching Package, including the text features and ancillary materials, provided to you by McGraw-Hill to accompany Santrock’s Child Development, 109th Edition.

|Lecture Outline |Resources Reference | |Chapter 1: The Nature of Child Development: |CM: 1.1 Cognitive Map OpenerChapter Map | | |PPT: Presentation # 1 | | |SRP: 1: Internet Research | | |CTQ: 5 | |Why Study Children? |CM:2 | |Responsible citizenship |CAD: 2: Draw on the Arts | |Understand human change |SLT: 3: Public Policy AdvocatesSLT: 6: Studies of Mother-Infant | |Understand causes of change |Bonding TEP: Cigdem Kagitcibashi | |Gain knowledge to use in supporting development of competent |CTQ: 1 | |human beings |CCD: Luis Vargas, Clinical Child Psychologist | |Child Development—yesterday and today |CM: 1.2Child Development—yesterday and today | |Historical views of childhood |SLT: 51: Ontogeny Does Not Recapitulate Phylogeny | |Renaissance philosophies |CTQ: 1s | |Original sin | | |Tabula rasa (Locke) |AFM: The importance of asking questions | |Innate goodness (Rousseau) | | |Current idea: Childhood is important as a time of development | | |The modern study of child development |TEP: Robert Cairns | |Child development has been a science little more than a century | | |The field is guided by theory and research methods |SLT: 97: Observation in Psychology | |The field evolved from philosophical to observation and | | |experimentation. | | | | | |Pioneers | | |Binet | | |Hall | | |Darwin | | |Baldwin | | |Freud |SLT: 71.3: Freud and His Contemporary Philosophers | |Gesell |SLT: 4 Stanley Hall | |Watson |CTQ: 2 | |Baldwin |

| |Piaget |SLT: 1: Women in Child Development | |Scientific methods and theories advanced | | |Psychoanalytic |SLT: 4: Research Pioneers as People | |Behavioral | | |Cognitive |Jarvis: 3C: Academic Family Tree | |Contemporary concerns |CAD: 1: Children’s Rights | |Health and well-being |CAD: 2: Draw on the Arts | |Families and parenting |CTQ: 2 | |Education |SRP: 2: Monitoring Contemporary Concerns | |Sociocultural contexts |AFM: Imaging what your development would have been like in other | |Context |cultural contexts. | |Culture |IFG: 2 | |Race & ethnicity |CTQ: 6, 7 | |Gender |CAD: 4: Discussion of the Future | |Culture and ethnicity |IFG: 3 | |Social policy |SLT: 62: Play and Culture | |Definition: National government’s course of action to influence |SLT: 2: Children’s Rights | |the welfare of citizens |SLT: 3: Public Policy Advocates | | |Jarvis: 3D: Virtual Tour of Child Advocacy Organizations | | |SRP: 2 | |Political system shapes social policy |CAD: 2.a: Child’s Story: Miss Rumphius | | |Career: Social Policy Careers | |Nature of development |CM: 1.3: Nature of Child DevelopmentDevelopmental Processes and | |Development is the pattern of movement or change that occurs |Periods | |throughout the lifespan. |OHT: 7: Conceptions of age | |Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes interact and |
| |influence development | | |Periods of development |CTQ: 8 | |Prenatal | | |Infancy | | |Early childhood | | |Middle and late childhood |OHT: 22: | |Adolescence |CTQ: 4 | |Biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes interact and | | |influence development | | | | | | | | | |CT: 8 | |Developmental issues |SLT: 8: The Concepts of Development and Interaction | |Nature-nurture controversy |CM: Developmental Issues | |Continuity vs. discontinuity |SRP: 1: Internet Research | |Early vs. later experience |Jarvis: 4A: Explanations for ADHD: Nature or Nurture? | |Current view | | |Extreme positions are unwise | | |Debate continues | | |
|TEP: Jerome Kagan | |Suggested Assignments—Review of Chapter # 1: The Nature of Child Development | |Review the “Llearning objectives Goals” for Chapter 1. in the Student Study Guide. | |Review all cognitive maps and summary tables“Review and Reflect” exercises for Chapter 1. | |TTN: Consult the on-line learning center for links to Wweb sites that provide additional information on topics presented in Chapter| |1. | |Suggested Assignments—Preparation for Chapter 2: The Science of Child Development. | |Preview the “Learning Goals” learning objectives in the Student Study Guide for Chapter 2. | |Preview the cognitive maps in Chapter 2 of the Santrock text. |


