Physical Development in Adolescence:
The growth curves of height and weight from infancy to adulthood, we find that growth n these physical aspects is rapid in infancy, goes down in middle childhood, and shoots up in adolescence.
The adolescent not only increases in size or weight but all of his or her body alters:
For example, there are changes in the internal organs and body processes and subtle alterations in the composition of the tissues. In males there is the deepening of voice, the growth of the beard and the ability to produce semen. In girls there is the development of breasts, changes in the uterine and the pelvic areas and the menarche.
For both sexes we have the growth of the body hair particularly in the public and under arm areas, changes in contours of face and body, and the eruption of new teeth. Most children exhibit pre-pubescent growth spurt and a marked increase in height and weight, especially during the month prior to menarche in the girls and the growth of public hair and the first ejaculation of seminal fluid in boys.
There are Changes in Proportions of the Body and in Organs and Tissues:
For example, the legs grow relatively longer up to 15 years and then stem length increases slowly. In the childhood the whole body becomes slender but in the adolescence it begins to broaden again. The bones increase not only in size but also in number. The nose becomes so prominent that it perplexes the sensitive boy. The chemical composition of the bones also changes.
Sexual maturing, which is the most complicated process of growth and change at this stage of development, is the most prominent feature of adolescence. From 14 to 20 years of age there is a tremendous change in genital types, tests, ovary, uterine tube, prostatic urethra and seminal vesicles.
One of the Chief Characteristics of Physical Growth and Development of Adolescent is their Variability : For example, you will find in a certain class 50% of the girls having entered the puberty- cycle whereas the remaining 50% has not done so. A girl at 13 looks partially a young woman but the other of the same age looks still a child. Such variability in the maturation rate is a striking feature of both sexes.
Effects of Early and Late Maturing on Behaviour of Adolescents:
The early maturing boy, as we have said earlier, gets a good position among his associates. Since he is tall for his age, he becomes the leader of the group, and the teacher also assigns him a position of responsibilities. This fact creates many problems which he is not yet able to handle.
Just at a time when he is trying to adjust to an enlarged physical structure he finds more disadvantages than advantages. The only advantage that he gets out of early maturing is that he gets a chance to learn adult roles earlier. The late maturing boy is decidedly at a disadvantage, because he is ignored or slighted both by girls and boys. As he is small in size and weak in body, he cannot take an active part in
games and sports with other boys of the same age. The result is that filings of iraferiority begin to develop in him. He becomes submissive and withdraws himself from competition. Some late maturing boys and girls become noisy, and mischievous to attract the attention of their teachers in the class-room.
Such behaviour is not liked by the elders, and the age-mates also tend to become hostile to them. Like many other persons, who for some reason or other, are rejected by their group, the late matures suffer from criticism hostility of their associates, physiological differences are thus regarded as the main causes of behavioural differences in the early and late maturers.
Educational Implications of Physical Development in adolescence:
The understanding of physical growth and change throughout the school years is basic for an adequate understanding of the development of personality. Most schools tend to pay no attention to this psychologically important aspect of growth and development.
TP the adolescent his growth, now in this part of the body and now in the part of the body, may be awkward and puzzling, and often causing stress and strain. But if the parents and teacher do not recognise and realise the problems raised by physical growth and development, it becomes difficult to understand the whole conduct or behaviour of the grown-up boy or girl.
The study of the physical growth of the adolescents is of very great importance to understand the psychological problems faced by them. For a boy or girl to be constantly growing and changing is indeed an experience often puzzling and presenting problems in rapid succession. The youngsters of both sexes are faced with manifold anxieties and embarrassments.
In a boy's world, especially the physical size and strength are so important that his slow or rapid growth, late or early maturing in comparison with that of his class boy's mates or associates may determine his position and prestige among them- Therefore, education should give due importance to this stage of development.