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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Peter H. Kahn
PSYCH 456
Seattle Campus

Social and Moral Development

Theoretical approaches toward explaining children's social and moral development, including those that are nativistic, sociobiological, behavioristic, psychoanalytic, and constructivist. Use of theory to investigate applied problems related to parenting, education, peer relationships, authority, sexuality, culture, ecology, and technology. Prerequisite: either PSYCH 206 or PSYCH 306.

Class description

Student learning goals

1. To recognize and differentiate between major theories in social and moral development based on whether the core explanatory processes are endogenous (e.g., sociobiological), exogenous (e.g., behaviorist), or interactional (e.g., psychoanalytic or constructivist). Assessed by quizzes, classroom discussions, and papers.

2. To use developmental theories to analyze and provide potential solutions to applied problems related to parenting, education, peer relationships, authoritarian relationships, sexuality, culture, ecology, and technology. Assessed by classroom discussions and papers.

3. To formulate tight and accurate oral and written arguments based on a close textual reading of academic articles. Assessed by classroom discussions and papers.

4. To analyze data and arguments that speak to aspects of social and moral development that are potentially (a) universal, or (b) relative to culture, ethnicity, gender, and other boundaries. Assessed by quizzes, classroom discussions, and papers.

5. To listen to the viewpoints of individuals who disagree with your own perspective in a respectful and considered fashion, and then to be able (a) to modify your views when you hear evidence and argument that seem credible, and (b) to defend your (now possibly modified) position in a respectful and scholarly and at times passionate manner. Assessed mostly by classroom discussions, but can take place at times in papers.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

15% Class participation: includes discussions, in-class writing, class activities, and occasional presentations. Class attendance is encouraged.

25% Quizzes. Weíll have quizzes at the start of class on those days when papers arenít due. The quizzes will be short, and tied closely to the reading. No make-up quizzes will be given. At the end of the quarter, I will disregard each studentís lowest quiz grade.

60% Six papers. See the attached guidelines for more information about writing these papers. Late papers will not be accepted. Exceptions require a documented compelling circumstance, such as a serious illness or a death in the family. A short-term illness (e.g., a few days before the due date for the paper) does not count as a compelling circumstance. Nor does a computer malfunction. Please plan accordingly.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Peter H. Kahn
Date: 09/21/2007