1. Children’s’ Rights:
Divide the class into groups to research and debate the issues surrounding the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Discuss the critical thinking exercises on different occasions. At first, students will not be familiar with these exercises and will need support from you as they get used to doing them. When you first assign critical thinking exercises, make sure that students understand that they are to both identify the best answer and the answers that are not as good. Also, they must give their reasons for both types of decision. If you wish, emphasize that their reasoning behind the decisions is really the most important part of the exercises. Present the first thinking exercise in class and discuss it with the class. Verify that they know what it means to argue for and against answers. You may want to give tips about how to do that. In particular, stress that you are not interested in opinions or feelings, but that you want logical arguments that apply concepts or evidence to the problem posed in the exercise.

For the first two exercises for Chapter 1, you may want to review the concepts students need to understand in order to do the exercise. You will find that students are often uncertain of the distinction between continuity and discontinuity, for example, and are apt to confuse descriptions of each. In another vein, they will probably have difficulty (at first) understanding what it means to emphasize “a determinant or aspect of development.” You may want to work on examples with them. For the third exercise, students will be eager to know what the differences are between assumptions, inferences, and observations. You will find it challenging to explain them. Although your own understanding of these terms is probably the best place to start, you might suggest the following: Assumptions are guiding beliefs, values, or convictions that motivate or structure a presentation in the book. They are points the author implicitly or explicitly takes for granted and neither attempts to document nor defend with reasons. Inferences are reasoned guesses, predictions, explanations, or conclusions. They typically are interpretations or extrapolations from assumptions or observations; as such, they are bracketed by arguments or references to research findings. Observations are research findings stated in terms of the specific information researchers gather. They typically describe conditions, associations in data, or respondents’ performances.

During the time when students are working on the exercises (presumably out of class), you may want to devote some class time to having them work together. Have them form groups of three and four, and encourage them to share their ideas and argue their points of view. Circulate among the groups to listen to their discussions and possibly deal with difficulties or confusions they are having with the assignment. When students turn the assignments in, again have them form groups to discuss the exercises. This time the objective is for each group to reach a consensus on the answers. Allow about 10 minutes for this activity, then poll the group to find out what each thought was the best answer. From there, have people present their arguments for and against the alternatives. You should find that over the course of the term this becomes a spontaneous activity among your students when they arrive at class. That may make it a “natural” activity, or it may afford you clues about material that students would especially like to discuss.

2. Draw on the arts for to provide students opportunities to represent concepts in a variety of ways. The arts, broadly defined, include drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dance, poetry, and writing, to name but a few. Both art products and arts processes can be used in university teaching. a) Existing artistic products can be used to illustrate facts and ideas. b) The process of creating can be used to express feelings or reactions to information presented. c) Creative expression activities can be used to envision possible worlds, including possible research, possible public policies, possible human service projects, and possible changes in social institutions. For example: • Read in class the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982, New York: Puffin Books). Use the story as a stimulus for discussion on what today’s college students can do to make the world a better place.

• Locate an illustration of Breughel’s painting of Icarus. Ask students to speculate on the meaning of that painting for the study of human development. Possible ideas include the notion that the plowman in the foreground represents the day-to-day culture, whereas Icarus’s tragic plight goes unnoticed by the ordinary person (note the parallels to the tragic plight of children living in poverty or abusive situations).

• Read in class the poem “Nothing Makes Sense” by Nikki Giovanni (1983, New York: Quill). Students can discuss children as agents of change, how dreams might become actualized or realized.

