Faith and Human DevelopmentCourse Level: Basic

Course Summary

This course provides an introduction to the stage theories of human development and spiritual growth. Participants will explore the maturation of human beings from a holistic perspective. The works of Fowler, Erikson, Kohlberg, Gilligan, Piaget and others will provide the foundation for examining the psychological, physical, and spiritual growth over the course of a human's lifetime. Particular attention will also be given to family systems theory to provide the wider context shaping the faith development of human persons. Finally, these theories will be applied to the particular age cohort of the student in effort to promote self-understanding.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Explain the theories of human development in terms of moral growth, ego development, and faith development
  • Explore stages of human life from the perspective of stage development theories and family systems theory
  • Understand the inter-relationship of the various aspects of human development - physical, psychological, emotional, moral and spiritual
  • Articulate implications of the models of human development for self understanding and understanding others

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Feldmeier, Peter The Developing Christian New York: Paulist Press, 2007 ISBN: 0809144387; ISBN-13: 978-0809144389
  • Required Book: US Conference of Catholic Bishops National Directory for Catechesis Washington DC: USCCB, 2005 ISBN: 1574554433; ISBN-13: 978-1574554434

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Models of Developmental Stages
    • Understand various models of human development as set forth by Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, Jane Loevinger, Erik Erikson, and others
    • Understand the family as a developing system with its own life cycle
  • Week 2: Models of Spiritual Development
    • Explore the development models of James Fowler, Pierre de Chardin, and St. John of the Cross
    • Reflect on the connections between developmental aspects of human maturation
    • Identify key elements in the Christian vision of family life as a wider context for faith development
  • Week 3: Childhood and Adolescence
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of children, ages 0-12
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of children, ages 0-12
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of adolescents, ages 12-18
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of adolescents, ages 12-18
  • Week 4: Young Adulthood
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of young adults, ages 18-22
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of young adults, ages 18-22
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of young adults, ages 22-40
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of young adults, ages 22-40
  • Week 5: Middle Age and Elderhood
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of adults, ages 40-65
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of adults, ages 40-65
    • Understand the life-cycle characteristics and developmental needs of older adults, ages 65 and beyond
    • Connect the human and spiritual development theories to the needs of older adults, ages 65 and beyond