Features of the Nature of growth and development

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1. Often used as synonymous terms

‘Growth and Development’ are often used as synonymous terms. But, in fact, growth is different from development. Growth means an increase in size, heigt, weight, length etc. which can be measured. Development, on the other hand, implies change in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or in functioning. Improved functioning implies certain qualitative changes leading to maturity.

2. Growth is cellular; develop- ment is organisational

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Frank j distinguishes between growth and develment by saying that growth may be looked upon as the cellular (of the cells) multiplication, and development as an organisation of all the parts which growth and differentiation have produced. In other words, growth refers to changes in the particular aspects of the body, and development may imply the organisation as a whole.

3. Growth discontinues: development is progressive

Another difference between growth and development lies in the fact that growth does not continue throughout life. Human beings grow upto a certain age; say twenty to twenty-five. Development, on the other hand, means a progressive series of changes throughout one’s life. Growth stops when maturity has been attained, but development goes on continuously.

4. Growth involves body changes; development involves changes from origin to maturity

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To designate body changes, the term growth is used. In the words of L.H. Scott, “Since the rate of growth j in the various parts of the body is not the same, in either an absolute or a relative sense, growth necessarily involves changes in ody proportions as well as overall stature and weight.” Development represents “changes in an organism from its origin to its death, but more particularly the progressive or non-deteriorative changes from origin to maturity.”

That is why, Robert Watson has observed, “…development does not sit and wit for precise measurement of any kind to be made; the organism is constantly changing, and prior conditions can never be duplicated.” Thus development is “a progressive series of changes of an orderly, coherent type tending towards the goal of maturity.”

5. Joint product of Heredity and Environment

Growth and development is the joint product of heredity and environment. A child at any stage of his development is carrying certain heredity and he is also being influenced by his environment. What the child receives from his parents and what he shares with his environment conjointly shape his personality. His growth and development iny dimension, at any time, is directly or indirectly, influenced by the forces of heredity and environment.

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6. Growth and development go hand in hand

Generally, growth and development go hand in hand. Growth without development is meaningless. For example, when body grows in structure, it also develops in function. That means growth helps in development. But, this is not always so; child may grow fat, but this may not be accompanied by any functional improvement or developmore, growth in size, height or weight may not indicate any improvement in physical or sensory motor activity. The intellectual, emotional and social development continues after the growth in general has ceased. Development constitutes a progressive series of changes : progressive because they are directional, leading forward rather than backward, leading to greater differentiation and complexity of the system, resulting in more efficient functioning of the human organism.

Though the terms growth and development have been differentiated, in a wider sense, growth and development may be used as synonymous terms, as is often done in the field of education.

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