Human beings are never stagnant; they undergo continual changes from the moment of conception until death. These changes are influenced by the environment in which they exist. Both the physical organs and psychological functions of humans experience fluctuations in their capacities and achievements, as well as gradual erosion and decay.

Cognitive abilities develop and then may decline over time. Basic metabolism reaches its peak and subsequently decreases, while endocrine function flourishes and then diminishes. Physical energy also follows a pattern of increase and decrease in terms of both force and speed as individuals age. Essentially, no organ or function in humans has been found to be unaffected by the passage of time.

At the time of conception, a child possesses genetic potentialities that are partially predictable based on their biological inheritance. However, there is also an element of unpredictability. The ways in which these genetic potentialities manifest and develop depend on the environment in which the child grows. The environment can either facilitate or hinder the realization of these potentialities. Therefore, individuals have a vast range of possibilities in utilizing their genetic inheritance, which is influenced by their surrounding conditions.

Development and learning are closely intertwined processes that are vital for personal and professional growth. Development involves the continuous process of growth and change that takes place over time, while learning encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities through various means like experience, study, or instruction. These two concepts are interconnected and have a significant influence on each other, playing a crucial role in overall growth and success. In this discussion, we will explore the relationship between development and learning, their contributions to our overall growth and achievement, factors that impact this relationship, and practical strategies for optimizing our development and learning processes.

The concept of development is closely associated with growth and maturation. Although growth, development, and maturation are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction among them. Let’s provide simple definitions for these terms.

·  Human beings are never stagnant; they undergo continual changes from the moment of conception until death. These changes are influenced by the environment in which they exist.

·  At the time of conception, a child possesses genetic potentialities that are partially predictable based on their biological inheritance. However, the environment in which the child grows plays a crucial role in how these potentialities manifest and develop.

·  Development and learning are closely intertwined processes that are vital for personal and professional growth. Development involves the continuous process of growth and change over time, while learning encompasses the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

·  Cognitive abilities develop and then may decline over time, while physical organs and functions also experience fluctuations in their capacities and achievements.

·  Development and learning mutually influence each other, playing a crucial role in overall growth and success.

·  Factors such as experiences, environment, and personal characteristics impact the relationship between development and learning.

·  Strategies can be employed to optimize development and learning, including identifying strengths and weaknesses, setting goals, and seeking growth opportunities.


Growth refers to quantitative changes in a person. It means, the changes in the size and structure of the body, both in terms of physical and mental aspects.


Development refers to the qualitative and quantitative changes in a person with respect to growth.


Maturation refers to the characteristics that come inherently from genes.

Here’s a tabular comparison highlighting the difference between growth and development:

DefinitionPhysical changes resulting in an increase in size or quantity.Overall changes and improvements in knowledge, skills, behavior, and capabilities.
ScopeLimited to physical changes, such as height, weight, and body proportions.Encompasses physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes.
Time FrameUsually refers to a specific period of time.Occurs over a more extended period and continues throughout life.
MeasureCan be measured objectively using metrics like height or weight.Difficult to measure precisely as it involves subjective aspects of growth.
ExampleAn infant growing into an adult with increased height and weight.Acquiring language skills, problem-solving abilities, and emotional maturity.
FactorsPrimarily influenced by genetic and environmental factors like nutrition and exercise.Influenced by a wide range of factors, including genetics, environment, education, experiences, and social interactions.
OutcomeResults in a physical transformation with limited impact on overall abilities.Results in the enhancement and refinement of skills, knowledge, and capabilities.

Let’s discuss the concept of development briefly

  • Every child is unique and special in their own way, even the twins are different in terms of development, characteristics, personality and behaviour.
  • Childhood is the important stage, where a child builds up the foundation of his life.
  • Development cannot be defined in one single definition, but in child pedagogy, development may be defined as a progressive series of orderly coherent changes. Here, progressive means, the changes that occur in terms of only forward directional( that cannot be reversed). Orderly coherent means, the changes that occur, will have a definite relationship from the past changes to present situations, that can predict future changes.

Definition of Development

Various thinkers have defined the development as

  • According to Jersild Telford and Sawrey. “Development refers to the complex set of processes involved in the emergence of the mature functioning organism from fertilized ovum”.
  • According to E Hurlock” Development is not limited to growing layers; instead, it consists of progressive series of changes towards the goal of maturity due to development new abilities grow in men”.
  • According to JE Anderson “Development is concerned with growth as well as those changes in behaviour which results from the environment situation”.
  • According to Heinz Werner “Development consists of two processes integration and differentiation”.