Ask students to search for creative works such as art, sculpture, music, literature, poetry, or drama to illustrate selected topics. Assign different topics to different groups and give them class time to assemble and compare their artifacts before presenting them as a group to the whole class.

Discuss students’ research projects. Suggestions for doing so are listed with
the Student Research Projects.

Start a class discussion on expectations about the future. Is life going to get better or worse? Will the economy improve or get worse? Will illnesses be cured? What problems will be alleviated, and what problems will get worse? In the discussion, you might get a sense of whether the class matches a 1989 Gallup poll in which the majority of Americans (54%) expected to have an improvement in their own personal financial picture while only a minority (25%) thought the nation would get better off. Why would such a belief exist?

What political changes will there be? Over the next 60 years will there be a woman, African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or homosexual who is the president of the United States? Will there be contact with intelligent aliens from outer space? Will we solve our concerns with the supply of natural resources such as oil and coal? Will all plant and animal species on earth be identified and catalogued? And, if so, is it because of advances in science or because pollution will kill off so many species? Will there be new entertainment forms such as 3-D holographic movies or lunar space vacation trips?

This activity can be used with Chapter 1 or Chapter 2, and as such can be useful for making the transition between these chapters. Notice that students can answer most of the questions with Chapter 1 as the background, but answers to questions (d) – (h) will be enhanced by reading Chapter 2.

4.Suggest Supplementary Reading
One week before you want to use this in class, have students find two or three articles on human development from parenting or other popular magazines. They should bring the magazine issue or copies of the specific articles to class and be ready to tell other students (in small groups if desired) the following information about their articles:

a) Who is the audience for the articles (e.g., parents, teachers, and adolescents)?

b) What is the topic of the article? What are some examples of information provided?

c) Does the article emphasize heredity (nature) or environment (nurture)? What theoretical perspective does the author seem to use (e.g., psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic, biological, cognitive, ecological)?

d) Does the article rely on scientific findings, expert opinion, or case example?

e) Do the conclusions of the articles seem valid?

f) On articles as a whole, ask students to address these issues.

g) Which theoretical perspectives seem to be most popular with these magazines?

h) What topics seem to be getting the most coverage in the magazines?

i) Are most articles well done and useful?

Source: Simons, J. A. (1990). Evaluating psychological value of magazine articles. Central Iowa Psychological Services.


Exercise 1

In another text by John Santrock, he opened the book with an essay on how modern times are “the best of times and the worst of times for children.” What contemporary situations support the notion that these are the “best of times,” and what contemporary concerns indicate that these are the “worst of times?” Use reputable on-line resources to document your answers. If using internetInternet resources, refer to urls ending in .gov, .edu or a
well-known professional organization ending in .org (examples: AAP, APA, NAEYC). Which of the following philosophical views seems to be implied as a basis for understanding child development by this summary of modern paradoxes in child rearing? Circle the letter of the best answer and explain why it is the best answer and why each other answer is not as good.

A.Original sin
B.Tabula rasa
C.Innate goodness
D.Childhood as a unique and eventful period of life
E.A combination of two of these views

Exercise 2

In Chapter 1 of Child Development Santrock describes some contemporary concerns in the study of child development. Review recent newspapers, news magazines, and on-line news sources. Compile your own list of contemporary concerns. Were there any listed by Santrock that you would did not include? Why? Were there any not listed by Santrock that you would add? What are they? Explain your reason for adding these concerns.. These concerns reflect a larger emphasis on one of the following determinants of development than it does on the others. Which one is it? Circle the letter of the best answer and explain why it is the best answer and why each other answer is not as good.

ACognitive processes
C. Maturation
D. Discontinuity
E. Change

Exercise 3

Read the section on Culture and Ethnicity in chapter 1. The section begins with a paragraph about the “tapestry of American culture.” This discussion
about cultural diversity in the United States contains a number of observations, assumptions, and inferences. Which of the following statements constitutes an assumption rather than an inference or an observation? Circle the letter of the best answer and explain why it is the best answer and why each other answer is not as good.

