module specification

SW4002 - Human Growth and Development: A Life Course Perspective (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Human Growth and Development: A Life Course Perspective
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
165 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
135 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Morning
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module explores and examines psychological and sociological theories of growth and development through the life course. It is intended to prepare students for effective social work with children and adult service user groups. Service users and carers contribute to this module. The module contains a number of skills development days.

Module aims

This module aims to prepare students for effective social work through the following:

  • Identification of sociological and psychological theories of child development and evaluation of their application through observational skills and self-reflection. 
  • Development of a comprehensive understanding of ‘normal’ child developmental milestones within the parameters of diverse cultures and contexts.
  • Gaining competence in explaining and analysing the specific and day to day difficulties and disadvantages faced by different adult service user groups including people who need the help and support of social care services because of ill-health, impairmant/disability. 
  • Assessing the value to the individual of differing types of support within the context of anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory theory and practice.


The life-course perspective: including life events and diverse contexts, transitions and coping; psychological and sociological theories and perspectives on life-course development; anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive;  Service user and carer perspectives, development of empathy

Child development
The relevant developmental milestones and factors that promote sound physical, social, emotional, sexual and intellectual development in children.
Study of relationships between children and their families and friends in a range of social contexts through observation and a consideration of their inner and external worlds.
Attachment, loss and change: the short and long term effects of trauma, ill-treatment, separation and substitute care.
Developing observational skills, evaluating sound development and need, reflecting on evidence, integrating theory and practice.

Adult service user groups 
Models of understanding disability and impairment, including
Mental illness/diagnosis, understanding key features associated with particular diagnoses (e.g. depression and schizophrenia); prevalence and distribution, treatment, support needs; effects on lifestyle and opportunity.
Learning disability and common types and causes; prevalence and distribution; effects on lifestyle and opportunity
Long-term and terminal illness: issues for the individual and their families; coping with loss and bereavement.
Substance misuse
Physical impairment and disability: prevalence and range of associated difficulties; support needs;
Myths and reality of ‘normal’ ageing; prevalence and types of ill health associated with old age; caring roles and experiences.

Learning and teaching

Lectures and smaller group seminar learning; case-study analysis and interactive workshops with service users: collaborative problem-based learning; personal reflection and reflective writing, observation and video materials, use of Weblearn and other online educational content
The lecture and workshop/seminar programme is designed to enable students to examine key issues with regard to health and social care in order to make links between theory, health and social care policy and practice and appreciate service user perspectives and develop empathy.  Some lectures are shared with postgraduate students.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

(LO1) Engage in an analysis of the relevant sociological and psychological theories which attempt to explain human growth and development across the life course, including those from different cultures and with diverse needs.

(LO2) Explain the contested nature of developmental theories through direct observation of a child.

(LO3) Explain ‘normal’ development in childhood and provide explanations of the potential adverse effects on development of experiences such as change, loss, abuse and disruption.

(L04) Understand how people’s identities are informed by their life experiences including impairment/ disability, discrimination and loss and reflect on the types of support they find most valuable

(LO5) Identify and evaluate specific day to day difficulties of, and disadvantages faced by people with learning disabilities, experience and diagnoses of mental illness, long-term physical impairment, bereavement and loss and substance misuse in a context of human diversity and experience.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to integrate theory and practice through a portfolio consisting of 2 elements.

i) A Child Observation Essay (50%) (2,000 words): Students will undertake a child observation and write this up as a vehicle to apply theory and research as well as develop observational skills, addressing learning outcomes 1,2,3.

ii) An Adult Case Study (50%) (2,000 words): Students will be required to analyse discuss an adult case study demonstratng their understanding of diversity and how identity is shaped by experiences drawing on theory and research, addressing learning outcomes 1,4 5.


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