Development and Learning

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

literacy education
Sherry Walton
literacy acquisition, theories of learning and brain development, research and assessment

This two-quarter program is designed for those interested in exploring the many factors that affect how people become who they are. We look forward to meeting and working with students who wish to understand more about development and learning, including those who are curious about child development as well as those who wish to pursue a career in teaching, social work, or counseling. Participants will explore brain, social, cognitive, linguistic, and literacy development in children from birth to 14 years of age. They will examine the implications of brain neuroplasticity for individuals abilities to influence their learning, emotional well-being, and interactions with others and will explore the similarities and differences between neurotypical and neurodiverse development. Neurotypical individuals are those whose development falls within current norms specified by society, psychologists, and medical doctors; neurodiverse individuals are those whose development does not conform to stated norms but who exhibit their own unique strengths, gifts, and challenges. 

Fall quarter guiding questions include: (i) What factors shape human development? (ii) How do the interactions of genes, behavior, cognition, and environment influence development (iii) How might individuals and groups use knowledge of how the brain develops and functions to improve their own lives and the lives of others? (iv) How are neurotypical and neuro-diverse individuals alike and different? What are the implications of those differences and similarities for individuals and society?

Winter quarter guiding questions include: (i) How does oral language develop and affect the learning process? (ii) How is oral language acquisition related to literacy (print) acquisition and, (iii) How do we evaluate reading and writing development in children?

To successfully participate in the fall quarter of this program students should have access to a quiet space and time to participate in program activities; access to required texts either as e-books, physical books, or audible books; and a computer or other device that supports Canvas and Zoom, that can access internet research resources, and that provides daily internet access to CANVAS and Zoom. They will also need a presentation application that allows for multiple users (such as Google Slides or Prezi), and blank paper, colored pencils, markers, or crayons.

Our work will be conducted remotely, using Canvas and Zoom. Students can expect the program to be a 50/50 blend of asynchronous work (self-paced) such as reading, locating relevant research articles, and writing and synchronous (scheduled) work involving faculty and student presentations and remote discussion groups. They will need to be able to use Canvas, Zoom, and other internet sites as well as read required texts and other assigned readings. The faculty will offer alternative assignments if conditions or illness prevent students from accessing our synchronous meetings,  allowing for students to earn comparable credit.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

education, early childhood education, psychology, social services


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Winter: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 4, 2021 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 A3105 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia