Kd's e-pathsala Educational Psychology Meaning of Growth and Development

Meaning of Growth and Development

Most of us use the two terms growth and development interchangeably and accept them as synonyms. Both these terms relate to the measurement of changes occurring in the individual after conception in the womb of the mother. Change is accepted as the law of nature. An individual starting from a fertilized egg turns into a full fledged human adult. In this turn over process s/he undergoes a cycle of changes brought about by the process of growth and development. In various dimensions physical, mental, social etc. Therefore in the wider sense both the terms growth and development can be used for any change brought about by maturation and learning (Formal as well as informal education) and essentially is the product of both heredity and environment.

Meaning of Growth

Growth is a sign of life. All living animals irrespective of their status in the biological hierarchy have to grow. The following points can clarify the meaning of growth from a psychological point of view. The term growth is used in a purely physical scene. It generally refers to an increase in size, length, height and weight. Changes in quantitative respect come into the domain of growth. Growth is one of the parts of the developmental process. In the strict scene development in its quantitative aspects is termed as growth.


Meaning of Development

Development, by contrast, refers to qualitative changes in the human body. It may be defined as a progressive series of orderly coherent changes. Webster’s dictionary defines development as the series of changes which an organism undergoes in passing from an embryonic stage to maturity. This change refers to physical, emotional, intellectual changes which shall be discussed under the following points:

  1. Development implies overall changes in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or functioning. It indicates the changes in the quality or character along with the quantitative aspect.
  2. Development is a wider and comprehensive term. It refers to overall changes in the individual growth which is one of its parts.
  3. Development describes the changes in the organism as whole and does not list the changes in parts.
  4. Development is a continuous process. It goes on from the womb to the tomb; It does not end with the attainment of maturity. The changes however small they may continue throughout the lifespan of the individual.
  5. Development simply implies improvement in functioning and behaviour and hence brings qualitative changes that are difficult to be measured directly. They are assessed through keen observation of behaviour in different situations.


Stages of Development

According to Pikunas, stages of development are divided into 10 stages. The stages are:

  1. Prenatal Stage
  2. Neonatal Stage (from birth to four weeks)
  3. Early  infancy (1 month to 18 months)
  4. Late Infancy (18 months to 2.5 years)
  5. Early Childhood (2.5 to 5 years)
  6. Middle Childhood (5 to 9 years)
  7. Late Childhood (9 to 12 years)
  8. Adolescence (12 to 21 years)
  9. Adulthood (21 to 70 years)
  10. Old age (70 years and above)