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Concept of Growth and Development .



 Human beings keep changing. During their lives, they change in size, appearance and psychological makeup. The way they change differs from individual to individual. But the fundamental underlying patterns of growth and development remain more or less the same and take place in an orderly way. Each individual, with his unique heredity and the way he is nurtured, determines the way he traverses the broad highway of his life at his rate of progress. He will attain the size, shape, capacities and developmental status in a way which is peculiar to him at each stage of life.

 Growth is sometimes used to designate all the quantitative changes brought about in the structure and functions of the human anatomy and physiology The term development means a progressive series of qualitative changes that occur as a result of maturity and experience. Thus at each stage certain developmental processes bring changes in the individual in different aspects of life: physical, social, psychological and emotional. The speed of change varies from one individual to another but it follows a definite and predictable pattern. Every individual has to go through the various stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Both growth and development, at every stage, follow certain principles.


Concept of Growth

 Meaning of Growth:

 Growth means increase in size, height and weight. It implies growth of heart, brain, muscles and body in general. It can generally be easily observed, appraised or measured. The following points further highlight the concept of growth from psychological point of view :

 1. Intrinsic process : Growth is an intrinsic process. In words of Arnold Gessel, "Growth is the function of the organism rather than of the environment. The environment furnishes the soil and the surroundings for the manifestation of development, but these manifestations come from inherent inner organism and an intrinsic physiology of development.

 2. Intrinsic changes : Growth implies the intrinsic changes in the human body i.e.. the enlargement of muscles, elongation of skelton and increase in the general size of internal body parts and internal organ systems.

 3. Extrinsic changes : As in psychology, the term 'growth' is used in a purely physical sense, it generally refers to an increase in size, length, height and weight. Thus growth refers to quantitative changes.

 4. Aspect of development : Growth is simply a part (an aspect) of development. Development has both quantitative as well as qualitative aspect. The quantitative aspect of development is known as growth.

 5. Measurable : Growth can be measured. It can be observed, quantified and measured.

 6. Dependent upon multiple factors : Growth is a unifying concept. It is dependent on the interaction of many factors like the education, environment, glandular secretions and health.

 7. Not continuous : Growth is not a continuous and life long process. It starts with conception and continues up to some particular stage. It stops when the person attains maturity.

Concept of Development

1. A. Angyal's view (1941): "Development cannot be considered in terms of the mind alone but rather in terms of the individual as a whole in relationship with his experience with others. Thus development is concerned with the biological total process taking place in the subject-object inter-relation."

2. G.W. Allport's view (1948): "The developing individual cannot be thought of a thing in himself. Development, in so far as it is considered to be produced from within the individual himself alone, is only a convenient abstraction." 

3. J. E. Anderson's view (1952): "Development does not consist merely of adding inches to one's height or improving one's ability. Instead, development is a com plex process of integrating many structures and functions." 

The following points further illustrate the concept of development :

1. Wider and comprehensive: Development is a wide and comprehensive term. It includes growth. Growth is one of the parts of development. Development can be physical as well as intellectual (mental or cognitive), emotional, social, moral and spiritual. Development in its quantitative aspect is known as growth.

2. Continuous : Development is a continuous and life long process. It continues throughout life. It starts with the birth of the child and ends with the death of the individual. It covers the whole life span of the individual. Growth stops when maturity is attained.

3. Changes in body and behaviour: Development refers to changes in various parts of the body and behaviour as a whole. On the other hand, growth refers to changes in particular aspect of body and behaviour.

4. Quantitative as well as qualitative changes : Development implies quantitative as well as qualitative changes. It refers to changes in structure, form or shape as well as improvement in functioning.

5. Improvement in behaviour : Development signifies improvement in behaviour i.e., physical, intellectual, emotional, social or moral behaviour (including character). It promotes efficiency.

6. Integrated process : Development in an integrative process which causes the human being to acquire physiological and psychological capacities and capabilities. It is a complex process of integrating many structures and functions. 
According to Hurlock, development is an integrated process as it implies: (i) changes in size, (ii) changes in proportion, (iii) disappearance of old features and acquisition of new features.

7. Organisational process: Frank observes that growth may be looked upon as the cellular (of the cells) multiplication, and development as an organisation of all the parts which grow and differentiation have produced. 

8. Product of heredity and environment : Development is the joint product of heredity and environment. What the child receives from the heredity (including from his parents) and what he shares with his environment conjointly shape his personality. His growth and development in any dimension, at any time, is directly or indirectly, influenced by the forces of heredity and environment. 

9. Subject to assessment : Development can be observed and assessed by noting changes in the shape as they occur and in the mode of behaviour as their maturation in completed. Qualitative changes are the subject of assessment and not the subject of measurement because direct measurement of qualitative changes in not possible. On the other hand, growth can be measured.

10. Related to growth: Development is closely related to growth. In fact, both growth and development are inter-related. Generally, they go hand in hand. Growth without development is meaningless. For example, when body grows in structure, it also develops in function. But this is not always true. Child may grow fat, but this may not be accompanied by any functional improvement or development. Therefore, growth in height or weight may not indicate any improvement in functioning. Some times development is possible without significant growth. Some individuals do not grow in size or height but they develop intelligence, stamina and ability to adjust in various situations. Intellectual and social development may continue even after the growth in general has stopped.

Conclusion :-

The terms growth and development are often used interchangeably. Actually they are conceptually different. Growth refers to quantitative changes in size which include physical changes in height, weight, size, internal organs, etc. As an individual develops, old features like baby fat, hair and teeth, etc., disappear and new features like facial hair etc.. are acquired. When maturity comes, the second set of teeth, primary and secondary sex characteristics, etc., appear. Similar changes occur in all aspects of the  personality.

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Various Stages Of Cognitive Development In Life

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