Developmental Psychology III: Adults and Elders (PS377) concentrates on both stability and change during the period from midlife to old age (roughly 45-50 to late life). The CSL placement allows students the opportunity to directly apply the theories learned in class to real world scenarios.
Topics covered in the course include the biological, health, cognitive, social-emotional, and family and interpersonal aspects of seniors’ lives. “Typical" patterns of development and change are explored, as well as exceptional patterns and psychological disorders and problems. There is also a focus on how mature individuals tell stories of their personal lives during this period of the life course.
The CSL placement component involves working with mature adults for a minimum of two hours per week for 10 weeks. Students complete their placements in a variety of seniors-based centres – from retirement homes to long care facilities, to programs and activities run in the broader KW community. Previous students have been involved with physical fitness activities, games, cards and crafts, mealtime assistance, and friendly visiting. As well, students have been of service in community settings where they are able to work alongside seniors who are active volunteers in the not-for-profit sector.
The placement provides students an opportunity to interact with mature adults, and to understand the course material in a meaningful way.
Students do their major paper at the end of the term integrating their observations at their placements with class material and current research. They are involved in in-class, small-group discussion exercises 6 times throughout the course which often include reflections on their placement experiences and their personal meaning, as well as some basic integration of their experiences with course material.
In PS377, CSL is used as a form of experiential education that provides students with the opportunity to serve in the community in ways that meet real community needs, while at the same time enhancing their own learning by providing practical applications of theories and concepts they are studying in class.
The CSL placement gave me a chance to experience situations and develop relationships that I would not have had the opportunity to develop had I not participated in the placement. I learned how to understand and establish relationships with those less fortunate and in a completely different age group, which I know will assist me later in life. Also, I have furthered my time management, patience and responsibility via my CSL placement. Overall, I think the CSL placements are a wonderful way of taking the course material and the individual to a new level. - Jeet Ghoshal, Student