SW305 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

for FA 2004

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Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

Fall 2004

Faculty: Dr. Janet Williams

Office: MA225

Office Hours: _by appointment

Office Telephone (816) 584-6503

Faculty E-Mail:  janet.williams@park.edu

 Alternate e-mail: janetw@communityworksinc.com

Dates of Semester: August 23-December 19, 2004

Class days and times: T-R 8:45-10:00 am

Prerequisite: SW205, Conditional or Full Admission to Social Work Major

Credit Hours: 3


University Mission Statement

The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement

Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


Course Description: This course examines the interplay of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors which influence human behavior and human development through the life cycle.  This course, which is the first in a sequence of two courses, focuses on the period of infancy to young adulthood.  Attention is given to the impact of social and economic deprivation on human development.


Instructor’s Educational Philosophy:  Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world’s most vulnerable populations.  The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that students and new graduates, regardless of their professional identity, be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them.  This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives.  Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study.




SW305 Course Objectives:  It is expected that students who successfully complete this course will be able to:


  1. Discuss interactions among the biological, social, psychological, and culturally diverse systems from conception through mid-adult life.
  2. Compare and contrast theories of human development and behavior from conception through mid-adult life.
  3. Recognize and interpret contributions of research to the current and evolving knowledge of human behavior in the social environment.
  4. Describe the dynamics of oppression, discrimination and social economic injustice on and transmitted through organizations, communities, social institutions, society and the world at large.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of personal, professional values and ethics on professional practice and the potential of value conflicts.


Course Textbook:

 Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment 6th Edition.

Zastrow, C.H. & Kirst-Ashman, K.K.  Brooks/Cole (2004) ISBN 0-534-60831-0

Note: A copy of this text is available on reserve in the McAfee Library.


Academic Honesty:  “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”


Plagiarism: “…the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”


Attendance Policy:  “Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/ term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “WH.”  A Contract for Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.”  Regular classroom attendance is both expected and essential for the attainment of course objectives. Material not found in the text will be presented and discussed in class.  Absences detract from your learning as well as that of others.


Late Submission of Coursework:   Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically.  The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions.  In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted.  Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day.  If you have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner.  Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.


Make up exams:  Exams are given only on the date specified. Make-up exams will only be scheduled at the instructor’s prerogative under extreme circumstances. Students or an agent of the student must notify the instructor prior to the exam and must be prepared to submit documentation of the circumstances.


Course Assessment:   Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class.

The assignments of this course are designed to develop specific competencies.  They are Participation and Attendance, Ecomap, Family Resilience Paper, Observation Paper, Group Presentation, Web Assignment, Personal Learning Plan, and three exams. Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


  • Exams: There will be three exams in this class.  A study guide will be provided by the instructor. (CO 1-6).


  • Ecomap:  After viewing the video, Sordid Lives, prepare an ecomap of one of the main characters.  The ecomap needs to provide as much information as possible without being too difficult to understand.  The assignment requires an ecomap        diagram accompanied by a typewritten explanation of the diagram. (CO 1, 2, 4, 5)


  • Family Resilience Paper:  This paper will be based upon your viewing of one video from a list that will be distributed in class.  Conduct an assessment of the family in the video of your choice by following the outline of key processes for family resilience.  Your assessment will end with a summary focusing on the advantages of the family resilience abilities.  Each of the following should be addressed: What strengths are evident in the family that was forged under stress?  What was the context of the adversity?  Discuss how this family demonstrated resiliency in recovery from crisis, trauma, and/or loss; in weathering illness or other adversity; and in overcoming barriers of discrimination. What opportunities, which emerged out of crisis, did this family seize for transformation and growth? 10-12 pages (CO 1, 2, 4, 5)


  • Observation Paper:  Choose a segment of the life span from pregnancy to adolescence that interests you: pregnancy, infancy, toddler years, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood.  Create an opportunity for yourself and interact with a group of people who are in the age phase you selected.  Arrange to spend one hour with and observe this group doing participation observation.  After your observation hour, write a paper describing the group you observed and interacted with in terms of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, and gender.  Describe your experience being with this group and one new thing you learned from this experience.  Describe your impression of this age group in terms of what they do and say and how they express themselves in a 5-7 page paper.  (CO 1-5)


  • Group Presentation:  Students will be assigned to groups.  Different chapters from the required textbook for this class will be assigned to each group.  Each group will be responsible for one of the chapters.  One student in the group will take the lead in pulling together the information in the chapter and start a full class group discussion.  This is not necessarily a summary.  Instead it should highlight major concepts or issues presented in the chapter that are of particular importance.  You will bring to class a typed, one side of one page maximum for a guiding outline.  Make a copy for the instructor and for each classmate.  Each group will have thirty minutes to present the chapter they are assigned.   (CO 1)


