Understanding growth and development


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Understanding growth and development

  1. 1. Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Education 8th day of November Sta. Mesa, ManilaWritten Report in Psychological and Sociological Foundation of Education II. The Learner Basic Factors to the Learner’s Growth and Development Basic Principles of Growth and Development Submitted to: Prof. Michelle Sotto Submitted by: Karen Ann J. Paez BBTE III-3D
  2. 2. II. The LearnerUnderstanding Growth and DevelopmentThe terms growth and development have been continually used in most readings in psychology.Many times, these terms are used interchangeably: although in certain respects both terms,though parallel, imply different definitions.Growth- essentially refers to quantitative changes in an individual as he progresses inchronological age. It may refer to increase in size, height or weight.Development- It is the progressive series of changes of an orderly and coherent type leading tothe individual’s maturation. This definition implies that for development to be progressive,there is a direction in the manner in which changes occurs. Development is also coherent,essentially because the sequence of changes that occurs are related to each other and do notoccur haphazardly or abruptly.From these definitions, one can see that although both growth and development implycontrasting types of changes in the individual, both are, nonetheless, related andcomplementary processes.Development is a process that produces a progressive series of changes that are orderly andcoherent and which lead to, and end with, maturity (Hurlock, 1978:22). As viewed by Hurlock,development includes only changes that lead forward and excludes those that go backward.Growth is used interchangeably with development by some authors, but Hurlock (1978:23)considers growth as referring to quantitative changes and development, to qualitative changes.An example of quantitative change is change in size, like increased chest circumference,lengthening of the bones, or increase in height. Qualitative changes come in the form ofchanges in the nature of the functioning of an organ with resulting improved efficiency andaccuracy of performance. An example is the development of locomotion which starts in the one-year old as toddling and later progresses to straight walking, then to running and othercomplicated foot and leg skills.Basic Factor to the Learner’s Growth and Development
  3. 3. Two general factors influence human development; namely, 1) maturation or natural growthresulting from heredity; and 2) environmental influences in and thorough which growing takesplace. These two factors are so thoroughly interrelated that is impossible to isolate theirspecific influences.Every individual is born with definite potentialities of development passed on to him by hisparents through heredity. These heredity potentialities for many kinds of behavior patternscontinue to develop for months or even years. This process by which heredity exerts itsinfluence long after birth is called maturation. Studies have shown that a number ofphysiological structures are essentially mature and ready to function at birth or even earlier.Others, however, such as certain nervous, muscular and glandular structures are not ready tofunction after months or even years later. Certain types of behavior which are made possibleby these structures are sufficiently mature. No amount of instruction and practice, forexample, can make a six-month old child walk or talk because the neural and muscularstructures involved are not yet ready for such activitiesAlthough an individual inherits trait potentialities from parents, the direction that thesecharacteristics follow during the process of growth and development depends upon theindividual’s environment. Behavior traits develop only after interaction with environmentalinfluences.Modes of behavior at a given time in the life of an individual are not determined by heredity orenvironment working alone. Instead, they are the product of the interaction between hisinherited tendencies and potentialities and those environmental influences by which he isstimulated. For example while the ability to vocalize and the capacity for learning to makeintelligible sounds are inherited, the language a child speaks is the result of the language he isexposed to do during the growth process. A child is not born with skills, emotional controls, orattitudes. It is only when his inherited adaptable nervous and muscular systems are given theproper stimulation at a time when they are maturational ready that such traits are learned anddeveloped. It is at this point where education plays an important role in the development of anindividual.Heredity is the transmission of traits from parents to offspring through the genes. It bringsabout development through the process of maturation which is the unfolding of the hereditarypotentials.Environment, on the other hand, includes all the forces that affect or influence man. The otherprocess of development that occurs through the medium of the environment is called learning.At any given time and age, the level of development is the product of the interaction betweenthese two forces. Isolating the changes due to maturation alone or to learning alone would be
