Graduate School of Education educ 580X and 480X: Social Problems of Adolescence Fall 2013

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Graduate School of Education

EDUC 580X and 480X: Social Problems of Adolescence

Fall 2013

Instructor: Jackie Visser

Room: FA 250

Phone: 607 -777-5070 (o); 607-262-0346 (c)


Office: AB 130C

Day & Time: Thursday 4:25 to 7:00 p.m.

Office Hours: Wed & Thurs, 3:00-4:30, or by appointment

Bulletin Description: SEC 580. Special Topics in Secondary Education. Specific topics vary from semester to semester. Attention may focus on social, psychological, historical, political or contemporary issues. Exploration in depth of the impact of various topics on current public and private school practices.
Special Topic: Social Problems of Adolescence. This course is designed to introduce students to adolescent psychological, social, and cognitive development and engage students in applying these theories to understanding adolescent problems. Students will become aware of the critical issues and problems associated with adolescence in current times, and of the ways “adolescence” is socially constructed. A variety of strategies for meeting the social and academic needs of adolescent learners with problems will be discussed. Fieldwork may be required.

  1. Course Objectives:

    1. Understand the emotional, social, and cognitive development of adolescents in relation to adolescent problems.

    2. Investigate, analyze, and report on a cognitive, social, or emotional problem that teenagers face.

    3. Investigate the characteristics of effective learning and schooling for adolescents with problems.

    4. Investigate psychological and social dynamics of diversity and difference on adolescents.

    5. Demonstrate critical thinking on questions related to adolescent problems.

    6. Demonstrate writing an essay on adolescent problems that incorporates resource materials.

    7. Demonstrate collecting and analyzing data on adolescents with specific problems.

    8. Demonstrate ability to work cooperatively with peers in groups to present on adolescent problems.

    9. Demonstrate oral and visual communication about adolescent problems through presentation and the use of technology.

Accommodations Statement: If you are a student with a disability and wish to request accommodations, notify me by the second week of class. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 777-2868. Their office is at LH-B51. The SSD office makes formal recommendations regarding necessary and appropriate accommodations based on your specifically diagnosed disability. Information regarding your disability will be treated in a confidential manner.
Academic Honesty Statement: “All members of the University community have the responsibility to maintain and foster a condition and an atmosphere of academic integrity. Specifically, this requires that classroom, laboratory, and written work for which a person claims credit are in fact that person’s own work.” The annual University Student Handbook publication has detailed information on academic integrity.
Classroom Environment Statement: The faculty and staff in the Graduate School of Education are committed to serving all enrolled students. The intention is to create an intellectually stimulating, safe, respectful and enjoyable class atmosphere. In return, it is expected that each of you will honor and respect the opinions and feelings of your fellow students.

  1. Strategies and Teaching Methods:

General Expectations
The topics, language and concepts that students are expected to master are described briefly in the objectives written above. Readings, activities, classroom discussions and critiques will be directed toward developing a practical understanding of these topics and concepts. Students are expected to actively question and discuss in class the topics of the readings. Generally, about one-half of each class will be lecture/discussion, and one-half will be participatory or with group activity.
Participation (1 POINT—Tie breaker if you are on the edge of a grade). Students are expected to attend and be on time for class and to inform the instructor when circumstances may not permit it. This classroom is a shared environment in which everyone has a responsibility to create a positive learning environment for others. Each of us brings something wonderful and enlightening to the course, yet, we will wrestle with tough issues that may call for heated discussion. In this course, we come to class ready to learn and ready to teach, are respectful of ourselves and others, learn names and address others regularly, articulate our points as well as question others, and commit ourselves to thoughtful reading, reflection, and verbal and written articulation.
Each student should consider the following questions:

  • How well prepared am I to discuss today’s topic?

  • Did I encourage anyone to discuss today’s topic? Did I ask for anyone’s opinion?

  • Did I attempt to engage in critical thinking or problem solving?

  • What questions do I have about this topic? What more do I need to know?

  • How does today’s topic for discussions inform my knowledge of the subject?

  • Did I learn anything today? Who did I learn from? Did I teach anybody today?

  • How does this new information inform my own teaching, future teaching, or other interaction with teens?

  • How does my independent reading inform this discussion?

  • How can I articulate my point while respecting others and myself?

Assignments for Course

  1. Group Study and Presentation (30 POINTS):

Students will work in groups of 2 or 3. They will analyze existing research and gather statistics on an adolescent problem. During this study students should answer the following questions:

Main Question: How does the problem impact adolescent students today?

Sub-questions: How many students are affected? What are the educational and affective outcomes?
To prepare for this study, students should be prepared to:

  • Provide a clear articulation of what the problem looks like (behavior, symptoms, etc.)

  • Collect research literature on the topic.

  • Collect statistics from appropriate state or national web sites.

  • Provide information on why and how the problem exists.

  • Provide research-based solutions or recommendations for the students themselves, their teachers, and parents.

Acceptable topics for the study presentation (and the paper) include the following:

  • A mental/emotional or physical problem that would lead to identification for special education services.

  • A social/emotional or physical issues such as drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, social maladjustment, criminal behavior, bullying, school failure/drop out.

