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Family Studies Department 316
Family Studies Department
Family studies systematically explores the ways in which individuals influence and are influenced by families, communities, cultures, institutions, and societies, and  by ideas, norms, and values.
In family studies you will explore individual and collective human behaviour and needs as well as patterns and trends in society. Courses in this area shed light on a variety of social structures, institutions, relationships, and power dynamics as well as explore fundamental questions and ideas about human nature and the human condition. In all subject areas, students are exposed to social theories, specialized concepts, and research findings, as well as a range of tools related to investigation and analysis, to help them understand themselves, their families, their communities, and society as they strive to find meaning in the world around them.
Students in family studies develop a critical lens through which they can build their awareness of and make decisions with respect to critical issues in our increasingly complex, multifaceted, and diverse society. This helps to build understanding about individuals, families, and diverse groups – what people think, how they live, and how we all interact with one another and the world around us.  Knowledge and understanding developed through family studies can help inform discussion on critical social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental, and wellness issues, and can provide a strong foundation for vibrant, healthy, and engaged citizenship.
Study in family studies requires systematic inquiry: through sustained practice, students develop their planning, processing, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities, often while exploring issues of deep personal relevance. The essential questions with which students engage in these courses are often thought provoking and open ended, and have no single correct answer. The questions stimulate inquiry, debate, and further questions, and can be re-examined over time. Systematic inquiry in family studies can help students analyze problems and determine appropriate actions that they can take as individuals, or that can be taken by families, diverse groups, and even societies in response to complex local or global challenges.
Family studies courses provide students with essential knowledge and transferable skills that are applicable in various areas of their lives – in their personal and family lives as well as in their postsecondary studies and in the workplace. Individual courses provide students with a foundation for a variety of possible postsecondary destinations: positions in the retail and service industries; college programs in community services (e.g., early childhood education, child and youth work, and developmental services work), creative endeavours (e.g., the fashion industry, fashion design, garment construction, and food preparation), or business (e.g., human resources); and university programs in fields such as anthropology, business studies, education, environmental studies, family and child studies, food and nutrition sciences, gender studies, health sciences, human resources, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, social work, and sociology.
Family Studies and its related knowledge and skills, has connections with many other disciplines taught in secondary school. Through their studies in family studies courses, students are able to bring a broader perspective, integrate useful knowledge, and apply critical-thinking skills when studying other subjects such as history, geography, arts, and English.
Effective learning in family studies depends on the development of skills and understanding in four areas:
Disciplined Inquiry and Critical Literacy: Family studies courses focus on the use of disciplined, structured inquiry to understand human beings, human behaviour, and human nature. These courses promote the use of reason as part of the structured inquiry process, while also recognizing the limitations of reason as a way of learning, knowing, and understanding. They encourage students to identify and question assumptions and values that underlie individual behaviour and family and social/cultural life. Developing their critical literacy skills enables students to challenge texts, reading “underneath, behind, and beyond” texts and questioning how they influence us and others and whose
interests they serve.
Problem Solving: Family studies courses require students to engage actively in solving problems confronted by individuals, families, diverse groups, institutions, and societies. The problems that students confront in these courses vary from the abstract and theoretical to the everyday and concrete. These problems are often morally and politically complex, with solutions that are sometimes controversial because they affect diverse individuals and groups differently.
Understanding of Self and Others: Students in family studies courses are provided with rich opportunities to enhance their self-understanding and understanding of others through an examination of their personal belief systems and also of the foundations and implications of different viewpoints and lived experiences of others. Through a juxtaposition of their own perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs with those of others, students develop an under­standing and appreciation of the contexts through which their own and others’ world views are formed.
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