A.Ethnic minority groups comprise 20% of the children and adolescents under the age of 17 in the United States. B.There will be challenges in the 21st century because the balance of ethnicities will change. C.Ethnic minorities find themselves on the bottom of the economic and social order. D.Schools, social services, colleges and other programs need to be more sensitive to ethnic differences. E. Knowing about ethnic differences will make people more sensitive to minority group members


Exercise 1

A.Original sin is not the best answer. There is no mention of the inheritance of good and bad characteristics in the discussion; and the focus is on environmental, not hereditary conditions of child development. B.Tabula rasa is not the best answer, although it is close, because the focus of the essay clearly is on the paradoxical set of environmental influences on contemporary child development. The reason we argue for (E), though, is the idea that these are especially good and bad times for children; adults (and adolescents) are not mentioned, implying (by omission) that modern times have a special influence on children. C.Innate goodness is not the best answer. Nothing is said about possible enduring adaptive, balancing, and “good” reactions children might have in the face of contemporary developmental challenges. D.This is not the best answer for the same reason that (B) is not i.e., it is incomplete. This answer does refer to the fact that modern times seem to be especially challenging to individuals at a given developmental level, but omits the stress on environment the “Images” essay conveys. E.This is the best answer. As indicated in (B) and (D) above, the essay seems to imply that challenging environmental conditions impinge on an unformed nature in opposite ways, but that the challenge of these contradictions is most severe during childhood.

Exercise 2

A.Cognitive processes is not the best answer. If this were so, the issues Santrock raised would have concerned how changes in thought, intelligence, or language influence the behavior of a child or the quality of a child’s adaptation to the environment. But the contemporary concerns such as changes in the family, educational reform, and sociocultural issues are aspects of the child’s environment and how they potentially influence child development. B.Nurture is the best answer. As indicated in (A), the focus of the contemporary concerns is children’s environments and how they affect children. These are explicitly listed in the text as examples of the “nurture” side of the nature-nurture controversy. C.Maturation is not the best answer. Maturation refers to genetic and biological development influences on behavior. This would entail a focus on heredity and, perhaps, genetic engineering as a means of enhancing child development outcomes. But instead the focus is on improving children’s environments to enhance developmental outcomes. D.Discontinuity is not the best answer. If this were the concern, much would be said about the value of describing child development as a series of stages or about developing the notion of childhood as a distinct stage from adulthood. This is not the sense of the contemporary concerns at all. E.Change is not the best answer. If it were, the issue would be that patterns of behavior expressed early in a child’s life are not especially predictive of later developmental outcomes. Again, the emphasis is on environmental conditions that promote optimal developmental outcomes.

Exercise 3

A.This is not the best answer because it is an observation. The statement represents a “fact” determined by census, and therefore it counts as an observation. We need not accept this on good faith or for the sake of argument. We can verify this statement. B.This is not the best answer because it is an inference. This is a projection of current population trends among various ethnic groups. Therefore it is a kind of inference: a guess or hypothesis about what will happen in the future. It is not an assumption because it is based on current information, which can be verified. But it is not an observation because it hasn’t happened yet! (It is based on an assumption that current fertility rates among the various groups will remain constant, and that no other factors will interfere with reproduction within the various groups, etc.) C.This is not the best answer because it is an observation. This is simply a statement that can be verified by a single observation such as knowing one individual who is Hispanic but not Catholic. D.This is not the best answer because it is an inference. The text asserts that various programs for ethnic minority individuals “need to become more sensitive to race and ethnic origin.” The implication of this statement is that these programs are not as sensitive as they should be.

This is therefore an inference, i.e., it is a conclusion that we can draw because it is a logical extension of a statement or claim of fact. E.This answer is the best one because it is an assumption. Nowhere in the material is it actually stated that knowing about ethnicities will make teachers more sensitive to them. But this appears to be the underlying faith of the author. It is neither given as a fact (a bit of information that we could verify by collecting data) nor as an inference (a conclusion drawn from facts or principles). Rather, it is a basic reason for presenting information about the future population mix of ethnicities. One way of demonstrating that this is an assumption is to pose the question: Would Santrock have included this information in the text if he did not believe this to be true? The likely answer is not whether or not it is actually true that future teachers become more sensitive to different ethnicities as they learn about them. This is actually an open question.


