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When I first taught child development in 1975, I used a brand new textbook that provided students with an excellent overview of the field. In the 25 years since, researchers have made incredible progress in understanding children's development (and I'm proud to have been among those contributing). Unfortunately, authors have been overly enthusiastic about the emerging knowledge, and textbooks have grown ever larger as more and more complex findings are added. The book I used in 1975 described the field in a concise 471 pages in the original edition but in 652 pages in the fifth edition, which appeared in 1999. As this and other excellent texts grew, my students complained to me that, with so much information in the book, they had difficulty separating the wheat from the chaff (an appropriate metaphor since I was teaching in the Midwestern United States).
Greater length and complexity were only part of the problem. Most textbook authors avoid effective pedagogy like the plague. They (along with many instructors) seem to believe that students should learn on their own, without needing instructional aids. As a consequence, although child development texts still present a valuable overview of the field, they are not effective tools for student learning.
A few years ago, I decided that a new book was needed--one that would meet instructors' needs for a solid overview of the field and one that would emphasize effective pedagogy designed to enhance students' learning. Children is my effort to meet these goals. This book is traditional in its organization: I begin with theories and methods, move to biological bases of child development, then cover four major phases in children's lives--starting with infancy and ending with adolescence. Where this book begins to differ from the competition is length: it has about 20 percent fewer pages than most competing texts. To make the truly important child development work stand out for students, I have deliberately omitted some topics and described others relatively briefly.
But the focus on a student-friendly book is really evident in the way I've structured the entire book to help students learn about child development. One key aspect of the book is an emphasis on fundamental themes in child-development research. In Chapter 1, I describe four critical themes that pervade child-development research:
Then, throughout the book I use these themes to provide a solid foundation for students to understand different theories and the many facts of child development. The themes appear in review questions throughout the chapters and are highlighted in an "In Perspective" feature that appears at the end of each major phase of development (e.g., the preschool years, adolescence). The themes provide students with familiar anchors to use as they learn about children.
I've also organized the chapters to make it easy for students to understand children and their development. Each chapter consists of two to five modules that provide a clear and well-defined organization to the chapter. Each module begins with a set of learning objectives and a vignette that introduces the topic to be covered. Within each module, all figures, tables, and photos are fully integrated, eliminating the need for students to search for a graphic. Similarly, boxlike feature material that is set off in other textbooks is fully integrated with the main text and identified by a distinctive icon, reflecting its importance in students' overall reading. Each module ends with several questions designed to help students cheek their understanding of the major ideas in the module.
The end of each chapter includes several additional study aids. "Critical Review" provides thought-provoking questions that require students to integrate the material they've just read. "See for Yourself" suggests activities that allow students to observe topics in child development firsthand. "For More Information About" includes books and Web sites where students can learn more about child development. "Key Terms" is a list of all of the important terms that appear in the chapter. The "Summary" is organized by module and the primary headings within each module; it reviews the entire chapter.
Each module includes at least one feature where selected issues are highlighted. The six different kinds of features are Cultural Influences, Focus on Research, Real Children, Making Children's Lives Better, Looking Ahead, and Child Development and Family Policy. The features are described in Module 1.1, but Focus on Research warrants extra attention here. Most textbooks describe research methods early on, then ignore them for the rest of the book. Children takes a different and unique approach. In Chapter 2, I portray child-development research as a dynamic process in which scientists make a series of decisions as they plan their work. In the process, they create a study that has both strengths and weaknesses. Each of the remaining chapters of the book contains a Focus on Research feature that illustrates this process by showing--in a question-and-answer format--the different decisions that investigators made in designing a particular study. I trace each of the steps and explain the decisions that were made. Then the results are shown--usually with an annotated figure so that students can learn how to interpret graphs-and the investigators' conclusions are described. Thus, the research methods that are introduced in Chapter 2 reappear in every chapter, in a setting that makes research come alive as a set of decisions that often involve compromises. (In my classes, I encourage students to think how the Focus on Research studies could be improved with different methods. At the same time, I ask them why the investigators might have resorted to the methods they did.)
I hope that the Focus on Research and other pedagogical elements will be effective in presenting complex topics to your students in an understandable and engaging way. Please let me know how well they work for you and your students. You can send comments directly to me at: email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
Children is accompanied by a superb set of ancillary teaching materials.
Instructor's Resource Manual. This IRM contains a wealth of material for new and experienced instructors alike. Each chapter includes chapter organizers, learning objectives, a detailed lecture outline with suggestions, classroom demonstrations and learning activities, critical thinking questions and exercises, assignment ideas, journal exercises, suggested films and videos, and classroom handouts.
