Concept of development and its relationship with learning 23


Concept of Development

The term ‘development’ refers to the various qualitative and quantitative changes taking place simultaneously with the changes to growth.

In simple words, development means changes that happen as something grows and becomes more mature.

These changes can be both big and small and happen at the same time as growth. Development can be thought of as growth in a person’s physical, mental, and emotional state, which leads to new abilities and qualities appearing and a change in the way they behave.

Definitions of development given by various thinkers are given below-

According to Jersild, Telford, and Sawrey, “Development refers to the complex set of processes involved in the emergence of a mature functioning organism from fertilized ovum”.

According to Heinz Werner, “Development consists of two processes integration and differentiation”

Characteristics of Development

Development starts at the moment of conception and continues until a person reaches maturity.

Development happens in a specific order, with stages like infancy, early childhood, late childhood, adolescence, and maturity.

Development involves both changes in physical growth and changes in personality. These two types of changes happen together.

The growth and development of a person are complicated and can be influenced by factors like physical abilities, intelligence, and gender.

It is possible to predict how fast someone will develop, but it’s not always accurate.

Every person develops differently, and this can be because of differences in genetics, abilities, and the environment they grow up in.

Types of Development

Physical development is one of the most noticeable changes in a child’s life. It involves the growth of different body parts, improvements in gross motor skills, such as walking, jumping, and catching, as well as fine motor skills, like painting, writing, and drawing. Physical development is largely dependent on a child’s health and nutrition. This type of development is also called maturation.

Cognitive development is related to the development of the mind. Cognitive development is about how children learn and process information. As children get older, they use their senses, like seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting, to understand their surroundings and store and retrieve information from their memory. This type of development shows the growth of intelligence.

Social and emotional development includes human social behaviors, and how they interact with their parents, family members, and other social institutions. It is a sign of good social skills in children. These skills start to develop in infancy. Young children enjoy being with others and forming relationships.

Language development involves communication through different methods, like writing, speaking, sign language, etc. Language is a crucial way for people to communicate their thoughts, desires, and feelings.

Moral development refers to the growth of ethics and values. This includes the development of a conscience and the ability to judge what is right or wrong. Children are not able to make moral judgments until they have reached a certain level of cognitive maturity.


Growth means the increase in the size of different parts of the human body and their ability to function. Physical growth affects behavior and vice versa. Growth refers to changes in shape and weight, including muscle growth. Growth means an increase in weight, height, and changes in body proportions. Growth only happens in the physical aspect. Growth also refers to quantitative changes that can be measured, such as the height a child has grown in a specific period of time.

Difference between Growth and Development

It seems that both terms are the same but in the field of child psychology, the terms growth and development have a lot of differences. Growth refers to the physical development of a child and development refers to a vast sense, which includes the development of physical, mental, emotional, social, etc.

The term growth refers to the increase
in size, length, height, and weight in a
physical sense. It means changes in
shape, form, or structure that leads to
improved functioning. Changes in quantitative
aspects are part of growth.
Development refers to alterations in appearance,
design, or structure that lead to enhanced operation
or performance. It signifies modifications in the nature
or qualities, rather than in the quantity or amounts.
Growth is the subject of measurement. They
may be quantified and observable in nature.  
Development is fully qualitative and difficult to measure.
Growth is one part of the developmental process.Development is wider and it is related to overall changes
in human life.
Physical Growth may or may not be recognized
as development.
The development itself includes growth.
Growth is not a lifelong process, it will stop at a
certain point.
Development is a lifelong process and it always ended
in death.
Factors Responsible for growth and development

Now let us discuss the factors which are very much responsible for the growth and development. These factors always play a vital role in the growth and development of a child.

The first one is heredity. Heredity refers to the biological mechanism by which physical and behavioral traits are passed down from one generation to the next. It plays a major role in shaping various aspects of growth and development, including body height, weight, structure, hair and eye color, intelligence, aptitude, and instincts.

The second one is the environment. The child acquires various experiences in interaction with the environment he or she lives and it affects growth and development.  It consists of the sum total of physical and psychological aspects of an individual which he receives from his or her conception.

The third factor is nutrition. Nutrition is essential for the healthy development of an individual in terms of physical and mental attributes. The growth and development of an individual mainly depend on his food habits and nutrition.

Sex plays a significant role in growth and development. There is a lot of difference in the growth and development of boys and girls. Boys tend to be taller and more courageous, while girls experience more rapid physical growth during adolescence than boys.

The development process continues even after physical maturity, as individuals continuously change through their interactions with the environment. Social skills learned in childhood provide a foundation for the challenges of adolescence. Development can be classified into stages.

Infancy (birth to 2 years), where the major task is to trust others to fulfill basic needs. Physical growth during infancy includes increases in size, weight, and curvatures of the spine.

Childhood, childhood stage can be simplified into two stages, early childhood, and late childhood.

The Early Childhood Stage or Toy Age (2 to 6 years) is a time of rapid growth in all areas of development. Children at this stage become more independent and are able to take care of themselves and interact with others effectively. It is also a critical period for language development. During this stage, children become more balanced and resemble adults, having mastered skills such as walking, using the toilet, communicating, and problem-solving. By age six, most children have developed fine motor skills and have a deeper understanding of their surroundings, including identifying members of their family.

The Late Childhood Stage (6 to 12 years) is a time of refining and acquiring new skills. Physical growth during this stage includes gains in height and physical entities like mass, number, and area. Children also learn the values of their society and integrate their individual development with the social context. Their growing ability to participate in meaningful interpersonal communication prepares them for the challenges of adolescence.

The adolescence Stage (12 to 18 years) is a period of growth and adjustment between childhood and adulthood. It is a culturally-defined stage that begins with sexual maturity and ends with the establishment of adult identity. The primary task of adolescence is identity formation and it is an important time for cognitive development as well, marked by changes in the way individuals think and reason about problems and ideas. Adolescents experiment with new roles, thoughts, and behaviors, exploring different ideas and values. This stage is characterized by intense experiences and emotional development, including mood swings. Erikson’s framework of life-span development highlights the significance of this stage.

Adulthood is a stage of life that encompasses individuals from 18 to 65 years. It can be divided into four phases.

Early Adulthood (18 to 20-25 years): This stage is considered a bridge between pre-adulthood and young adulthood and is typically viewed as the healthiest time in life. Adolescents during this period become more independent and explore various life options.

Young Adulthood (25 to 40 years): This stage is marked by a quest for intimate relationships, career, and life goals. Physical strength and performance reach their peak in this stage, although flexibility may decrease with age.

Mature Adulthood (40 to 65 years): This stage is characterized by changes in vision and potentially the need for corrective lenses. Different theories define this stage differently, with some considering it between middle age (45 to 64 years) and others between 40 to 65 years.

Aging Adulthood (65 years and beyond): Also known as late adulthood, this stage typically begins at 65 years of age. Physiological changes may occur, including a degree of brain atrophy and a decrease in the rate of neural processes.

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