My goals in this course are, of course, to dig deep into key theories about social and emotional development. At the same time I try to show students how these can be effectively linked to practice construed broadly. This is a course that I have really enjoyed teaching over the years. One of the challenges is that it tends to have a heterogeneous group of students from across programs in our department and beyond. In recent years it has increasingly served the needs of the MEd students in the DPE program.
As with my other courses, another important theme is fostering a deep understanding of research methods. I try to emphasize that the analytic approach used in designing and interpreting research is an important life skill that everyone should have. As I do with all of my courses, I have tried to develop assignments that serve multiple purposes. For example, in this course students are required to participate in a debate. They sign up for a topic but are randomly assigned to the side they have to argue (e.g., they might sign up for “couples should stay together for the sake of the children” but they do not get to choose whether they will argue for or against this statement). I emphasize that they need to support their arguments with theory and research.