Suggestions for Lecture Topics
Instructional Media
Classroom Activities or Demonstrations
Critical Thinking Exercises
Research Projects
Child Development
8th Edition
John W. Santrock
1998

Essay and Critical Thinking Questions

Comprehension and Application Essay Questions

We recommend that you provide students with our guidelines for "Answering Essay and Critical Thinking Questions" when you have them respond to these questions. Their answers to these kinds of questions demonstrate an ability to comprehend and apply ideas discussed in this chapter.

  1. Describe development during the germinal, embryological, and fetal periods.

  2. What is organogenesis, and why is this concept important to the process of development?

  3. Indicate and explain what factors might contribute to complications at specific times during gestation.

  4. Discuss medical, ethical, psychological, and personal issues pertinent to the decision to have an abortion.

  5. Compare and contrast maternal age, nutrition, and emotional state as influences on prenatal development.

  6. What is a teratogen? Indicate at least two examples of teratogens and their specific effects in your answer.

  7. Discuss what pregnant women can do to minimize their exposure to teratogens during pregnancy.

  8. Compare and contrast the risks to expectant mothers who are either teenagers, twenty-something, or thirty-something.

  9. Describe the stages of birth, and explain three birth complications.

  10. Imagine that you are about to give birth. What questions about cesarean sections and the use of drugs during delivery would be important to you? What reasons would lead you to accept or reject a cesarean section and drugs such as tranquilizers, sedatives, and analgesics during delivery?

  11. Imagine that you are an expectant parent. What would you do and learn in a parent education class on pregnancy, prenatal development, and the three most common childbirth strategies?

  12. Why and how have fathers and siblings become more involved in childbirth? Discuss the pros and cons of this involvement.

  13. How do preterm and low-birth-weight infants differ? How do these birth conditions influence and infant's immediate and long term development?

  14. What would you learn about your newborn from the Apgar and Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scales?

  15. Explain why some claim that the postpartal period should be termed the fourth trimester.

  16. What special concerns confront parents as they adjust to having a baby? Illustrate your answer with examples from your own experience.

  17. Evaluate the claim that touch and massage improves the growth, health, and well-being of infants and children?

    Critical Thinking Questions

    We recommend that you have students follow our guidelines for "Answering Essay and Critical Thinking Questions" when you ask them to prepare responses to these questions. Their answers to these kinds of questions reflect an ability to apply critical thinking skills to a novel problem or situation that is not specifically discussed in the chapter. These items most appropriately may be used as take-home essay questions (e.g., due on exam day) or as homework exercises that can be answered either by individuals or groups. Collaboratively answered questions encourage cooperative learning by students, and reduce the number of papers that must be graded.

    1. At the end of Chapter 4 Santrock indicates books that provide practical knowledge about children and lists resources for improving the lives of children. Choose one of these books or resources and read it or learn as much as you can about it. Then write a brief review in which you (a) characterize the book or resource, and (b) explain how the book or resource relates to material in the chapter.

    2. Chapter 1 defines the nature of development in terms of biological, cognitive, and social processes, and periods or stages. Indicate your ability to think critically by identifying material in this chapter that illustrates developmental processes and periods. If there is little or no information in this chapter about developmental processes and periods, identify and explain how developmental processes and periods could be used to guide the analysis of any topic in the chapter.

    3. According to Chapter 1, three fundamental developmental issues concern: (a) maturation (nature) versus experience (nurture), (b) continuity versus discontinuity, and (c) early versus later experience. Indicate your ability to think critically by identifying material in this chapter that illustrates the three fundamental developmental issues. If there is little or no information in this chapter about fundamental developmental issues, identify and explain how the these issues could be used to guide the analysis of any topic in the chapter.

    4. One aspect of thinking critically is to read, listen, and observe carefully, and then ask questions about what is missing from a text, discussion, or situation. For example, this chapter discusses the psychological effects of abortion on the mother, but not the father. Indicate your ability to think critically by (a) speculating about why Santrock neglected to discuss the psychological effects of abortion on fathers, and (b) evaluating whether this seeming oversight represents a case of sexism in developmental research that should be avoided, according to the author's claim in Chapter 2.

    5. Santrock sets off several quotations in this chapter. Indicate your ability to think critically by selecting one of the quotes and (a) learning about the author and indicating why this individual is eminently quotable (i.e., what was this individual's contribution to human knowledge and understanding), (b) interpreting and restating the quote in your own terms, and (c) explaining what concept, issue, perspective, or term in this chapter that Santrock intended this quote to illuminate. In other words, about what aspect or issue in development does this quote make you pause and reflect?

    6. Chapter 2 presents six different theoretical approaches (i.e., Freudian, cognitive, behavioral and social learning, phenomenological and humanistic, ethological, and ecological), but notes that no single approach explains the complexity of development. Imagine that you are a developmental psychologist with several clients who have considered having an abortion. In some cases, the individuals obtained an abortion, and in other cases, the individuals did not obtain an abortion. Indicate your ability to think critically by explaining how you would apply each theoretical perspective in analyzing and treating your clients.

    7. According to an Associated Press article on February 20, 1992, the issue of the effects of drugs on prenatal development arose after Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment for 15 slayings. In brief, the claim was made that Dahmer's mother ingested four sedatives (meprobamate, mephobarbital, phenobarbital, and secobarbital) and the female sex hormone progestin one month after becoming pregnant. The article suggested that these drugs could have affected Dahmer and were somehow related to his slaying the victims, having sex with their corpses, and eating their flesh. Apply your knowledge about the scientific method by designing a study to determine the effects of prenatal effects of sedatives and hormones on personality development and behavior.

      Clearly specify (a) What specific problem or question do you want to study? (b) What predictions would you make and test in your study? (c) What measures would you use (i.e., observation, interviews and questionnaires, case studies, standardized tests, physiological research, or multimeasure, multisource, and multicontext approach) and how would you define each measure clearly and unambiguously? (d) What strategy would you follow--experimental or correlational, and what would be the time span of your inquiry--cross sectional or longitudinal? (e) What ethical considerations must be addressed before you conduct your study?

    8. According to chapter 2, your author wants you to become a wise consumer of information about child development by: (a) being cautious about media reports, (b) distinguishing between nomothetic research and idiographic needs, (c) recognizing how easy it is to overgeneralize from a small or clinical sample, (d) knowing that a single study is usually not the defining word about some aspect of life-span development, (e) remembering that causal conclusions cannot be made from correlation studies, and (f) always considering the source of the information and evaluating its credibility. Indicate your ability to think critically by, first, selecting an article from either a journal, magazine, or newspaper about any topic regarding Prenatal Development and Birth, and, second, evaluating it in terms of these six objectives. If the information in the article is insufficient to evaluate one of these objectives, then specify what kind of information you would need to evaluate the objective.


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