Brief notes on The nature of social development


(a) Definitions

The nature of social growth and development has been defined by various experts in different ways.

1. Francis F. Powers


Social development can be defined as “the progressive improvement, through directed activity, of the individual in the comprehension of the social heritage and the formation of flexible conduct patterns of reasonable conformity with this heritage.”

In this sense, social development emphasises the fact that growth must be progressive.

2. Sorenson

In the words of Sorenson, “By social growth and development we mean the increasing ability to get along well with one and others.” This means that a socially developed person has accepted tastes, attitudes and behaviour patterns.


3. Hurlock

According to Hurlock, social development is the “attaining of maturity in social relationships”.

4. Garret

Garret regards social development as the process whereby “the biological individual is converted into a human person”.


5. Freeman and Shomel

Social development is the process of learning to conform to group standards, mores and traditions and becoming imbued with a sense of oneness, inter- communication and cooperation.”

(b) Social Development not apart from other Phases of Development

Social growth and development cannot be considered apart from other linkage among these factors is very close that, whatever may be the nature of an individual’s developing social self, his physical and physiological constitution, his degree of mental alertness and the extent of his emotional maturity as these affect and are affected by other persons, either advance or retard the achievement of desirable social attitudes and behaviors at any stage of development. Thus, social development places emphasis upon the fact that the growth may be progressive.


(c) Two Important Aspects of Social Development

Social development has two important aspects. One of these is the process of socialisation. It also implies learning of the special ways of one’s society, its customs and manners, its language, morals, ways of living and thinking. Another aspect of social development is that the child progressively increases his social circle and mixes with increasingly larger groups.

Whether social development means socialisation, or an increase in social interests, it involves the development of new types of behaviour, a change in interest, and the choice of new type of companions and friends. The individual becomes social when he not only wants to be with others, but who also wants to share and do things with them. Thus, some of the important characteristics of socialisation, are the ability to take interest in others, to share and to cooperate, to work as a member of a group, to develop friendships, to develop social perception, and to develop desire to belong and to be socially accepted.

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