  • Web Research Paper:  Go to web site; www.surfaquarium.com/MIinvent.htm  and find the Multiple Intelligence Survey by Walter McKenzie.  Instructions for scoring the survey are provided online, but you will have to calculate the score yourself.  When you have finished, reflect upon the findings where you show strength as well as those that appear less well developed. Prepare a three page essay in which you discuss how your multiple intelligences profile might influence your approach to learning.  In particular, discuss how you might maximize your intelligence to enhance your potential as a student and generalist social worker.  Save this paper for your Social Work Portfolio.  (CO 3, 5)


  • Personal Learning Plan: Portfolio Assignment: Using 5.1 through 5.8 from Chapter Five of The Social Work Portfolio Workbook, write your response.  This exercise is learning to prepare a personal learning plan of your own.  (CO 3, 5)


Classroom Rules of Conduct: In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:


  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.
  4. Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.
  5. If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.


Disability Guidelines:  "Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance.  These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal.  It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply.  Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: www.park.edu/disability."


SW 305 Course Schedule:


Week 1            Introduction

                        Review of Syllabus

                        Get acquainted


Week 2            Ch1 Theoretical Perspectives on Human Behavior in the Social Environment.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included: purpose of social                                       work, understanding key concepts in systems theories, the ecological                                         perspective, people's involvement with multiple systems such as micro,                                       mezzo, and macro, the social environment, interactions among the micro,                         mezzo, and macro systems, the systems impact model including the clients                                  system, the relationship between organizational and community systems,                         institutional values, what is an organization, what are the social worker's                         roles such as enabler, mediator, integrator, coordinator, manager, educator,                         analyst, evaluator, broker, facilitator, imitator, negotiator, and advocate.


Week 3            Part: Infancy and Childhood
                        2. Biological Systems and Their Impacts on Infancy and Childhood.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included: The dynamics of                                        human reproduction including conception, diagnosis of pregnancy, fetal                         development during pregnancy, prenatal influences, prenatal assessment,                         access to prenatal care, obstacles in the macro environment, problem                                        pregnancies, the birth process, early functioning of the neonate with                                           developmental milestones such as growth as a continuous orderly process,                        specific characteristics of different age levels, individual differences, the                        nature-nurture   controversy, relevance to social work, profiles of normal                        development, significant issues and life events, the abortion controversy,                        the infertility issues, the social work roles surrounding infertility issues.


                        Ecomap due    

Week 4            Ch3. Psychological Systems and Their Impacts on Infancy and Childhood.


                        In this class discussion the following will be include: Definitions of                                                  common defense mechanisms, explanation of psychodynamic theory, uses                                 of critical thinking, neo-Freudian psychoanalytic development, behaviorist                                  theories, ideas from Carl Rogers, Feminist theories, being sensitive to                                         diversity when examining psychological theories, ideas from Piaget,                                            emotional development, self-c0oncept, and self-esteem, significant                                             issues and life events, and intelligence and intelligence testing.

Week 5            Ch4. Social Systems and Their Impacts on Infancy and Childhood.


                        In this class the discussion will include the following: What is                                                      socialization, the family, membership of family group, positive family                                           functioning, effects of social forces and policies on family systems, the                                        dynamics of family, the family life cycle, the learning theory, evaluation                                        of theory, respondent to conditioning, modeling, operant conditioning,                                        the ABC's of behavior, reinforcement, punishment, and extinction.


                        Observation Paper Due

Week 6            Ch4. Social Systems and Their Impacts on Infancy and Childhood                                             continued


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  applications of                                          learning theory, use of positive reinforcement, types of positive reinforces,                                  secondary reinforcers, reinforces versus rewards, suggestions for using                                      positive reinforcing, use of punishment, additional issues such as                                                    accidental training, meads ruing improvement, time-out, grounding,                                             impacts of common life events on children, the social environment                                                  including peers, television and school, child abuse and neglect, and                                             suggestions for talking to children victimized by sexual assault.


                        Group Presentation



Week 7            Ch5. Ethnocentrism and Racism.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Ethnic groups,                                          ethnocentrism, race, racism, violence against minorities in the Untied                                          States, aspects of social and economic forces like prejudice,                                                      discrimination, oppression, racial and ethnic stereotypes, white privilege,                                        race as a social concept, institutional values and racism, discrimination in                                       systems, sources of prejudice and discrimination like projections,                                                  frustration-aggression, countering insecurity and inferiority,                                                         authoritarianism, history, competition and exploitation, socialization                                            patterns.


