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A Better Life

In: Film and Music

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SUBJECT TITLE: Community studies – families in change

Professor: Linda Sciberas


SEMESTER: Winter 2015


This course will examine the multiple variations in the structure of families as well as the changing role of the family in today's society. Students will learn about healthy and less healthy characteristics of family functioning. Various styles and problems of modern family living are explored. In addition, gender,ethnicity, culture and the family will be studied. The implications of all the aforementioned factors for both service delivery and social policy and planning will be considered.


Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:
1. Trace the evolution of the family over the last century
2. Identify the different family structures operating in Canadian society today
3. Consider his/her own life experience in the context of patterns and trends in their family over at least two generations
4. Identify the role of culture in family structure and functioning
5. Identify the stages of the family life cycle
6. Identify the theoretical frameworks used to understand and assess family functioning
7. Apply theories of family functioning to family situations in order to identify strengths, needs and applicable resources
8. Recognize pressures and problems faced by the modern Canadian family as a result of structural systemic issues

|Aligned with Employability Skills |
|Communication |
|Critical Thinking & Problem Solving |
|Information Management |
|Interpersonal |
|Personal |

|Aligned with Vocational Outcomes SSW |
|2 |Identify strengths, resources, and challenges of individuals, families, groups, and communities to assist them in achieving their goals |
|3 |Recognize diverse needs and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and communities to promote accessible and responsive programs |
| |and services. |
|4 |Identify current social policy, relevant legislation, and political, social, and/or economic systems and their impacts on service |
| |delivery |
|5 |advocate for appropriate access to resources to assist individuals, families, |
| |groups, and communities. |
| | |
|8 |Integrate social group work and group facilitation skills across a wide range of environments, supporting growth and development of |
| |individuals, families, and communities. |
|9 | Work in communities to advocate for change strategies that promote social and economic justice and challenge patterns of oppression and|
| |discrimination. |
| | |

[*select elements of each standard are met through SSW 227, but not all elements]



Jan.19 *Course outlines and introduction Anthology Section 1 *Structure and purpose of the family *Demographic facts * The modern family * Influences on change *Poverty, Racism and families

Jan. 26 *Systems theory Anthology Section 2 *Families as systems *Genograms

Feb. 2 *Family Life Cycle Anthology Section 3.1 *Independence Anthology Section 3.2 *Coupling In class assignment

Feb. 9 *Family Life Cycle Anthology Section 3.2 *Parenting young children Anthology Section 3.3 *Adolescence Additional readings In class assignment

ASSIGNMENT 1: due FRIDAY FEBRUARY 13 before 2:00 pm: submitted at the SSW office

Feb. 16 No class (Family day)

Feb. 23 *Middle age Anthology Section 3.3 *Retirement Additional readings


Mar. 16 MOVIE

Mar. 23 * Healthy and less healthy families Anthology Section 4 * Problems in families In class assignment

Mar.30 *Violence in the family Anthology Section 5 In class assignment

Apr. 6 *Divorce, separation and blended families Anthology Section 6 * Non-traditional families Assignment 2 due

Apr. 13 *Disability and long-term illness in the family Anthology Section 7 *Caregiver issues Wrap up

NOTE: Topics and dates may be varied at the discretion of the professors

This course will consist of lectures, small group discussions, experiential exercises, and movies.

SWL 227: Community Studies – Families in Change Anthology of readings
Additional readings as assigned

Grading Policy GPA
A+ 90%-100% 4.0
A 80%-89% 4.0
B+ 75%-79% 3.5
B 70%-74% 3.0
C+ 65%-69% 2.5
C 60%-64% 2.0
D 55%-59% 1.0
F 0%-54% 0


Assignment Percentage Due date

Assignment 1
In class 5% Weeks of Feb. 2 and Feb. 9, 2015
Paper 30% Friday Feb. 13, 2015 before 2:00 pm at SSW office (late deductions apply after 2:00 pm)

Assignment 2
In class 5% Weeks of March 23 and March 30, 2015
Paper 30% Week of April 6, 2015 (submitted in class)

Final Exam 30% Exam week


All assignments must be submitted in class on the scheduled due date. A student must negotiate a request for an extension via email suggesting a new due date with the appropriate faculty prior to the original deadline. An extension may only be granted at the discretion of the faculty. Students with an academic accommodation are also required to negotiate a deadline in advance of the scheduled due date even if their accommodation recommends extended time for assignments and papers.

