Skip to main contentSkip Navigation or Skip to Content
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

SOCW 3551: Human Development in the Social Environment

Students are introduced to the aspects and models of how human behaviour is acquired, maintained and modified in a social environment. A perspective of bio-psycho-social- spiritual human development is used as a knowledge basefor practice with individuals, families and groups. Human development and behaviour is examined through the lens of various theoretical perspectives including Indigenous, feminist and anti-oppressive approaches to practice.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the major theories of human growth and development, focusing in particular on the impacts of social environment on development;
  • Apply and critique the major theories of human growth and development, emphasizing the concept of ongoing development throughout the life span;
  • Compare and contrast major theories on growth and development using Aboriginal, feminist and anti-oppressive critiques;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the range of normative human development that will serve as a knowledge base for social work practice with individuals, families and groups;
  • Outline how developmental stages may be impacted by the intersectionality of gender, sexual identity, culture, race, class, disability etc.;
  • Explore the influence of students' own gender, sexual identity, culture, race, class, language and developmental stage on their social work practice.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Introduction to the Field of Human Development
  • Unit 2: Theoretical Frameworks and Research Methods
  • Unit 3: The Start of Life
  • Unit 4: Infancy
  • Unit 5: The Preschool Years
  • Unit 6: Middle Childhood
  • Unit 7: Adolescence
  • Unit 8: Early Adulthood
  • Unit 9: Middle Adulthood
  • Unit 10: Late Adulthood
  • Unit 11: Death and Dying

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Anderson, K. (2011). Life stages and Native women: Memory, teachings and story medicine. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9780887557262

Students require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at:

  1. Feldman, R. S. (2021). Revel for Discovering the lifespan (5th ed.). Pearson. REVEL Access.
    Type: E-Textbook. ISBN: 9780135685372

Optional materials:

  1. Wagamese, R. (2012). Indian Horse. Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
    Type: Novel. ISBN: 9781553654025


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Short Answers A 15%
Assignment 2: Reflection on Childhood Development 15%
Assignment 3: Short Answers B 15%
Assignment 4: Reflection on Social Issues and Development 15%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

Search To Top