                        Family Resilience Paper Due

                        Exam 1


Week 8            Ch5. Ethnocentrism and Racism.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Belief in the one                                        true religion, evaluation of discrimination theories, history and culture of                                      African Americans, strategies to promote social and economic justice,                                       striving to change institutional values, greater interaction between                                                    minority and majority groups, civil rights laws, activism, Rosa Parks                                           Act of courage, school busing, affirmative action, confronting racist                                            remarks and actions, minority-owned businesses, confronting community                                       problems, grass-roots organizations, techniques for intervention, social                                       work roles to counter discrimination, and a dream of the end of racism.


                        Guest Speaker



                        Ch6. Biological Systems and Their Impacts on Adolescence and Young                                    Adulthood.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Adolescence,                                           puberty, the growth spurt, the secular trend, primary and secondary sex                                        characteristics, body image, self-concept, weight, women, and eating                                         disorders, critical thinking about weight and body image, early and later                         maturation in boys and girls, young adulthood physical development,                                          health status, breast cancer, life style, good health, sexual activity in                                            adolescence, masturbation, unplanned pregnancy, teenage fathers, why do                         teens get pregnant, sex education, empowerment through sex education for                                Native Americans, sex education in the age of AIDS, sexually transmitted                                      infections, and major methods of contraception.


                        Group Presentation


Week 10          Ch7. Psychological Systems and Their Impacts on Adolescence and                                          Young Adulthood.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Eriksson's eight                                        stages of development, implications of identity formation in adolescence,                                       how to determine who you are, Marcia's categories of identity, race,                                          culture, ethnicity, and identity development,       lesbian and gay adolescence,                         moral development Kohlberg's six stages of moral development, Gilligan's                                  approach to moral development and women, and application of this                                           theory, Fowler's theory on faith development, spirituality and social work                         practice.          


Week 11          Ch8. Social Systems and Their Impacts on Adolescence and Young                                          Adulthood.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Movement from                                       dependence to independence, interaction in peer group systems, intimacy                         versus isolations, empowerment of homeless youth theories about why                                       people choose each other as mates, predicative factors leading to marital                                       happiness or unhappiness, romantic love versus rational love, guidelines                                        for building and maintaining a happy marriage, cohabitation, single life,                                        parenthood, parental gender preferences, childless couples, social                                                  problems like eating disorders, major mental disorders, format for rational                                  self-analysis, a rational self-analysis of emotions associated with ending a                         marriage, crime and delinquency, delinquent gangs, self-talk explanation                         for multiple forgeries, empowerment through social work with groups                                         such as the study of groups, models of group development over time, task                         and maintenance roles, and leadership theories.


                        Group Presentation


Week 12          Ch9. Gender Roles and Sexism.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Gender role                                              stereotypes, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, male and female                                                  differences, ability level, communication styles, people as individuals,                                          comparable worth and economic equality, sexual harassment with                                                  definition of harassment, strengthening the definition, Anita Hill, the                                             extent of sexual harassment, effects of sexual harassment, sexist language,                                  rape and sexual assault, confronting sexual harassment, and using                                                  nonsexist language.


                        Web Research Paper Due



Week 13          Ch9. Gender Roles and Sexism.


                        In this class discussion the following will be included:  Incidence of rape,                                    common myths of rape, additional facts about rape, suggestions for rape                                    prevention, profile of a rapist, survivors' reactions about rape, suggestions                                  for counseling rape survivors, battered women, the abusive perpetrator, the                               battering cycle, O. J. Simpson—a revered American Hero and a spouse                         batterer, critical thinking regarding why does she stay, community                                                  responses to battered women, special counseling needs of battered women,                               working with women, strategies for combating sexism and achieving                                           sexual equality.



Week 14          Video   TBA


                        Personal Learning Plan Due


Week 15          Video—The Abused Woman A Survivor Therapy Approach Lenore                                        Walker, Ed.D. A.B.P.P.  Dr. Lenore Walker has worked with physically,                                      psychologically, and sexually abused women for more than 20 years and                                        has developed an approach to their treatment called Survivor Therapy.                                      This video is an excellent teaching tool for helping social work students




Week 16          Final Exam



Grading:    Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner.  You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered.  While you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.


Participation & Attendance: 10%; Ecomap: 10%, Resilience Paper: 10%, Observation Paper: 10%, Group Presentation: 10%, Web Assignment: 10%;   Personal Learning Plan: 10%; Three exams: 10% each for 30%.


Scoring:       A= 90-100    B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0