  4. 4. difficult because these two factors are interrelated and interdependent. Hereditary potentialscannot develop in a vacuum; learning cannot occur if the neuromuscular system is not ready. Afavorable environment encourages the full development of the potentials, while a deprived andunstimulating environment restrains their development.Basic Principles of Growth and DevelopmentFrom numerous studies conducted on growth and development, developmental psychologistshave established some basic principles of developmental changes that occur over the life cycle.These basic principles are outlined below and explained in succeeding paragraphs. 1. Development follows an orderly sequence which is predictable. The developmental process, guided by the interaction of maturation and learning, follows a predictable pattern. The stages that we go through from birth to death are always in the same order. They have never occurred in reverse. Infancy precedes childhood and is followed by adolescence; and adulthood follows adolescence. Middle age and, lastly, old age or senescence completes the life cycle. The first basic principle relates to the orderly sequence of developmental change. The developmental process, guided by the interaction of maturation and learning, follows a predictable pattern. It is a continues process that proceeds according to a definite direction and uniform pattern throughout the life cycle. Although physical growth attains it maturational level and stops as a process, developmental change continues as long as life continues. An individual continuously adapts to changing physical and mental abilities as age increases. Such developmental changes which occur throughout the life cycle follow a sequential pattern which is predictable. The stages which an individual goes through from birth to death are always of the same order from infancy to old age. They have never occurred in reverse. This predictable sequence is also observable in the phylogentic skills- those skills which are universally true of the human race. Thus, regardless of the culture all babies proceed from supported sitting to unsupported sitting to creeping, crawling and, finally walking. Similarly, babies produce unrecognizable sounds to babbling before producing understandable speech. The two predictable directions during the pre-natal and infancy periods illustrate the uniform pattern of physical development. These directions are
  5. 5. cephalocaudal and proximodistal. In the cephalocaudal trend, development proceeds in a head-to-foot direction in the body. Changes in motor performance and function, for instance, take place first in the head region and last in the foot region. In the proximodistal trend, parts of the body nearest to the center are the earliest to develop. Infants, for instance, able to use their arms before they acquire hand skills while their fingers skills follow the development of hand skills.2. The rate of development is unique to each individual. The second basis principle relates to the rate of developmental changes as unique to each individual. Although developmental changes follow a predictable pattern, the rate at which changes may occur may be different from one individual to another. Such differences in rate of change are determined by the interaction of heredity and environmental factors. As an example: Some children will change faster than others in almost all areas of development while some will be much slower than others. Or some children will have faster rates of development in the physical and social aspects while at the same time are slower in the mental aspect of development. This second principle stresses the fact that it is futile to try to accelerate an individual’s development if he is not ready to develop or experience a change. This means; for instance, that any new ability will emerge only if the essential physical or mental foundations are already existing. Training can produce result only if the individual has reached the level of maturation necessary for an activity. Such readiness for an activity is determined by his rate of development.3. Development involves change. This principle implies that the human being is always evolving based on theories by developmental psychologists. As stated earlier, children undergo physical, emotional, and mental changes.4. Early development is more critical than later development. The studies of Freud, Erikson, and Piaget on early patterns of behavior led to the conclusion that early development is very important. It is at this stage of development where individuals develop the foundations for social relatedness, emotional well-being,
  6. 6. and personal adjustments. It has been widely accepted that the first 2 years of life, often called the “formative years”, greatly dictate the course of an individual’s growth and development. This principle is also the rationale behind early childhood education.5. Development is the product of maturation and learning. As discussed previously, development is an outcome of both maturation and environmental influences. Although people are genetically endowed with certain characteristics, learning allows individuals to develop the innate potentialities. Through exercise and effort, people can act on their environments and develop their competencies. In most cases, individuals learn through imitation and observation of other role models.6. There are individual differences in development. Although children follow a predictable pattern of development, a step-by-step progression, all children do not reach these developmental stages all at the same time or all at the same age. These differences in development are often ascribed to both genetic and environmental influences, where each individual is either born or exposed to varying factors. For instance, Physical development depends largely on inherited characteristics, such that children will grow in height differently from each other. Similarly, intellectual growth is contingent upon one’s educational exposure or family environment.7. There are social expectations for every developmental period which are often referred to as developmental tasks. This principle clearly states that at any point in the individual’s development, each one is expected to fulfill certain social expectations. As will be seen in a later discussion, these social expectations vary from one stage to the next. Bibliography 1. Beltran, Jane Q., 1996. General Psychology Revised Edition. Rex Book Store, Inc. 2. Gaerlan, Josefina, D. Limpingco, and G. Tria. 2000. General Psychology, 5 th edition. Ken Inc. Quezon City, Phil. 3. Bustos, Alicia S. and Socorro, Espiritu C., 1996. Psychological, Anthropological, and Sociological Foundations of Education (Foundations of Education1). Katha Publishing Co., Inc. Quezon City, Phil.
  7. 7. 4. Bustos, A.S., N.I. Malolos, A.E. Ramirez and E.C. Ramos. 1985. Introduction to Psychology. Katha Publishing Co. Inc. Quezon City. Phil.5 Gaerlan, Alvin B.A 1983. General Psychology: Understanding Behavior. National Book Store. Manila. Phil.