  • A social issue in which an adolescent is subject to discrimination such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief or philosophic orientation; harassment in schools; emerging literacy; or English as a second language. Other topics may be acceptable but must be approved by the instructor.

Each group will use these sources of information to answer the question. They will present their answers to the question during a 30 to 40 minute presentation. All handouts, overheads/PowerPoint presentations, and a list of references should be provided to the instructor a week ahead of the scheduled presentation with a final copy handed in after the presentation.

  1. Individual Presentation on Adolescent Problem Topic of the Week (25 POINTS)

Beginning week 4, students will lead the class discussion on the topic listed for that day in the course schedule. During weeks 1 and 2, you will negotiate with the class to determine your topic. These discussions should take about 30 minutes of class time.

  1. Individual Essay on an Adolescent Problem (45 POINTS)

(EDUC 580X, 5-7 pages; EDUC 480X, 3-5 Pages)
You will select a theoretical or research topic on an Adolescent Problem. Select a theme that will be your main topic or point (See list under presentations). You will:

  • Incorporate information from your own experience growing up and/or teaching today (Please think carefully about the topic you choose, because you must explain your experiences and how they have impacted your thinking and behavior regarding the adolescent problem. You are not required to self-disclose a difficult adolescent problem you may have experienced. If a topic makes you uncomfortable, please choose another.)

  • Incorporate information on learning and schools today compared to when you were a teenager.

  • Differentiate between personal experiences versus the experience of others. Explain any generational differences if they are important to your topic.

  • Search for research literature that explains the reasons for these differences and report these in your paper.

  • Provide at least 10 (6 for undergraduate) references (using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) to substantiate the veracity of their own position.

  • Type your paper using a word processor, 12 point type, 1 inch margins, and double space. Papers should be submitted electronically. Please make sure your paper is completed in Word with a file name that includes your name, the topic, and the date submitted.

  1. Required Materials

Garrod, A,. Smulyn, L, Powers, S. I., & Kilkenny, R. Adolescent Portraits (7th Edition). New York: Pearson
Adkins, D. E., Wang, V., Dupre, M. E., van den Oord, E., & Elder, G. (2009). Structure and stress: Trajectories of depressive symptoms across adolescence and young adulthood. Social Forces, 88(1), 31-60.
Asher, J. (2007). Thirteen reasons why. New York: Penguin, Razor Bill, (pps. 36-68)

Beaty, L. E. & Alexeyev, E. B. (2008). The problem of school bullies: What the research tells us. Adolescence, 43 (169), 1-11.

Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. San Francisco: WestEd. Chapter 1 and 9.
Brown, L. M., Chesney-Lind, M., & Stein, N. (2007). Patriarchy matters: Toward a gendered theory of teen violence and victimization. Violence Against Women, 13(12), 1249-1273.
Calvete, E., Orue, I., Estevez, A., Villardon, L., & Padilla, P. (2010). Cyberbullying in adolescence: modalities and aggressors’ profile. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1128-1135.
Cooley-Strickland, M., Quille, T. J., Griffin, R. S., Stuart, E. A., Bradshaw, C. P., & Furr-Holden, D. (2009). Community violence and youth: Affect, behavior, substance abuse, and academics. Clinical Child and Family Psychological Review, 12, 127-156.
Cooper-Nicols, M. & Bowleg, L. (2010). “My voice is being heard”: Exploring the experiences of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth in schools. In C. Bertram, M. S. Crowley, & S. Massey (Eds.), Beyond Progress and Marginalization: LGBTQ Youth in Educational Context (pp. 15-50). New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
Darden, J. (2009). Talking Race. Retrieved from URL
Fenaughty, J. & Harre, N. (2013). Factors associated with distressing electronic harassment and cyberbullying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 803-811.
Hawley, W. D. & Nieto, S. (2010). Another inconvenient truth: race and ethnicity. Educational Leadership, 68(3) , 66-71.
Hong, J. S. & Espelage, D. L. (2012). A review of research on bullying and peer victimization in school: an ecological system analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, 311-322.
Kaufman, P. (2005). Middle-class social reproduction: The activation and negotiation of structural advantages. Sociological Forum, 20(2), 245-270.
Kolb, S. M. & Hanley-Maxwell, C. (2003). Critical Social Skills for Adolescents with High Incidence Disabilities: Parental Perspectives. Exceptional Children, 69(2), 163-179.
Li, Y. & Lerner, R. M. (2011). Trajectories of School Engagement During Adolescence: Implications for Grades, Depression, Delinquency, and Substance Use. Developmental Psychology, Vol. 47( 1), 233–247.
Reiber, C. & Garcia, J. (2010). Hooking Up: Gender Differences, Evolution, and Pluralistic Ignorance. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 390-404.
Schwartz, P., & Rutter, V. (1998). Teenage sexuality. In (Same Authors) The gender of sexuality (pps. 73-80), NY: Alta Mira Press.
Slonje, R., Smith, P. K., & Frisen, Ann (2013). The nature of cyberbullying, and strategies for prevention. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 26-32.
Stead, R. (2009). When you reach me. New York, Random House, Yearling Book. (pps. 43-66).
Tienda, M. & Haskins, R. (2011). Immigrant children: introducing the issue. The Future of Children, 21(1), 3-18.
Urday, T. & Schoenfelder, E. (2006) Classroom effects on student motivation: Goal structures, social relationships, and competence beliefs. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 331 – 349.
Walker, M. (2005). Critical thinking: challenging developmental myths, stigmas, and stereotypes. In Comstock, D. Diversity and Development: Critical Contexts that Shape Our Lives and Relationships. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole
Velasquez-Manoff, M. (2013). Status and Stress. New York Times, The Opinionator, on line from July 27, 2013, 2:30 PM.
Walls, J. (2005). The glass castle. New York: Scribner. (pps. 175-213).
Wilksch. S. M., & Wade, T. C. (2010). Risk Factors for Clinically Significant Importance of Shape and Weight in Adolescent Girls . Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(1), 206-215.
Woolley, M. E. & Bowen, G. L. (2007). In the context of risk: Supportive adults and the school engagement of middle school students. Family Relations, 56(1), 92-104.

