Instructor: Chuck Kalish Office: 1067 Edsciences Ph: 262-0840 email@example.com
This course will explore children's developing understanding of the social world. There are many aspects to thinking about social content, we'll focus on three main topics: explaining people's behavior, understanding social institutions, and conceptions of human groups and types. These topics will be discussed within the overall framework of children's developing theories of mind. We will consider the origins of social cognition in infancy and explore how this cognition changes into adulthood. Within this developmental approach, we will focus on the preschool years as the time when most of the crucial elements of social cognition appear.
Seminar Papers: Each student will be responsible for writing a seminar paper once during the semester. There will be 1-2 papers for each class period and students will sign-up for particular topics. The seminar paper is a short (about 2 pages single-spaced) analysis of one of the papers we will be discussing in class. The seminar paper is an analysis of the argument in the target reading. What is the author claiming? Why does s/he think this is an important claim? Finally, and not most importantly, did s/he make the case? The second point: Why should we care? is the most important focus of the seminar paper. This paper will form part of the basis for our in-class discussion of the question and will be distributed to all the participants. Since the seminar paper is part of the required reading for the class period it must be available no later than 7:00 pm of the Wednesday before class. The paper will be distributed using the Discussion section of the Learn@UW. Authors will make brief presentations of their papers to the class.
Weekly Questions: Participants who are not presenting a project or seminar paper will contribute a question/comment each week; Although the content of the question is up to you, I would prefer a question or comment on the significance of the readings or topic. Like the seminar paper, some question or suggestion about the implication of what we are reading would be best. The purpose is to ensure that everyone does the reading and to provide me with some feedback. These questions should be posted to the weekly Discussion topic on Learn@UW.
3-Credit Presentation: Students taking the class for three credits will have the additional responsibility of an in-class presentation. Students should work individually or in groups of 2-3. This assignment involves making a presentation on a topic related to the class. I have a list of topics. If you would like to choose something else, you must check with me. You will assign a short reading, and distribute a seminar paper outlining the issues involved.. These presentations will be scheduled for the final classes of the semester. Plan on about 10-15 minutes of presentation and 20-30 minutes of discussion.
Final paper: (due the Weds. after the last day of class). This paper should take the form of a brief discussion relating some aspect of the class (broadly defined) to your own research interests/program of study (also broadly defined). In this paper I am looking for evidence that you have gotten something useful out of the class. How might you approach your research differently in light of this class. Have the readings generated any new questions or answered any old ones for you? You might choose to write this paper in the form of a proposal for a research project. For 2-credit students this paper may be fairly brief (5-7 pages double-spaced). For 3-credit students I would like a more substantial paper (10-15 pages double-spaced). Ideally this final paper would include material from your presentation.
Last, but most importantly: All students are expected to be active participants in in-class discussions. Class participation is the primary requirement for the class. See me if you have any questions or concerns about your grade or your ability to participate in class discussions.
All readings are available on the learn@uw site. If you have difficulty accessing or printing, please let me know.
What is our commonsense understanding of the mind like?
What do infants know about the behavior of animate (social?) and inanimate (physical?) objects
Why are false-belief and pretense so interesting?
Why do children listen to what others tell them? Who do they believe?
What do people want?
How might theory of mind relate to stereotyping?
Is TOM all there is to understanding people?
What are the supra-personal social structures that children need to learn about?
Construction of social reality: What allows children to inhabit a world built of social conventions?
ChildrenÕs understanding of emotions
ChildrenÕs conceptions of race/ethnicity
ChildrenÕs conceptions of gender and gender roles
ChildrenÕs understanding of ownership and property
ChildrenÕs understanding of economics
Development of critical thinking and relativism
ChildrenÕs conceptions of authority