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Unit of study_

SCWK2007: Life-course Perspectives on Development

This unit of study focuses on human development, communication and understanding diversity. Students are invited to engage critically with influential 20th and 21st century paradigms which have informed understandings of human development and wellbeing. Students are introduced to the scope of social work practice, including thinking about the importance of community and social connectedness.


Academic unit Social Work
Unit code SCWK2007
Unit name Life-course Perspectives on Development
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

48 credit points including (SCLG1001 and SCLG1002) or (12cp of SCLG1U01) or (12cp of 1000 level units in Diversity Studies)
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Pam Joseph,
Lecturer(s) Pam Joseph ,
Tutor(s) Deborah Jessica Sharp ,
Karen Jordan,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Mid-semester test
20% Week 06
Due date: 03 Apr 2020 at 11:00
1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Essay Part 1
20% Week 08 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment End-of-semester test
30% Week 11
Due date: 15 May 2020 at 11:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5
Assignment Essay Part 2
30% Week 14 (STUVAC) 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
  • Essay part 1: This task involves students taking notice of messages, themes, assumptions, and understandings relating to human development within their everyday life (eg. conversations, advertisements, films, or other media). Students should pick one example to focus on in this assignment. The essay should describe the incident/example and respond to the reflective prompts provided. 
  • Essay part 2: Select one more example to focus on, describing how human development is being framed or understood, and respond to the reflective prompts provided. In addition, write a short reflection on how the knowledge that you have gained in this assignment will guide your future practice, with a focus on how it will inform your communication/approaches to working with clients across diverse social contexts. Essay 2 should demonstrate learning from feedback received for Essay 1.
  • Mid-semester test: Students will be asked to reflect upon the competing understandings of human development that they have learnt about so far in the semester. They will be asked to respond to questions relating to how different understandings of human development account for, or fail to account for, diverse experiences across the lifecourse. This test will cover material from weeks 1-5.
  • End-of-semester test: This test requires students to respond to a vignette relating to a child and a family/carer. To do well in this task, students will need to draw upon key concepts from throughout the semester, with a particular focus on content from weeks 9-10. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Lifecourse perspectives on development and critical thinking Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 02 Social contexts, social oppression, and human development Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 03 Stage theories of development: an overview and a critique Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 04 Cognitive development: contrasting paradigms Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 05 Re-thinking assumptions about human development: the examples of diverse sexualities and genders, and disability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 06 The person in environment: social justice, eco-justice, and green social work. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 08 How do different views on human development shape the work that is done with clients? The examples of psychodynamic, humanistic, and cognitive paradigms Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 09 Themes and debates in human development theory: the examples of language and attachment Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Themes and debates in human development theory: the examples of language and attachment Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Communicating across difference and diversity Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Bringing it all together: where to from here? Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: The Sydney School of Education and Social Work requires attendance of at least 90 percent of all seminars, workshops or lectures. Where a student is unable to attend at the required rate evidence of illness or misadventure may be required and the student may be required to undertake extra work. Students should discuss the circumstances of their absence(s) with the co-ordinator of the unit of study. Further details are provided in the School canvas site:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, avilable on Canvas. 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. articulate a working knowledge of major theories of human development, including their strengths and limitations
  • LO2. discuss social work concepts relevant to working with difference and diversity
  • LO3. understand key concepts relating to effective communication
  • LO4. describe a range of different approaches to communicating with clients, including the strengths and limitations of each approach
  • LO5. appreciate the scope of social work practice.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
In response to student feedback, minor adjustments have been made to the assessment tasks to increase clarity. Links between theory and practice have been highly valued by previous students, and this will continue to be a focus of this unit.

Site visit guidelines

If you are undertaking professional experience/field education placement as part of your enrolment in this unit of study, please assess your specific needs and requirements for the safe and successful completion of an external placement within a host organisation. You will be given the opportunity to disclose any health issues that have a work health and safety significance before arranging a placement so that your safety, and the safety of others, can be properly assessed. The Professional Experience Coordinator/Field Education Manager will work to ensure that the workplace assignment to you is appropriate for your needs and requirements. If you are experiencing disability, and require reasonable adjustments to be arranged, please contact Disability Services as early as possible prior to commencing the internship. Please note, in all cases, and for the purpose of organising reasonable adjustments, only the impact and not the nature, of your disability will be disclosed to the host organisation.


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