Human Behavior in the Social Environment [CRN 31343 Course] [CRN 31344 Recitation]

Discipline: Social Work
Instructor: Owens
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1230
End: 1350
Field Work: Day 2 | February 20, 2019 | Myanmar (Burma)
Prerequisites: One (1) individual and family development course AND one (1) introductory social work course; both these courses may be taken concurrently with SOWK 333. These prerequisites are waived for non-social work majors. Download Syllabus

This course will provide a foundational understanding of the biological, psychological, and social aspects of human development within a variety of social systems. We will study human development with attention to the interaction between individuals, families, communities, and the changing social environment, as it pertains to four phases of life: infancy/young childhood; adolescence; young/middle adulthood; and later adulthood. Traditional approaches to life stages will be considered. As well, we will examine the interaction between human development and diversity, human rights, social justice, privilege, and oppression. This course will look at the worldviews of diverse populations in order to better develop cultural humility, with particular attention to populations in countries on the Semester at Sea Spring 2019 itinerary.

Field Work

Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2
Date: February 20, 2019

The helping profession is a high-stress profession; helping professionals experience high levels of job burnout. Likewise, across disciplines, “burnout, stress, and depression have become worldwide epidemics” (Huffington, 2015, p. 30). In response to this ubiquitous epidemic, holistic attention to self-care, self-compassion, and wellness is growing. Prior to the field class, students will be provided information about these phenomena. Then, the field class will involve a day-long visit that contains several components related to self-care, self-compassion, and wellness. Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are effective in stress reduction. These approaches have been an integral part of East Asian and South Asian culture, but are only recently becoming part of American culture. We will take a trip to a meditation or yoga center to learn about and practice the art of meditation and/or yoga. We will also visit a local temple to learn more about the culture. In particular, we will learn about Buddhist philosophy, especially as it relates to self-compassion. We will explore holistic approaches to health, including food and tea. We will learn about the importance of different food ingredients and tea rituals in the culture. Throughout the day, students will be asked to keep a journal and write a paper detailing their experience, how it ties into topics we have discussed so far, and identifying reflective questions for further discussion.

Learning Objectives:

1. Explore issues of burnout and stress in professional practice and human well-being
2. Gain an active understanding of Eastern culture, religion, and food.
3. Develop an appreciation for meditation and yoga as possible components of self-care, self-compassion, and wellness practice for professionals.