RESEARCH PROJECT 1: using the internet as a source of information

Have students conduct informal research using the Internet to locate information on one or more of the topics presented in Chapter 1. Suggestions
include cChildren’s rRights, cChild aAdvocacy, and cContemporary vViews. Students need to record the urls where information was found and learn to evaluate the credibility of the sources of information. One suggestion is to have them compare the credibility of information presented at sites ending with .org, .com, .gov, and .edu. Use the guide to evaluating information from the Internet that is presented at the end of this manual.

Divide the class into groups and let different groups search for different topics. Alternatively, let the whole class take the same topic and have different groups search selectively at sites representing organizations, commercial enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions. Compare and contrast the nature of the information given and the credibility of the sources.

Students can do informal research by joining a chat group and recording the types of questions and comments made by participants. What were the major themes of the discussions? How many unfounded statements were made? Did participants back up statements with observations or reference to authoritative resources?


Chapter 1 of Child Development indicates that significant contemporary concerns in child psychology are changes in the family, educational reform, and sociocultural issues such as gender roles and ethnic minorities. Monitor a newspaper, radio news program, or television news program for a week and keep a record of stories that reflect each of these concerns. That is, search the paper for news items or listen to news broadcasts, and make a record of stories that reflect these concerns. When you are done, tally the number of stories that reflect each concern. Then write a brief report in which you answer the following questions.


1. What was the most frequently expressed concern?
2. Were the concerns you encountered in each category focussed on one particular kind of story? Or were there a number of different kinds of news items that reflected a variety of concerns within each category? Explain your answer. 3. Did the stories reflect a life-span or developmental perspective? Or did they reflect some other way of viewing the contemporary concerns about adolescence? Explain your answer. 4. Can you find information in Child Development that is related to each story and that helps you to understand it better? Explain your answer. 5. What information do you wish you had in order to understand the story better?

Use in Classroom
Poll the class on their answers to the questions. Find out what the dominant concerns are, what kinds of stories express these concerns, and whether the stories are examples of the life-span or developmental perspective. Observe how well students appear to understand text material in terms of the answers they provide, and use their answers as opportunities to affirm their understanding or to amend it.

As a means of introducingTo introduce the importance of rigorous, systematic enquiry as a means of understanding adolescence, you may find it useful to contrast media presentations with textbook presentations. Have students compare and contrast topics they have found in the media with similar material, and see what they identify as important differences in the respective treatments. This should help set the stage for the subsequent material in Cchapter 2 concerning the “wise consumer of information about adolescence.”


The knowledge that forms the basis of your textbook is largely found in research reports published in professional journals. Although Child Development provides you with an encyclopedic coverage of a many topics, you will benefit a great deal by trying to “go to the source” for information about as many topics as your time and interest allow. This project suggests a way that you can use Child Development to help you understand formal
research reports better. See also Research Project 2 in the next chapter for a similar suggestion.

Find a research report in a journal (e.g., Adolescence, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Family Therapy, Journal of Marriage and the Family) on a topic that interests you. Read the article, then write a report about it in terms of the life-span perspective and the nature of development as outlined in Chapter 1 of Adolescence. Attach a copy of the first page of the research article (include the abstract, which briefly summarizes the entire article) to your report. In addition to including the main points of the study and its findings, answer the following questions.


1. Does the article address the idea that today is “the best of times and the worst of times for children and adolescents”? Explain your answer. 2. Does the article help correct a stereotype about children and adolescents? Explain your answer. 3. Does the article contribute to our understanding of the complexity of child and adolescent development and sociocultural contexts? Explain your answer. 4. Which aspects of the nature of development does the article address? For example, is the research about cognitive, social, or biological processes? One or more periods of development? Does the article address such issues as maturation and experience, continuity and discontinuity, stability and change? . Again, explain your answers.