  1. Recommended Materials:

Research articles and books obtained through legitimate reference sources.

  1. Grading Policy:

Discussion and Attendance (1 Extra Flexible Point)

Paper 45 points

Presentation/Discussion on Chapter 25 points

Group Investigation and Presentation 30 points

Total 100 points

Grades: 94-100 A, 90-93 A-, 86-89 B+, 83-85 B, 80-82 B-, 76-79 C+, 73-75 C, 70-72 C-, 69 & below F
Guidelines for papers. Students must use good grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Essays must demonstrate understanding of proper paragraph and essay form.
A paper will receive 45 points if it meets all standards for proper essay form, demonstrates excellent writing and it provides a strong reasoned argument that presents conflicting views or results accurately. A paper will receive 40 points if it meets all standards for proper essay form, demonstrates good writing and it provides reasoned arguments, but these arguments may have weaknesses or need further support. A paper will receive 35 points because if it has weaknesses in its essay form, has some problems with organization or structure of the paper or it provides the beginning of a reasoned argument, but has weaknesses which do not support the argument. References may be slightly distorted or not quite on target. A paper will receive 30 points if it has many poorly structured sentences, paragraphs, or organizational structure, it has the beginning of a reasoned argument, but may present one side only. It may have serious distortions or lack a sufficient number of references. Any paper with plagiarized material will receive no points.
Please be sure that:

  • You have a thematic topic.

  • You have read accurately from the text and other resources. You do not provide misread or misinterpreted information.

  • You provide a strong reasoned argument that presents conflicting views or results accurately.

  • You have written what you mean to say clearly. Vague unclear sentences and paragraphs are not evident.

  • You have given credit where credit is due. You do not assume that the text and other sources of information are common or public knowledge.

  • You differentiate between specific personal experiences, variation, and generalizations. All variation and generalizations must be documented with evidence.

  • You demonstrate differentiation between normative influences and individual beliefs.

  • You differentiate fact, opinion, and opinion based on reasoned argument and evidence.

  • You provide reasoned argument and evidence for your own opinions.

  • You differentiate and indicate primary and secondary resources.

  • You make sure your resources are credible. Just because something is off the Internet does not necessarily mean it is credible.

  • You have used correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Your paragraphs are clear, and your paper is cohesive.

  1. Course Outline



Topics & Readings

In class assignments and due dates

Weekly lecture/discussion and group work

Aug 29

Class 1

Introduction to Course

Sept 12

Class 2


Li & Learner

Urday & Schoenfelder

Garrod: Case 2 & 9

Sept 19

Class 3



Walls, pages 175-213


Sept 26

Class 4


Kolb & Hanley-Maxwell

Garrod: Case 14 & 16

Oct 3

Class 5



Wooley, et. al

Garrod: Case 7

Individual presentations

Oct 10

Class 6



Hawley & Nieto


Garrod: Case 6

Individual presentations

Oct 17

Class 7

Immigrant Experience

Tienda & Haskins

Garrod: Case 3 & 4

Individual presentations

Oct 24

Class 8

Violence & Drugs

Cooley-Strickland, et. al.

Garrod: Case 1 & 5

Individual presentations

Oct 31

Class 9


Beaty, et al

Calvete, et al

Fenaughty & Harre

Hong & Espelage

Slonje, et al

Asher, pages 36-68

Stead, pages 43-66

Draft Paper due.

Individual presentations

Nov 7

Class 10


Adkins, et. al

Garrod: Case 11

Individual presentations

Nov 14

Class 11

Eating Disorders Wilksch, et. al.

Garrod: Case 10

Individual presentations

Nov 21

Class 12

Gender & Violence

Brown, et. al.

Garrod: Case 15 & 17

Individual presentations

Nov 28

No Class


Dec 5

Class 13

Teen Sexuality

Reiber & Garcia

Schwartz, et. al.

Garrod: Case 13

Group Presentations

Dec 12

Class 14

Gay & Lesbian

Cooper-Nicols, et. al.

Garrod: Case 8 & 12

Group Presentations

Final Exam week

All products are due.

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