module specification

SW7053 - Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Critical Aspects of Human Growth and Development
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
40 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
215 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay
Running in 2021/22

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

To develop effective social work knowledge, skills and values through critical examination of and reflection on sociological and psychological theories of child development and evaluate their application through observational skills. 
To critically analyse and develop a comprehensive understanding of ‘normal’ child developmental milestones within the context of diverse cultures, contested ideas and relevant legislative and policy frameworks. 
To gain insight to the lived experience of adults who use services in order to emphasise, as well as to explain, critically analyse and evaluate, specific difficulties encountered because of ill-health, impairment, disabling contexts and the support people who use services values
Develop understanding of the significance of ethics and anti-oppressive theory and practice


The contribution of a range of psychological and sociological theories of, research into and perspectives on, development through the human life-course. LO 1-5

The relevant developmental milestones and factors that promote sound physical, social, emotional and cognitive development in children and young people.  LO 1,2,3

The significance of relationships for human development including between children and their families, carers and peers  LO 1,3,4,5

The impact on development of contexts including social, family and community structures Understanding the role of and developing skill in child observation in order to apply and critically evaluate theory and research. LO 1,2,3

The significance of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice and service user perspectives  LO 4,5

Theory, research and models of understanding disability, impairment, loss and bereavement  LO 1,3,4,5

Understanding key features associated with mental health diagnoses (e.g. depression and schizophrenia); learning disability, physical impairment including: treatment and support, disabling contexts and effects on lifestyle and opportunities; 
Myths and realities of ageing including types of ill health associated with older age; caring roles and experiences.
Substance misuse: treatment and support  LO 1-5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

A range of learning and teaching strategies are employed in this module: These include lectures and smaller group seminar activities, reading discussion groups, case-study analysis, child observation in the community and critical reflection, service user led seminars and workshops, Weblearn, video materials and online educational content.

Learning outcomes

1 Engage in a critical 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. 

2 Evaluate the contested nature of developmental theories through direct
observation of a child.

3 Articulate and explain normal development in childhood and provide explanations of the potential adverse effects on development of experiences such as change, loss, abuse and disruption.
4 Analyse how people’s identities are informed by their life experiences including impairments, disability and discrimination, and reflect on the support they find most valuable 

5 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 aimed to ensure the students have a critical understanding of development theories and how they can be applied when working with children or adults. A formative assessment involving group work that focus’s on an adult case is given. This has to be presented by week 12. It also helps the students to work collaboratively. In addition to this students’ have to conduct a six, one-hour observation of a child aged 1-5. This is then written up as a summative assignment using child development theories to discuss and support the observation. This summative assignment forms 100% of the marks.
Essay (2500) words on the direct observation of a child.


Core Texts:
Beckett, C. & Taylor,H. (2010) Human Growth and Development. London:
Fawcett, M. (2016) Learning Through Child Observation. (3rd edn.) London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

Other Texts:
Adams, R., Dominelli, P. and Payne, M. (2009) Critical Practice in Social Work. (2nd edn) Hampshire: Palgrave.
Barn, R. (Ed) (2003) Working with Black Children and Adolescence in Need. BAAF
Crawford, K. and Walker, J. (2010) Social Work and Human Development (3rd edn.) Exeter: Learning Matters/Sage.
Daniel, B, Wassell, S. and Gilligan, R. (2010) 2nd edition Child Development for Child Care and Protection Workers. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Davies, M. (ed) (2013) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work (4th edn.) Blackwell.
Davey, B. (ed) (2001) Birth to Old Age in Transition Oxford: OU Press.
Dwivedi, K. (ed) (2002) Meeting the Needs of Ethnic Minority Children - Including Refugee, Black and Mixed Parentage Children. A Handbook for Professionals. London: JKP. 
Green, L. (2010) Understanding the Life Course Cambridge: Polity Press
Hockey, J. and James, A. (2003) Social identities across the life course. Basingstoke. Palgrave
Howe, D (2011) Attachment across the life course: A brief Introduction Palgrave 
Howe, D. (2005) Child Abuse and Neglect: Attachment, Development and Intervention Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillian
Priestley, M. (2004) Disability: A Life Course Approach. Cambridge: Polity.
Robinson, L. (2007) Cross-Cultural Child Development for Social Workers: An Introduction. Hampshire Palgrave
Sheridan, M. (2001) From Birth to Five Years. London: Routledge
Sudbery, J. (2010) Human Growth and Development: An introduction for social workers. London: Routledge.