Use in Classroom

Have students discuss their answers to the four questions in groups in order to discover what themes are widely present in the adolescent development literature. Have them systematically record their answers. This is a good prelude to other activities involving systematic observation, and will provide a quantitative basis for conclusions you may wish to present in class. You may discover, for example, that the concerns Santrock raises in Chapter 1 have not yet become widespread in the child and adolescent
development literature.


Comprehension and Application Questions

We recommend that you provide students with our guidelines for “Answering Essay and Critical Thinking Questions” when you have them respond to these questions. Their answers to these kinds of questions demonstrate an ability to comprehend and apply ideas discussed in this chapter.

1. Indicate and explain what you regard as the single most important reason for studying child development.

2. Describe each of the three historical views about the nature of the child (i.e., tabula rasa, original sin, and innate goodness views). Also explain how one’s belief in each view affects what child developmentalists do and study.

3. Identify at least two important individuals in the modern study of child development and characterize their contribution in terms of concepts about “the nature of development” discussed in Chapter 1.

4. An important goal of Child Development is to provide a current and comprehensive coverage of four contemporary concerns in child development: (a) health and well-being, (b) families and parenting, (c) education, and (d) culture and ethnicity.sociocultural contexts. In your own words, explain the nature and importance of each of these four contemporary concerns. Also provide one example from your own life and times that illustrates how each of the five contemporary concerns relates to you personally.

5. What is social policy? Why is social policy of interest to child developmentalists? What do you believe is the most important social policy issue involving children today? How would you persuade the government to improve citizens’ lives related to this particular issue?

6. Explain the meaning of the terms biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes. Also give an example of each from a source other than Chapter 1.

7. Think about your life during the past 24 hours in terms of the developmental perspective. Demonstrate your understanding of periods of development by indicating one example of how you have, or could have, interacted with individuals from each of the following four developmental periods: infancy, early childhood, middle/late childhood, and adolescence.

8. Explain the controversies regarding (a) nature versus nurture, (b) continuity versus discontinuity, and (c) early versus later experience. Discuss why developmentalists usually do not adopt extreme positions on the three issues.

9. Choose one of the three controversies from the question 8 and compare two doctrines. For example, contrast the nature doctrine with the nurture doctrine of child development. Which doctrine would you advocate? Why?

Imagine a career in child development. Given your abilities and interests, discuss what you would like to do in this field, with which age group you would like to work, and what factors will encourage or discourage you from pursuing a career in this field.

10. Assume that you are currently working as a professional in child development (the career you chose for the question 10). Discuss how you can apply your knowledge and work experiences to establish an ideal society in terms of influences on child development.

Related Content to Use in Analyzing Answers for Essay Questions

• To nurture children because they are society’s future. • To gain a better understanding of oneself and others • To prepare for career and/or parenting responsibilities • To influence education/schools more

• Studying child development will help us to To understand how children change as they grow up and the forces that contribute to this change. • The more we learn about children, the more we can better deal with them and assist them in becoming competent human beings.

• John Locke argued that children are not innately bad but instead are like a “blank tablet,” a tabula rasa. He believed that childhood experiences are important in determining adult characteristics. According to this view, parents should spend time with their children and help them become contributing members of society. • In the original sin view, children were perceived as basically bad, being born into the world as evil beings. From this perspective, the goal of child rearing is was to provide salvation, to remove sin from the child’s life. • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who stressed that children are inherently good, presented the “innate goodness” view. This view stressed that children should be permitted to grow naturally, with little parental monitoring or constraint.

• Arnold Gesell developed sophisticated observational strategies for studying children and theorized that certain characteristics of children simply “bloom” with age because of a biological, maturational blueprint. • G. Stanley Hall pioneered the use of questionnaires with large groups of children and popularized the findings of earlier psychologists. • Sigmund Freud envisioned the child moving through a series of psychosexual stages, filled with conflict between biological urges and the environmental demands placed on the child by society. He believed that children are rarely aware of the motives and reasons for their behavior and that the bulk of their mental life is unconscious. • John Watson argued that children could be shaped into whatever society wishes by examining and changing the environment. He had a strong belief in the systematic observation of children’s behavior under controlled conditions. • James Mark Baldwin was a pioneer in the study of children’s thought. Genetic epistemology was the term he gave to the study of how children’s knowledge changes over the course of their development. • Jean Piaget adopted and elaborated on many of Baldwin’s themes, keenly observing the development of thoughts in his own children and devising clever experiments to investigate how children think.

