PSYCH 769 : Special Topic: Developmental Psychology: A Critical Lens


2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

No prescription

Course Overview

In this course, a critical lens will be applied to developmental psychology, including theory, practises, policies, and current issues. Consideration will be given to a range of global and local factors that influence human development, learning, psychological health and wellbeing, within a range of contexts, cultures and populations. The emphasis will be on understanding and critically evaluating different approaches to developmental psychology within current contexts, including their impact on research, practice and communities.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and provide examples of how people’s own stories and narratives about developmental issues are shaped by their context, including culture, media and policy. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Explain what is meant by social justice research and what it can add to current research methodologies and approaches. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  3. Develop and demonstrate the ability to critically analyse different views /interpretations/images of human development over time and their potential implications for policy and practice. (Capability 1, 2, 5 and 6)
  4. Explain and provide examples of how notions of a child and childhood have changed over time and the impact that these changes have had with respect to parental and state responsibility. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  5. Describe and critically evaluate NZ’s current report card with respect to poverty, education, health and wellbeing and what our obligations are with respect to international human rights, child rights, and the sustainable development goals. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  6. Explain and provide examples of historical discourses that have shaped developmental psychology, education, and local and global policy over time. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  7. Explain what is meant by social mobility, equality, and equity, clearly showing the role each plays in current political discourse. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  8. Critically analyse, write about and discuss a wide variety of current issues and topics in developmental psychology, and the various discourses around those (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  9. Critically analyse, critique, compare and contrast a range of constructs commonly used in developmental psychology (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  10. Present (orally) a critical analysis of one approach to a topic of interest in developmental psychology. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Participation 10% Individual Coursework
Symposium 10% Group Coursework
Opinion Piece 10% Individual Coursework
Essay 35% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 35% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Opinion Piece
Final Exam


This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

Introduction to Socially Just research.
Thinking Critically about Current Issues in Developmental Psychology .
Deconstructing Developmental Psychology and Normative Development.
History of Childhood - what is a child and is childhood in a crisis?
Deconstructing the education system and social mobility.
Global policies and the local context: Human Rights, Child Rights, SDG and NZ report card.

Special Requirements

No special requirements

Workload Expectations

This course is a 15 point course 700-level course.  Students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures per week.  This means that students are expected to spend 8 hours per week (spread throughout the semester) reading and thinking about the content, and working on assignments and/or exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at lectures including the symposium, which will occur during class time. 

The 2 hour classes are designed to be highly participatory, and therefore the course is not suitable for online delivery to offshore students.  In exceptional circumstances, where teaching moves online due to, for example,  COVID alert levels,  attendance is expected for online lectures and the symposium.  

Lectures will also be made available as recordings for review and study purposes. 
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Reading lists are posted on Canvas for each week.  There are required readings, and optional readings.  The reading list includes book chapters, papers, news items and audio-visual material.  Other resources will be added during some weeks.  All students will be notified of additional resources via Canvas announcements.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 28/10/2021 06:40 p.m.