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Module Synopsis
Many human service positions, including those in community, political, and clinical and health organizations, require direct interactions with families. The goal of this course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the literature on family studies and to link such knowledge to issues that practitioners face when dealing with different types of families in the local setting. Using both social ecological and family systems perspectives as an overarching framework, the course understands different family subsystems (e.g., marital, parent-child, sibling) as important contexts in which children learn new skills and develop competencies. The emphasis is on how these subsystems operate in reciprocal and interrelated ways and how they afford opportunities for and place constraints on human development. In addition, the course explores practical applications of research to the real world and discusses how different macro factors may affect the functioning of families with different sociocultural backgrounds (e.g., low-income, immigrant, ethnic minority). Teaching methods emphasize but are not limited to class participation and sharing, case studies, academic and popular readings, and guest lectures.