• Some concerns associated with the health and well-being of children are: poverty, the AIDS epidemic, starving children, poor quality of health care, poor nutrition inadequate nutrition and low levels of exercise, high levels of alcohol and drug abuse in adolescence, and sexual abuse of children. Parents, teachers, nurses, physicians, and other adults serve as important models of health and well-being for children. • As the number of families in which both parents work and of one-parent families has risen, the quality of child care is of concern to many. • Education is an extremely important dimension of children’s lives and there is widespread agreement that something needs to be done to improve the education our nation’s children. • The increasing ethnic diversity of America’s citizens promises not only the richness that diversity produces, but also difficult challenges in extending the American dream to individuals of all ethnic groups. It is important to consider the diversity within each ethnic group as well as within a whole culture.

• Social policy is a national government’s course of action that is designed to influence the welfare of its citizens. • Child developmentalists can play an important role in social policy. Improved social policy related to children is needed to help all children reach their potential.

• Biological processes involve changes in an individual’s physical nature (i.e., genes, the development of the brain, height and weight gains, motor skills, and the hormonal changes of puberty). • Cognitive processes involve changes in an individual’s thought, intelligence, and language
(i.e., putting together a two-word sentence and solving a math problem). • Socioemotional processes involve changes in an individual’s relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality (i.e., social smile and sharing toys with a playmate).

• Individual responses

• The nature/nurture controversy is a debate over whether development is due primarily to may maturation or to experience. • The continuity/discontinuity controversy is a debate about whether development is continuous (gradual, cumulative change) or discontinuous (abrupt, sequence of stages). • The early/later experience controversy is an issue focusing on whether early experiences (especially in infancy) are more important in development than later experiences are. • Developmentals do not advocate extreme positions because both forces on each controversy operate simultaneously and interact in different ways at different ages depending on the physical and sociocultural context.

• Individual responses

Careers in child development. College and university professors, counselors, clinical psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, school psychologists, pediatric nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, teachers in kindergartens, elementary schools, and secondary schools Individual responses

• Individual responses


These questions challenge students to We recommend that you have students
follow our guidelines for “Answering Essay and Critical Thinking Questions” when you ask them to prepare responses to these questions. Their answers to these kinds of questions reflect an ability to apply critical thinking skills to a novel problem or situation that is not specifically discussed in the chapter. These items most appropriately may be used as take-home essay questions (e.g., due on exam day) or as homework exercises that can be answered either by individuals or groups. Collaboratively answered questions encourage cooperative learning by students and reduce the number of papers that must be graded.reviewed.

At the end of Chapter 1 Santrock indicates books that provide practical knowledge about children and lists resources for improving the lives of children. Choose one of these books or resources and read it or learn as much as you can about it. Then write a brief review in which you (a) characterize the book or resource, and (b) explain how the book or resource relates to material in the chapter.

Chapter 1 defines the nature of development in terms of biological, cognitive, and socioemotional processes, and periods or stages. Indicate your ability to think critically by (a) perusing other chapters in your textbook for two examples of each process and two examples of periods or stages, and (b) explaining how and why each example illustrates the appropriate process or period.

1. According to Chapter 1, three fundamental developmental issues concern maturation (nature) versus experience (nurture), continuity versus discontinuity, and early versus later experience. Indicate your ability to think critically by (a) perusing your textbook for two examples of each of the three defining issues, and (b) explaining how and why each of your examples illustrates the issue in question.

