What you will study
This module will be attractive to anyone with an interest in (and concern for) children’s development, including those who work with children and who want to learn more about contemporary theories and research in this area.
By the end of the module you will be:
able to describe the main theoretical approaches in current developmental psychology
able to apply the theories, concepts and methods presented in the module to developmental questions or problems of your own choosing
capable of understanding and evaluating the research literature of developmental psychology
familiar with some aspects of the professional application of developmental psychology and its place in our society, so that you can appraise its various roles and functions
aware of the research methods used to study child development and able to understand them.
The module is based around four books that are outlined below. Each book and its associated materials occupies about a quarter of the study year. The first three parts of the module explore theory and research in different areas of children’s development. The final part of the module considers some of the practical applications of this knowledge to children’s lives, with particular attention to the work of clinical and educational psychologists.
Psychological Development and Early Childhood looks at the development of very young children, dealing with topics such as the development of perception, knowledge and relationships. The way in which biological, social and cultural influences interact in a child’s development is a central theme, examined from different points of view in modern psychological research and theory. This book introduces the main theoretical approaches to child development that are explored further throughout the module.
Children’s Personal and Social Development considers some of the formative elements in children’s lives in their families and communities, and the influence that these have on the module of development. The topics include children’s early attachments, the development of the self, and the origins of disturbing behaviour. The book explores the interlinking themes of identity and relationships and describes how psychologists have investigated them.
Cognitive and Language Development in Children examines the two interlinked themes: how children learn language, and how knowledge and thinking develop. The development of thinking, talking and scientific reasoning are among the topics in the treatment of these themes. The book covers a variety of contemporary ideas and research in these areas, examining as well the part played by the child’s social and cultural world. The book extends the module's coverage of developmental theory by examining in more detail theories of cognition.
Developmental Psychology in Action takes the module's approach to developmental psychology beyond a conventional presentation of research and theory by looking at the many ways in which psychologists and their work actually affect the development of children. The book covers several areas where the psychologist’s role is to intervene, directly or indirectly, in children’s development; for example, with children who have challenging behaviours, or when a psychotherapeutic approach is taken. The use of psychological theory and techniques in teaching, the legal system, institutional settings and clinical topics are also critically examined. You are required to study just one of these topics in detail, supplementing your knowledge through guided independent literature search.