Characteristics of Development

  • Development is a continuous process from conception until it reaches maturity.
  • Development occurs orderly manner and follows a particular sequence—Infancy-Early childhood-Late childhood-Adolescence-Maturity.
  • Development is both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Development is affected by physical factors, mental factors and environmental factors.
  • The rate of development is different for every individual.

Types of Development

Development is a complex process that includes physical, intellectual, emotional and moral aspects of development. Every aspect of development is interrelated with one another.

Physical Development

  • Physical development is the change in the size and structure of the body.
  • Genetics play an important role in determining the rate of growth development
  • . An adequate amount of environmental conditions can bring maximum growth to genetic factors.
  • Poor nutrition or diseases can reduce the individual physical growth. At some points, physical development in individuals is influenced by reproductive maturation.
  • Motor development is closely related to physical development. Abilities for physical movement vary from different stages of development.

Cognitive or Intellectual Development

  • Cognitive or intellectual development refers to the development of all mental activities. It deals with, how a child learns and processes information from the environment.
  • A child learns through their senses(such as seeing, listening, touching, smelling, tasting) and register the information in their minds and efficiently retrieve it from memory.
  • Cognitive development occurs in the childhood stage, where the child develops memory through environmental experiences and knowledge gets accumulated.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Social and emotional development refers to the development of social skills such as sharing, cooperation, patience, empathy, honesty friendship, which starts from the preschool period and continues till adulthood.
  • According to Hurlock “Social development means, the acquisition of the abilities to have, in accordance with social expectation”.
  • Emotional development is the ability to control or manage one’s emotions. Children learn social and emotional development in their early childhood from family, environment and peers.

Language Development

  • Language is the medium of communication with one another. There are different modes of communication i.e writing, speaking, signing etc.
  • Language development starts from infancy when a child starts communicating with their caregivers.
  • The child starts associating sounds with objects, for example, the sound’ ma’ with his mother.

Moral Development

  • Moral development deals with the development of ethics, norms, values beliefs, attitudes and behaviour with respect to justice, others’ welfare and rights.
  • Peers and parents help develop moral development in a child. Children cannot make moral judgements until they reach the level of maturity.

Principles of Child Development 

Human development is a process of change that occurs throughout various stages of life. Each stage of development has predictable characteristics. Development is influenced by both maturity and learning. Maturity refers to the natural unfolding of biological potential and involves irreversible biological changes. These changes are relatively independent of environmental factors, as long as the environment remains normal. On the other hand, learning occurs throughout our entire lifespan and is different from maturity. Learning depends on the process of maturing, including the individual’s mental and physical readiness for certain activities.

Need and Importance of Studying Principles of Growth and

Understanding the principles of growth and development is crucial for both scientific and practical reasons. By studying the patterns of development and the factors influencing variations in children’s development, we gain valuable knowledge that can have significant implications.

Knowing the pattern of human development allows us to have realistic expectations of children. It provides insights into the typical age at which behavioral changes occur and when these patterns are replaced by more mature ones. This understanding is important because setting unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy in children, while setting too low expectations may hinder their motivation to reach their full potential.

Having a clear understanding of what to expect from children empowers developmental psychologists, teachers, and parents to establish guidelines. These guidelines can take the form of height-weight scales, age-weight scales, age-height scales, mental age scales, and social or emotional development scales. They serve as valuable tools for monitoring children’s progress and identifying any deviations from the normal developmental trajectory. By investigating such deviations, professionals can determine the underlying causes and plan appropriate interventions to support individuals who experience significant challenges in personal, social, or emotional adjustment or development.

Principles of Child Development 

There are several principles that guide human development:

  1. Continuity: Development is a continuous process from conception to death. It involves changes that lead to maturity in terms of body size, functioning, and behavior. Even after reaching maturity, development continues, leading to the phase known as old age or senescence. Development is influenced by the growth and maturity of individuals interacting with the environment.
  2. Sequentiality: Development follows a sequential and orderly pattern. Every species, including animals and humans, has a unique pattern of development. This pattern is generally the same for all individuals. In prenatal development, there is a genetic sequence with fixed intervals and specific characteristics. Development during both prenatal and postnatal stages follows a directional sequence, either from head to foot or from the central axis to the extremities.
  3. Generality to Specificity: Development progresses from general to specific. In all areas of development, general activities precede specific activities. For example, a fetus moves its whole body before making specific responses. Infants wave their arms randomly before reaching out for objects near them. In language development, genetic sounds emerge first, followed by words and then specific sentences with meaning. Emotional behavior also starts with a general fear response and becomes more specific over time.
  4. Differentiality: The tempo of development varies among individuals. Different individuals, including boys and girls, have different rates of growth and development. Each part of the body has its own rate of growth. Development does not occur at a steady pace but involves periods of intensity, equilibrium, and imbalance. Development reaches plateaus at different levels. Changes in physical and mental traits are not uniform, with variations in the rates of development. Some abilities develop earlier than others, such as creative imagination in childhood and reasoning skills, which develop more slowly.