Late Assignments will be penalized five percentage marks per day (including weekends) up to 20 days past the due date. After the 20-day period, the student will be granted a "0" on that assignment. Assignments will not be accepted after the last day of the semester's classes regardless of the due date.

Please do not put the papers/assignments in an unsecure mailbox or slide under a professor's office door. Late assignments can be emailed if necessary and late deductions will stop when the paper is successfully emailed to the Professor AND a hard copy provided to the professor at the next class. Only hard copies of your assignment will be graded.

As a student at Seneca College, you are expected to read the College Academic Policy and your College Student Handbook. Please note that this information is very important.

Cheating and/or Plagiarism
Section 8.7 - Seneca College Academic Policy
To continue to graduate high quality students and to sustain our reputation as a leading institution, Seneca must have the highest standards of academic honesty. Academic honesty means that all Seneca College persons will conduct themselves in an honest and trustworthy manner in all aspects of their academic career. Cheating and Plagiarism are offences that will not be tolerated by the College.

Section 11 - Seneca College Academic Policy
You have the right to appeal academic decisions of the College. The procedures for informal and formal appeals are outlined in the College Academic Policy.

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Your rights and responsibilities as a student are set out in the College Student Handbook.

Discrimination and Harassment Policy

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Centre for Resolution/Equity and Diversity at ext 5008 or via email at


APPROVED BY _____________________________

Biljana Bruce, Academic Chair



A) In-class Assignments (related to paper) 5%: Weeks of Feb. 2 and Feb 9, 2015 (Assignments will be completed in class); NO MAKE UP assignments will be accepted if you are absent for these classes)

B) Paper (due date: Friday Feb.13 at SSW office before 2:00 pm-late deductions apply after 2:00 pm) 30%

The concept of family has changed from generation to generation, as have the functions and roles of the family and its various members. These changes are a result of a variety of different factors and may be considered to have influenced the family positively in some ways and less so in others.


1. Choose 4 of the areas outlined below and describe the ways in which your family has changed over time or remains much the same. To do this you need to compare your family of the previous two generations, i.e. your mother’s family of origin and her parents’ families of origin (as far as you are able) with your current nuclear family, and the same on your father’s side. If you did not grow up with your biological family please use the family you grew up with for comparison purposes. If you have no access to the information on one side of your family, please indicate this at the start of your assignment.

You may focus on any four (4) of the following areas: a. family structure b. marriage patterns c. childrearing habits and rituals d. family traditions e. social location (place in society as it relates to age, race, socio-economic status, privilege etc and how it affects the degree of oppression faced) f. employment and career situations g. gender roles h. family bonding i. family leisure time j. other 2. Identify the factors that you consider to be the most influential in affecting any changes you identify, or if you have not noticed a change, discuss those factors which have contributed to the family maintaining similar patterns and practices.

3. Discuss how the changes noted above follow or do not follow the trends you have learned about in your readings and in class

Minimum five references: Your paper should make reference to the course readings along with at least three additional resources which support your deductions about trends related to family patterns and functioning over time. One of these resources must be a non-internet resource. You must cite these references using APA format.

Your paper should be 6 to 7 pages (not including cover sheet and reference page) in length using APA format (i.e., typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and double spaced etc.)

In-class Assignments (related to paper) 5%: Weeks of March 23 and March 30, 2015 (Assignments will be completed in class); NO MAKE UP assignments will be accepted if you are absent for these classes)

Paper (due date: Week of April 6, 2015) 30%

You are required to write an essay analyzing the family/families depicted in a movie watched in class. Using the knowledge you have gained throughout this course, you must suggest both external (sociological) and internal (psychodynamic) factors that would in your opinion contribute to the functioning of the family/families concerned. Your essay should highlight and explain the areas of functioning that you consider to be healthy or less healthy on the continuum of family health and how these factors contribute to the eventual outcome for the family/families.

External factors to consider are: • family structure • environmental circumstances • systemic issues of classism and racism • effects of poverty and the ability to provide for basic needs • circumstances and experiences of each family. • support systems • other

Internal factors to consider are: • communication skills • completion of family life cycle tasks • assignment1 of roles • family boundaries • parenting styles • family sub-systems • other

You must use both examples from a) the movie and b) theory from your class readings and at least three (3) other academic resources to support your analysis. References must be appropriately cited using APA format.

Your paper should be between 7 and 8 pages (not including cover sheet and reference page) in length using APA format (i.e., typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and double spaced etc.)…...

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