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Home arrow Education arrow Field-Based Learning in Family Life Education: Facilitating High-Impact Experiences in Undergraduate Family Science Programs

The Professional Sequence and High-Impact Teaching: The Introductory Course

Deborah C. Bailey and Kimberly Tate


This chapter explains the implementation of several high-impact practices built into the introductory field experience course within our Family Studies’ three-course professional sequence. It will explain how field work, experiential activities, structured journaling, and work group learning communities, are high-impact learning experiences that initiate our Family Studies students into the field of human services.

Course Design

The Family Studies major at Central Michigan University is designed to assist students with understanding the professional component of the major by introducing them to the skills and methods used for designing and implementing family life education programs and family case management. Our faculty designed the curriculum for the major with a commitment to active learning using high-impact practices. Borrowing Kuh’s (2008) philosophy of high-impact practices, our courses are designed

D.C. Bailey (*) • K. Tate

Human Development and Family Studies, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, MI, USA

© The Author(s) 2017

T. Newman, A. Schmitt (eds.), Field-Based Learning in Family Life Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-39874-7_3

with the belief that student development is shaped by many events across educational experiences in college and extends beyond the classroom and into the arena of field experiences. To this goal, we structured a three- course sequence designed to promote deep-level learning by providing structured experiences of field work, skill development, and a capstone internship that demands time, commitment, and full engagement from the students (Brower, 2013; Millis, 2012).

The sequence of three courses begins with a semester introduction to the professions served by the Human Development and Family Studies degrees (HDF 219 Field Work), followed by a semester of training in the skills and methods of interviewing assessment and programming (HDF 319 Skills and Methods), and then concludes with an internship semester focusing on applying family life education skills, methods, and theory while fulfilling an internship with a human service agency (HDF 419 Internship). This chapter explains the introduction to this professional sequence and the implementation of high-impact practices that aids students in clarification of their career goals while focusing on the development of helping skills. The key high-impact practices that we use for the Field Work course will be identified and followed with an explanation of practice. The chapter ends with identification of two challenges that we encounter with high-impact practices and steps taken to resolve these problems.

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