Stages of Human Development

stages of development

The process of development continues even after the individual has attained physical maturity. The individual continues to change as he or she interacts with the environment.

The stages of development have been classified as

Infancy stage(0-2)

This is the first growth stage after pre-natal from newborn to 2 years old. The infant completely depends on the parents (caregivers). In this stage, physical development is mostly seen as increasing in size, shape and weight.

 Childhood Stage

 Childhood stage is divided into two stages: Early Childhood and Late Childhood.

  • Childhood stage or toy age (2 to 6 years)
    • It is a sensitive period of language development where children can interact effectively with others.
    • At this stage, growth is seen in all areas of development.
    • children like to work independently and can take care of themselves 
  • Later childhood stage (6-12)
    •  The child learns new skills and refines previously learned skills.
    • The child learns social skills through peers and family that help them to make healthy adult relationships
    • Best friends are important at this stage.

Adolescence stage(12-18)

  • This is the transitional period between childhood and adulthood.
  • This stage is considered the period of development and adjustment. It generally begins as an individual reaches sexual maturity and ends when the individual has established an identity as an adult within his social context.
  • It is an important period of cognitive and emotional development.
  • Mood swings are characteristic of adolescence.
  • At this stage, adolescence tries to explore new ideas, values, roles, a new way of thinking and behaving patterns.

Adulthood Stage(18-65+)

  • For a better understanding of adulthood, it can be divided into the following stages
    • Early Adulthood(18 to 25 years)
      • In this stage, the relationships become more independent and explore various life possibilities
    • Young Adulthood (25 to 40 years)
      • At this stage, the strength and physical performance reach their peak. Young adulthood is filled with intimate relationships and commitment to career and life goals.
    • Mature adulthood (40-65 years)
      • The body’s flexibility may decrease with age throughout adulthood.
    • Aging Adulthood (65 + years)
      • It is also called late adulthood. At this stage, various physiological changes may occur, and a decrease in the rate of brain and neural processes is generally seen.

Learning And Its Relationship With Development

Learning and development are intricately linked and play a crucial role in growth. Learning refers to the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, and attitudes, while development is the process of growth and change that occurs over time.

Learning is a fundamental aspect of development as it provides us with the tools and knowledge we need to grow and change. Through learning, we acquire new skills and knowledge that help us to adapt to new situations and challenges. This, in turn, helps us to develop new perspectives, attitudes, and behaviours.


Learning is a process of acquiring or modification of existing knowledge, skills, habits or tendencies through experience and practice. According to various psychologists, learning is defined as

  • Gates and others “Learning is the modification of behaviour through experience”.
  • Skinner “Learning is the process of progressive behaviour adaptation”.
  • Munn,” To learn is to modify behaviour and experience”.
  • Crow and Crow “Learning involves, the acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitudes.

Relationship between Learning and Development

Learning and development are closely connected processes that influence each other. When we learn new things, our development improves, making us ready for new challenges. And as we develop, we become better at learning and incorporating new knowledge into our lives.

Development involves changes and growth that occur over time, covering various aspects like physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language development. Learning, on the other hand, is acquiring new knowledge and skills through different means like instruction or experiences.

The relationship between learning and development is evident in how they support each other. For example, when children explore and interact with their environment, they learn new things and enhance their development. Learning also helps children think more creatively and solve complex problems, contributing to their overall growth.

This connection between learning and development is valuable for teachers. By understanding this relationship, teachers can design learning experiences that align with students’ needs and stages of development, promoting effective learning and growth.

Here are some specific examples of how development and learning are linked:

  • Physical development: Physical development is essential for learning. Physical skills and coordination are necessary to participate in activities that promote learning, like playing sports, using tools, and writing.
  • Cognitive development: Cognitive development is the development of thinking skills. It is the ability to understand and learn new information, like the ability to pay attention, remember things, and solve problems.
  • Social-emotional development: The development of social-emotional skills helps to interact with others, The ability to share, cooperate, and resolve conflicts.
  • Language development: It is the ability to use language to communicate in order to learn from others, like the ability to understand and use words, ask questions, and follow directions.