Test Item File. This text bank contains over 3,000 multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions that test for factual, applied, and conceptual knowledge.
Prentice Hall Test Manager and Custom Tests. One of the best-selling test-generating software programs on the market, Test Manager is available in Windows and Macintosh formats. Both formats contain a GradeBook, Online Network Testing, and many tools to help you edit and create tests. The program comes with full Technical Support and telephone "Request a Test" service.
Prentice Hall's Color Transparencies for Developmental Psychology. Designed in a large-type format for lecture settings, these full-color overhead transparencies add visual appeal to your lectures by augmenting the visuals in the text with a variety of new illustrations.
PowerPoint Slides and Online Graphics Archive. Each chapter's artwork has been digitized and is available for download into any presentation software. PowerPoint lectures for each chapter area are also available for download. These and other valuable teaching resources are located on our Prentice Hall Psychology Central site at www.prenhall.com/psychology. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for information on how to access this site.
Films for the Humanities and Sciences. A wealth of full-length videos from the extensive library of Films for the Humanities and Sciences, on a variety of topics in developmental psychology, are available to qualified adopters. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for a list of videos.
Media Support for Instructors and Students
www.prenhall.com/kail Companion Web site. This free online Study Guide allows students to review each chapter's material, take practice tests, and research topics for course projects.
ContentSelect Research Database. Prentice Hall and EBSCO, the world leader in online journal subscription management, have developed a customized research database for students of psychology. This database provides access to many popular periodicals and peer-reviewed psychology publications. For more information about ContentSelect, contact your Prentice Hall representative.
Online Course Management. For professors interested in using the Internet and online course management in their courses, Prentice Hall offers full customizable online courses in B1ackBoard and Pearson's Course Compass powered by BlackBoard. Contact your Prentice Hall representative or visit www.prenhall.com/demo for more information.
Developmental Psychology Observation/Demonstration CD-ROM by David Daniel. This interactive CD-ROM offers simulations and over 50 minutes of video footage of children demonstrating key concepts in developmental psychology. Each video begins with an introduction to the concept illustrated in the video, narratives to guide student viewing of the video, and questions to assess students' understanding of what they just watched. It is available to be packaged with Children; contact your Prentice Hall representative for more information and to request an examination copy.
Kail, Robert V. :
Robert V. Kail is Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. His undergraduate degree is from Ohio Wesleyan University and he received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Kail has served as Associate Editor of the journal Child Development and is currently Editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. He received the McCandless Young Scientist Award from the American Psychological Association and was named a fellow in the American Psychological Society. He was also named the Distinguished Sesquicentennial Alumnus in Psychology by Ohio Wesleyan University. His research interests are in the area of cognitive development and focus on the causes and consequences of developmental change in the speed of information processing. Kail has also written The Development of Memory in Children, and, with John C. Cavanaugh, Human Development. Away from the office, he enjoys flying his Cessna 172, playing soccer with his daughter, and working out.
(NOTE: All chapters conclude with Chapter Critical Review, See For Yourself, For More Information About, Key Terms, and Summary.)
1. The Science of Child Development
Using This Book
Theories of Child Development
Themes in Child-Development Research
2. Research in Child Development
Doing Child-Development Research
Child Development Research and Family Policy
3. Genetic Bases of Child Development
Mechanisms of Heredity
Heredity Is Not Destiny
4. Prenatal Development and Birth
From Conception to Birth
Influences on Prenatal Development
5. Physical Development in Infants and Toddlers
The Developing Nervous System
Sensory and Perceptual Processes
6. Cognition in Infants and Toddlers
7. Social Behavior and Personality in Infants and Toddlers
Relationships with Others
8. Physical Development in Preschool Children
Health and Wellness
Child Neglect and Maltreatment
9. Cognitive Development in Preschool Children
Communicating with Others
Early Childhood Education
10. Social Behavior and Personality in Preschool Children
Relationships with Parents
Relationships with Siblings and Peers
Moral Development: Learning to Control One's Behavior
11. Physical Development in School-Age Children
Growth of the Body
Children with Special Challenges
12. Cognitive Development in School-Age Children
The Nature of Intelligence
Individual Differences in Intellectual Skills
13. Social Behavior and Personality in School-Age Children
Relationships with Peers
Families at the Turn of the Century
14. Physical Growth in Adolescents
15. Cognitive Processes in Adolescents
Reasoning About Moral Issues
The World of Work
16. Social and Personality Development in Adolescents
Identity and Self-Esteem
Relationships with Parents and Peers
The Dark Side
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