HDFS 101 is designed as an exploration of the development, diversity, and commonalities of humans across the lifespan. The course will examine human development from physical, cognitive, social and emotional viewpoints. The major theories of development will be presented and compared. We will analyze the ways that our families influence us and how we, in turn, influence them. We will examine research findings related to the effects of culture and ethnicity on child development, adult development, and aging. Most exciting is that we will take advantage of our opportunities on Semester at Sea to observe and discuss different cultural determinants of development throughout the world. Rituals of birth, becoming an adult, marriage and death will be considered relative to each country we will visit.
Field WorkCountry: China
Date: November 29, 2017
China is a rapidly changing society with decreased birth rates and a rapidly growing population of elderly people. It is also very much experiencing the aftereffects of the one child policy which has strongly limited the number of available women and hence the creation of new families. In China the ethic of filial piety postulates that a son or daughter must repay their aging parents for birthing and raising them by means of caring for the parents in their old age. However, with much of Chinese youth moving to the major cities for work, many old people are left on their own, both in urban and rural areas. Filial care is, of necessity, giving way to institutional care, and the Chinese government is calling on private corporations to create the institutions. As we approach the stage of late adulthood in our course, the Field Class will examine the current situation of the elderly in China using street observation and a lecture by Dr. Lin Chen, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Fudan University. We will visit a bird park where the elderly recreate, shop for food at a Shanghai market and share lunch and conversation with a Chinese host family.
1. Understand filial piety and the traditional family care of elderly in China.
2. Understand social factors that are leading to institutional care for elderly in China.
3. Consider the role of social workers in planning for and supporting non-familial eldercare.
4. Assess the ratio of elderly people on the streets of Shanghai relative to numbers of working age adults.