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EDUC102 Human Development

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.

Paper title Human Development
Paper code EDUC102
Subject Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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EDUT 132, EDTX 132
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; and
  • Demonstrating depth of understanding of the course material via two written assignments and a final exam.

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 DVDs, will be available via eReserve and/or library reserve.

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

By the end of the paper, students will be able to critically examine:

  1. The major ideas of influential theorists in human development;
  2. The similarities and differences between theoretical positions in human development;
  3. Key early stages of the human lifespan (early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence);
  4. The implications of developmental theory and the likely impact of contextual factors (such as family and culture) on human development; and
  5. How theories of human development influence 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.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 9-12, 20-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 20-22
A2 Wednesday 12:00-13:50 9-12, 20-22
A3 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-12, 20-22
A4 Thursday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 20-22
A5 Thursday 13:00-14:50 9-12, 20-22
A6 Thursday 15:00-16:50 9-12, 20-22
A7 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 20-22
A8 Friday 13:00-14:50 9-12, 20-22

First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 9-12, 20-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 11:00-12:50 9-11, 20-22