Growth and Development- Concept, Difference & Principles Note

Growth and Development in developmental psychology is an important section. The concept of growth and development must be clear for those who are preparing for any teaching exams like TET, CTET etc or even for B.Ed students. In this article, the meanings, Factors affecting growth and development, similarities and difference between growth and development, Key Principles of growth and development will be discussed in details. You can make complete B.Ed notes of Growth and development from this page.

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Meanings of Growth and development

The term Growth refers to the physical changes of an individual like increase of body size, length, height or weight etc.

 According to “Watson & Lower” – Growth means an increase in the physical size of the whole or any of its parts. It is the quantitative changes that occur in the body of an organism.

 However, Growth does not continue throughout the life of an individual. The physical changes that is produced by growth are observables and measureable. I.e. when the height or weigh of an individual is increase we can easily observe and also it can be measure. But the physical growth of an individual can not ensure the development of an individual.

For example an individual may grow fast in physical size, weight or height but he or she may not develop in terms of functional improvement that is qualitative.

What is Growth and Development?

Development is the process of qualitative as well as quantitative changes of a person. It is a wider and comprehensive process than growth. Development is the progressive acquisition of various skills and abilities such as head support, speaking, learning, expressing the feelings and relating with other people. It is a process of progressive improvement of functioning.

According to Elizabeth Hurlock-

“Development means changes in its progressive series which are orderly and coherent and which lead to maturity”

Difference between growth and development

The terms growth and development are often use interchangeably or in the same sense. But these two terms have different meanings. However both the terms used to refer to the changes that take place in an individual throughout his/her life in various dimensions like physical, mental social, psychological etc.

According to Crow and Crow “Growth refers to structural and physiological changes while development refers to growth as well as changes in behaviour.”

From a wider perspective growth and development can be said for changes brought about by heredity or environment. The main difference between growth and development are given below-

1. Growth refers to the physical changes like increase in size, length, weight, height etc. On the other hand development means the overall changes in physical organs or the structure that is result in improvement of functioning of the physical organs.

2. The scope of growth is limited to the description of quantitative changes but the scope of development is wider and comprehensive and includes qualitative and quantitative changes.

3. As development is a complex and comprehensive process and growth is only a part of developmental process.

4. Physical changes that we call growth it stops when maturity has been attained. But the process of development is continuous. It starts from the time of conception and continuous till the end of life. Is short we can say development is womb to tomb.

5. The changes which are occurred as a result of growth we can observe and measure directly. On the other side developmental changes as a result of improvement of behaviour or functioning can not be measured openly.

Factors affecting growth and development

The pattern of human growth and development is mainly determined by the genetic as well as environmental factors. Growth and development is the result of an inseparable mixture of heredity and environmental factors. Some of the important genetic and environmental factors that affects growth and development has been discussed below.-

1.Heredity factors

The heredity or genetic factors determine the potential and limitations of growth and development. Heredity in the form of genes and chromosomes determine the growth rate of a child. It is believed that the size and shape of body, colour of eyes skin and hair, nervous system etc. are deeply influenced by the heredity system.

2 Environmental factors

Environment in which an individual is born and brought up determines the pattern of growth and development largely. Environment is everything except his/her genes. These factors give direction to the genetic potential of growth and development of an individual. Environmental factors like climate conditions, nutrition, social, economic conditions, emotional support, opportunity of play, language training etc. affects the development and growth of a child.

3 Nutrition

Growth and development is also highly depend ed upon nutrition. A proper balanced diet and nutrition leads to normal growth of a child. Thus availability of healthy diet like protein, vitamins, amino acid, zinc, calcium etc plays a major role in the development and growth of a child.

4 Socio economic & cultural factors

Economic, social and cultural factors also highly influence in the growth and development of an individual. Different socio-economic & cultural backgrounds lead to differences in psycho- physical development of an individual with different rate of growth maturation and development.

In fact, a constant and complicated interaction of genes, hormones, nutrition and other environmental factors throughout the lifespan influence the process of growth and development.

Principles of growth and Development 

The 7 principles of development which are  put forth from the scientific knowledge gained from observing children. These are as bellow

  1. Principles of continuality.
  2. Principle of orderly development
  3. Principles of sequential development
  4. principle of unique development
  5. The principle of interrelated development
  6. Principle of interaction between heredity and environment
  7. Principle of interaction of maturity & learning

1 Principles of continuity: Development is a continuous process. There are definite developmental stages such as gang as or adolescence. However it is a fact that growth continues from the time of conception to till the individual reaches maturity. It starts at a slow regular pace rather than “leaps and bounds”. Both the physical and mental traits continues gradually and continues till the level of maximum growth.

2. Orderly development:  This principle states that development proceeds from general to specific directions.  It can be observ ed that a new born baby moves his whole body at one time instead of moving a specific part of it. The baby waves his arms.

3 Principles of sequential development

According to this statement the development follows a sequential pattern where in puberty achieved before full physical structure. For example, the human body cuts his molars before his incisors, can stands before he walks and can draw, a circle before he can draw a square.

In physical growth one can see the cephalocaudal pattern in the prenatal stage of the human child. This means that of the body as well as improvements in the structure it develops first in the head and progresses later to the parts further from the bread.

4 Unique developments

Though development follows a set of pattern but every individual differs or vary from one another with regards to the time he achieves the changes. For examples all children crawl before standing properly but the age at which they perform these activities is different.

5 Interrelated developments

The development that takes place in an individual like social development, mental developmen t, and emotional development all are interrelat ed to each other and one doesn’t exist without other.  For example the mental development of an individual is intimately related to his physical growth and its needs. Again there is a close relationship between the total adjustment to school and his emotions, his/her physical health and his intellectual adequacy. An emotional disturbance od a child may create  difficulties in eating or sleeping. A physical imperfection may be responsible for the development certain attitudes and common adjustments.

6 heredity and environment

An individual is a product of heredity and environment neither heredity alone, nor the mere environment is the potent factor in the development of an individual. However it is not possible to determine in which proportion heredity and environment contribute to the development of an individual. Thus heredity and environment work hand to hand from the very beginnings.

7 Interaction of maturation and learning

In simple word maturation refers to the changes in the developing organism due to ripening of abilities, characteristics, traits, behaviour due to training etc. so the interaction of the maturity and learning influence the d evelopment and growth of an individual.

There are also some important principles that come in the process of growth and development. They are as follows-

  1. Development follows a pattern
  2. Growth is a continuous and gradual
  3. The physical growth of an individual proceeds more rapid during early age.
  4. Development proceeds from general to specific
  5. The development of an individual is a product of heredity and environment
  6. And most of the traits are interrelat ed
  7. Growth is not uniform different parts of body grow at different rates.
  8. Development is predictable.
  • References:
  • Developmental psychology Dr. Homeswar das,
  • Aggarwal, JC. :Essentials of Educational Psychology. Vikas Pub pvt. New Delhi

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