The relationship between learning and development is influenced by various factors, including experiences, environment, and personal characteristics. Our experiences and the opportunities we have for learning play a vital role in our development. The environment we are exposed to, such as our family, peers, and culture, also shapes our attitudes and beliefs, which in turn impact our learning and development.

Here are some important points to note about learning and development:

  1. Learning and development are distinct psychological processes. Development involves the overall acquisition and organization of knowledge structures, while learning is triggered by specific situations or teachers.
  2. Learning stimulates the development process through social interactions with peers and teachers. These interactions provide valuable opportunities for growth.
  3. Isolation can hinder learning since it restricts the necessary interaction with the environment and others. Social engagement is vital for effective learning.
  4. Learning and development are interdependent. As children grow, they actively explore their surroundings and engage with new environments. This exploration contributes to their mental and behavioral development.
  5. To optimize learning and development, it is important to identify our strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and actively seek out opportunities for growth. By doing so, we can enhance our knowledge, skills, and abilities, and achieve the outcomes we desire.


The role of the teacher in facilitating growth and development is crucial. While our knowledge about children is vast, there is always more to learn. As a teacher, it’s important to stay updated on the challenges children face in today’s media-driven world, economic changes, and evolving social and cultural values. This knowledge helps in diagnosing their needs accurately and applying principles of child psychology to support their adjustment with themselves and the world.

To effectively fulfill your role, you should understand the physical, social, and emotional needs of your students. Your relationship with them should extend beyond formal teacher-student interactions. It is particularly important to approach students who may be part of a drug sub-culture or heading towards socially undesirable paths with empathy. Acknowledging and helping students navigate physical and biological changes is essential for their smooth transition without any psychological disadvantages.

Creating challenging conditions that encourage the coordination of physical, mental, and other functions is crucial for preparing students to face various life situations. You should aim to elicit effective and desirable responses while preventing or eliminating ineffective or undesirable ones. Designing conditions that make desirable responses satisfying and non-annoying can be helpful, while administering punishment judiciously to avoid negative reactions.

Teaching students self-direction and self-control is vital. When guiding them, consider the following points:

  • Encourage student self-control and guidance under your supervision.
  • Avoid excessive punishment, as it may hinder the development of leadership skills.
  • Harsh, strict, and unsympathetic control, with no room for self-control and self-direction, is detrimental to students’ mental health and adjustment.
  • Provide proper guidance, rational adjustments, and principles of autonomy to help students navigate the challenging period of adolescence.

During adolescence, students reach higher levels of education. As a teacher, it’s important to acquire adequate knowledge and skills to address their emotional and social needs. Understand that students at this stage may question established norms, rules, and authority. Be prepared to provide explanations and rationale for beliefs and values they challenge. Offer guidance to help them make informed decisions and provide supportive judgments that foster self-confidence and self-assurance.

There is a wide range of individual differences in mental ability among adolescents. To cater to their curricular and instructional needs effectively, consider using classification plans to create homogeneous groups based on significant abilities and achievements.

It is worth noting that the presence of others can either facilitate or hinder a student’s performance, depending on the task and the individual. As a teacher, assess the social dynamics of the class as a unit and understand your students’ personality traits. Adjust your approach accordingly to facilitate their growth and development in a supportive and effective manner.


Having studied the concept of human growth and development, as well as the characteristics and stages of development, you understand the importance of approaching it scientifically. One significant period in development is adolescence, which serves as a transitional phase between childhood and adulthood. However, this stage brings forth its own set of challenges and problems.

Adolescents often find themselves in an ambiguous position, not fully recognized as children nor as adults. They are prone to rebel against authority figures and question established norms. These characteristics have a direct impact on the instructional process and require specific attention to address their unique problems.

As a teacher, it is essential to be aware of these challenges and understand how they affect the learning environment. You play a crucial role in helping adolescents navigate through this phase and fostering the development of a well-rounded personality. By addressing their needs and problems, you can create a better understanding of their individual circumstances.

By acknowledging the challenges that adolescents face, you can adapt your teaching methods to cater to their specific requirements. Providing a supportive and understanding environment, while also establishing clear boundaries, can contribute to their overall development. Being patient, empathetic, and encouraging open communication can help you build strong relationships with your students and gain their trust.

Understanding the unique needs of adolescents allows you to design instructional strategies that promote their intellectual, emotional, and social growth. Offering guidance, setting realistic expectations, and providing opportunities for self-expression and independent thinking can empower them during this critical period of their lives.

In summary, as a teacher, your role is to recognize the characteristics and challenges that adolescents experience during their development. By understanding their needs and problems, you can create a supportive learning environment that fosters their growth and helps them develop into well-adjusted individuals.

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