2. One aspect of thinking critically is to read, listen, and observe carefully and then ask questions about what is missing from a text, discussion, or situation. For example, one approach to writing a textbook such as Child Development is to study all of the different characteristics
of successive developmental periods (e.g., infancy, early childhood, middle/late childhood, and adolescence). An alternative strategy is to study one particular aspect of development (e.g., body weight, cognition, or social interaction) chronologically from infancy through adolescence. Indicate your ability to think critically by (a) perusing your textbook to identify Santrock’s approach in this book, and (b) evaluating the pros and cons of what you would learn from each approach.

3. Santrock sets off several quotations in this chapter. Select one of the quotes and do these things:

• Learn about the author, and indicate why this individual is eminently quotable (i.e., What was this individual’s contribution to human knowledge and understanding?).

• Restate the quote in your own terms.

• Explain what concept, issue, perspective, or terms in this chapter that Santrock might have intended this quote to illuminate. In other words, about what aspect or issue in development does this quote make you pause and reflect?

4. Preview Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development in Chapter 2. Select a journal article on resiliency or health and well-being among children and families. Write an abstract on the article. Include the bibliographic information ofn the article (i.e., title of article, name of journal, volume and issue number, date of publication, and page numbers). Write a brief summary of the article, containing your reaction and response to the article, and an analysis of how the article information relates to Erikson’s developmental stages. As you reflect on the article, be aware that, although Erikson’s theory points to a critical issue at each stage, these issues are present in some form throughout the life span. For example, issues related to trust are present at every age.

5. In Chapter 1 Santrock described the work of Marian Wright Edelman,
President of the Children’s Defense Fund and a leading advocate of children’s rights. Edelman’s work points out that indicators place the United States at or near the bottom of industrialized nations in the social neglect of its children. Edelman advocates that better health care, safer schools and neighborhoods, parent education, and improved family support systems are needed. Santrock discusses the following benefits of studying child development: (1) to nurture children because they are society’s future, (2) to gain understanding of self and others, (3) to prepare for career and/or parenting responsibilities, and (4) to influence education/schools to be more effective. After reading and studying the information from Santrock’s chapter on “Today’s Children: Some Contemporary Concerns,” suggest ways to further support and nurture children in meeting Marian Wright Edelman’s challenge to us to make the world a better place.

6. In Chapter 1, Santrock indicated that something be done to improve the education of our children is a contemporary concern. He continues to sayalso says that the biological, cognitive, and socioemotional areas of development are all interrelated and cannot be separated. (a) Reflect on your educational experiences and identify three suggestions for improving the educational opportunities of our children. (b) Based on the interrelatedness of all areas of development, defend the perspective that schools should or should not address the development of the whole child.

7. Imagine a career in child development. Given your abilities and interests, discuss what you would like to do in this field, with which age group you would like to work, and what factors will encourage or discourage you from pursuing a career in this field.


1. In contrast to the nuclear family of the modern age, David Elkind describes the postmodern family in his book titled Ties That Stress (1994). He describes the postmodern family as permeable rather than nuclear. Massive change and high demands upon parents affect the permeable family. Postmodern parents often must choose between meeting their own needs to
achieve success and financial security versus meeting needs of their children. Thus, he proposes that children in the postmodern society are vulnerable. Using the information on resiliencyt that Santrock describes, (a) analyze the information on resiliency, (b) identify concerns or issues that the postmodern family might experience based on the “resilient children” research, and (c) create a list of suggestions for guidance to help improve the postmodern family.

2. In Chapter 1 Santrock indicates that culture, ethnicity, and context influence our development. (a) Reflect on how culture, ethnicity, and context have influenced your development. (b) What are the traits/characteristics that you think describe the ideal person in order to have a successful culture or civilization? Describe what you would hope your child or children would grow up to be like.

3. In Chapter 1 Santrock indicates that many parents learn parenting practices from their parents. He continues to say that some practices are accepted and others discarded and when strategies are passed from one generation to the next that both desirable and undesirable practices are perpetuated. Identify the parenting practices that you recall from your childhood (a) those that you would perpetuate and (b) those that that you would discard.

Essay Topics:

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