Child Development 138 (03)
Social and Emotional Development
California State University, Sacramento
Spring, 2011


Announcements 5/16/11

Interim Grade Check




Class meetings

Required Reading




Program goals


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Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students to basic concepts related to social and emotional development from birth through adolescence. We will begin with the major theoretical frameworks and methods in social and emotional development, then progress to specific topics (e.g., attachment, moral development), and end with a discussion of familial and cultural contexts for social development. In-depth small-group discussion, field observations, student presentations, and written assignments will focus on theory, current research, current issues, as well as connections to practice. Critical thinking about psychological issues will be emphasized and class participation encouraged. The prerequisite course is CHDV 133 (Research Methods).   












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Course Objectives

    Upon completion of this course students will:

  • be able to describe, compare, and evaluate theories of social and emotional development
  • be familiar with several major topics, issues, and current research in social development
  • demonstrate skills needed to critically evaluate developmental research
  • show an understanding of different methods for the systematic study of children
  • be able to identify individual, cultural and historical differences in social development
  • demonstrate skills related to writing research reports
  • demonstrate skills related to internet access and information competency
  • show an awareness of practical applications of developmental principles  









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Class Meetings


1:30 – 2:45 a.m.  
                             Benicia Hall 1025

   LAB: M 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
                                Benicia Hall 1029







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Required Reading

  • Social and Personality Development (sixth edition), David Shaffer, 2009. Available at the Hornet Bookstore. 

  • Supplementary readings are required and are listed on the course schedule. Check with instructor for required password.

Due dates for reading assignments are listed on the course schedule. Please complete the listed reading before Tuesday's class meeting each week, unless otherwise specified. 











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Required Assignments

Click on the red links below for detailed assignment handouts.

1) Exams (150 points) - There will be three non-cumulative exams, each covering roughly one-third of the course material. These exams will cover readings, lectures, class activities, and videos and include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions. A study guide will be posted on the web page one week prior to each exam.  

2) Summary/Critique paper (25 points) - A 3-page summary and evaluation of your research discussion article is required. The paper is a summary of the introduction, method, results, and discussion sections of the article, as well as an evaluation of the study’s methodological strengths and weaknesses.

3) Research Paper (75 points) A 6-8 page focused and integrated review of recent empirical research (at least 4 articles), is required. Intermediate steps in the paper (e.g., outline and references) are due throughout the semester. 

4) Research Discussions (40 points) – Four lab sessions will be devoted to small group discussion of eight empirical articles. Each student will serve as discussion leader for one of the eight articles and as discussion participant for two additional articles. Discussion leaders will present a brief summary of the study and provide a one-page outline for student participants. Discussion participants will read the article and provide a brief summary. Leaders and Discussants must complete worksheets in preparation for research discussions.

5) Observation Assignments/Observation Reports (60 points) - The lab portion of the course requires systematic observation of children in community settings. There will be two observation assignments concerning topics associated with social and emotional development (theory of mind, moral development). Each observation assignment requires approximately 2-3 hours of observation outside of class, and a written record of the observation/interview (typically an “appendix” which students complete during their observations). Students must be present at lab sessions and bring their observation assignments in order to receive credit for their observations. A written report/reflection for each observation is due two weeks after each observation discussion. 












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Grades and Grading Policy

Grades are based on the percentage of points earned. Points are assigned in the following manner.   


 Exams (3@ 50 points)

150 points

 Summary/Critique Paper

  25 points

 Observation Assignments

  20 points

 Observation Reports

  40 points

 Research Discussions

  40 points

 Research paper

  75 points


350 points

Typically, 94% earns an 'A', 84% a 'B', and 74% a 'C'. Plus (+) and minus (-) grades will be determined by final class distribution of total points.  I reserve the right to adjust this scale as needed, based on student performance.











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Additional Policies

  • Students are expected to practice academic honesty in completing assignments and cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Academic dishonesty may result in an ‘F’ for the assignment and/or the course. 

  • You are responsible for knowing when assignments are due.  All due dates are listed on the course schedule. Late assignments will not receive full credit. 5% of the total points possible will be deducted for each day the assignment is late.  

  • Please refrain from engaging in distracting activities during class time.  This includes cell phone use, talking with classmates, tardiness/leaving early, and/or use of laptops except for the purposes of taking class notes. 

  • There will be no extra credit offered in this course. Extra credit is not necessary to earn an A in the course.  

  • Incomplete ('I') grades are not assigned UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so. An incomplete will be assigned ONLY upon consultation with instructor.

  • There are no scheduled make-up exams. If there is a scheduling problem, you must speak with me prior to the (day of the) exam. The only valid excuses for missing an exam are: (a) official University business, (b) illness, or (c) family emergency. All of these require documentation (e.g., letter from doctor) to be valid. 

Please note: I wish to include persons with disability in this course. Please let me know ( if there are any accommodations I can make in curriculum, instruction, or assessment to facilitate your full participation. I will try to maintain confidentiality on this topic.










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Child Development Program Goals

1. Students will learn research and theory to increase their knowledge of growth and development in the following areas:

  • major milestones of development from infancy to adulthood  

  • acquisition and use of language in monolingual, bidialectic and second language learners

  •  biological influences on development

  •  social influences on development

  •  individual variation

  •  major social issues confronting children and their families

2. Students will apply theory and research to describe, analyze, and reflect upon children’s and parent’s cultural practices and experiences in both formal (e.g. schools, daycare) and informal (e.g. family, social) contexts.

3. Students will employ techniques of observation and assessment using a variety of methods.  

4. Students will develop and maintain positive attitudes towards diversity (.i.e. cultural, ethnic, gender, social, disability, linguistic)

5. Students will develop discipline-based written communication skills.

6. Students will analyze and critique written materials related to child development using tools and processes widely recognized in the discipline.

7. Students will demonstrate practices and understandings of professional responsibility in  both academic and applied child development contexts.

8. Students will use technology for purposes of augmenting discipline-based knowledge and inquiry.

9. Students will participate in varied field experiences that are mediated using theory, concepts, and research that has been validated using established discipline-based tools and practices.

10. Students will participate in a learning community that facilitates collaboration with peers and faculty.



Send problems, comments or suggestions to: Updated: January, 2011

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