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    Lifespan development in its social contexts. A topic-based paper which includes the study of families, cultures within New Zealand, and disability.

    Human beings are incredibly complex creatures, and our fascination with our own development has a long history. This paper will introduce you to a wide range of fascinating studies and influential theories that offer important insights into how we learn to think and relate to the world around us through childhood and adolescence. You will gain a better understanding of your own early development, as well as children and young people's development more broadly. Such critical and empirically informed understandings are a huge asset in our professional and personal lives, regardless of whether you are planning a career in teaching, social work, the arts, STEM, psychology, health work, counselling, law, communications, parenting, design, or professional sport.

    About this paper

    Paper title Human Development
    Subject Education
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Dr Sylvia Robertson (Lecturer in Education Studies):

    Teaching staff

    Paper Co-ordinator: Dr Sylvia Robertson
    Other staff: To be confirmed

    Paper Structure

    The paper is structured around the following questions

    1. What is human development, why did it emerge, and how is it studied?
    2. What are some of the most influential ideas and theorists of human development?
    3. What are some of the similarities and differences between these ideas?
    4. How do we develop during early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence?
    5. How do key ideas of human development influence the way practitioners relate to children and young people?

    Students will explore answers to these questions by

    • Attending and actively engaging in the lectures (1 hour/week) and workshops (2 hours/week)
    • Collaborating with peers in workshops to explore, formulate, debate, and evaluate course material from different points of view
    • Completing the weekly readings and making connections with lectures and workshops
    • Demonstrating depth of understanding of the course material via two written assignments and contribution to Discussion Boards during the course
    Teaching Arrangements

    This paper is taught via lectures and workshops.

    This paper can be taught as an online occurrence. Please contact the Paper Coordinator for details and eligibility.


    There is one required text for this paper, which may be purchased from the University Book Shop:

    Drewery, W. & Claiborne, L. (2014) Human development: Family, place, culture (2nd edition). North Ryde, Australia: McGraw-Hill.

    Additional readings and resources, such as articles, book chapters, and web links will be available via eReserve and/or library reserve.

    Course outline


    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

    1. Critically examine the major ideas of influential theorists in human development
    2. Critically examine childhood and adolescence as discrete but also diverse stages of the human lifespan
    3. Recognise and develop an understanding of the importance of Māori and Pasifika concepts of Human Development in Aotearoa New Zealand
    4. Critically examine the implications of developmental theory and the likely impact of contextual factors (such as family, culture and media) on human development
    5. Critically examine how theories of human development may influence your understanding of yourself and your possible professional practice with children and young people (including, but not limited to, the teaching profession)

    In addition to these key objectives, the paper will also assist in the development of important academic skills, particularly in relation to academic writing conventions (e.g., clarity, grammar, punctuation, referencing, etc.) and collaboration with peers.


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    A2 Wednesday 12:00-13:50 9-13, 15-22
    A3 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
    A4 Thursday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    A5 Thursday 13:00-14:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    A6 Thursday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    A7 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22
    A8 Friday 13:00-14:50 9-12, 15-22

    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 9-11, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 16:00-17:50 17
    Thursday 13:00-14:50 9-11, 15-16, 18-22
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