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Process of Development

Development Process

Growth And Development - Development is a multifacet process, while growth indicates towards physical development. According to the Frank; changes in body and behaviour called growth and the change in the light of time is called development.

Following are the differences between development and growth-


  • Development is a composite process while growth denotes only physical development.
  • Growth means the development of body, its various organs, weight, height, length, Development means the change in individual according the various stages of time.
  • Development is wider and growth is narrow. Development indicates towards die efficiency of the various organs.
  • Growth can be measured. Development can be seen through the changes in day to day activities.
The Development of the individual implies the growth of the individual from the moment of conception to the attainment of full maturity.


Munroe refers to this development as “the series of change which an organism undergoes in passing from embryonic state to maturity.


Development does not mean only growing older or increasing in height or weight. It implies a progress towards maturity through definite stages.

Principles of Development

Specific Principles of Development


  1. From general to particular - The basis of the principle is that the child develops from a general state, and that this development takes place in a particular direction. Initially, the child uses his whole hand as a unit, and he gradually learns to manipulate the fingers individually.
  2. The cephaulocandal principle - Proponents of this view hold that the process of development has its start in the head. Even in the embryonic state, it is the head which develops first of all. The limbs and the torso develop after the head has developed. And, after birth, it is the head which the child first learn to move in various directions. He tries to lift up his head first of all, and learn to sit up and walk only subsequently.
  3. The ProximodigitaS principle - According to the scientists adhering to this theory, the centre of the developmental process is the nervous system. They argue that it is the nervous system which develops first of all. After this, the organs nearest the nervous system - the heart, chest, elbow, etc., undergo development. Fingers and other relatively remote parts of the body develop after this.
  4. Unified process - The notion of a child’s development does not imply bodily development only because the personality achieves maturity and completeness only when mental, emotional and social development also take place. A child who is eight years of age is physiological organisimic age according to which a child who is eight years of age in physiological terms may be twelve years from the view point of mental level. From the emotional viewpoint, the same child may be fourteen years of age. Hence, development is a concept which cannot be restricted within certain prefixed limits, it is a unified process.
  5. The principle of variation - The rate of development is never uniform. Development continues throughout life and varying rates because, in infancy, the rate of development or growth is quite rapid, whereas it slows down in a notable way during childhood. In adolescence its rate increases once again and . then the individual attains maturity. Besides, girls and boys, too, do not grow at the same rate. This difference is found not only between the two sexes, but also between individual members of the same sex.
  6. A continuous process - The process of growth begins with birth and ends only with death.
  7. Uniform patterns of development process - Scientists holding this view say that, in a race, the process of development is guided or determined by uniform patterns. Irrespective of whether an individual is born in U.SA. or in India, his physiological, mental, emotional and linguistic development take place according to the same pattern.

Educational Importance of Principles of Development


  1. Feelings of expectation - The knowledge of developmental theories helps the teacher to know what should be expected from the child at various stages of development. If we expect adults, behaviour from child, his development will be blocked.
  2. Opportunities of trials - What type of changes are being occurred among children; this knowledge can provide them right direction and by providing proper environment, their development can be done.
  3. Determining the future behaviour - After seeing the various forms of development, children’s future shape of their development can be determined by the teachers and parents.

Stages of Development

Scholars have held widely different opinions about the stages through which individual development passes. At this point, we are putting forward the classifications offered by some leading scholars.
Celley has classified the developmental process into the following stages-

  1. Infancy- 1 to 5 years 
  2. Childhood- 5 to 12 years
  3. Adolescence- 12 to 18 years

Ross has classified development into the following stages-

  1. Infancy- 1 to 3 years 
  2. Early childhood- 3 to 6 years
  3. Later childhood- 6 to 12 years 
  4. Adolescence- 12 to 18 years

For convenience of study, we will classify the developmental process of an individual as follows -

  1. Prenatal period- from conception till birth 
  2. Infancy- from birth to an age of 5 years
  3. Childhood- 6 to 12 years of age
  4. Adolescence- 12 to 19 years of age


Development: Process and Form
Development takes the following forms -

  1. Physical growth and development. 
  2. Mental growth and development.
  3. Emotional growth and development. 
  4. Social growth and development.
  5. Motor development 
  6. Language development

Physical Growth and Development

Physical growth starts when the union of sperm with ovum takes place. Generally, full growth of the human body completes at the adolescent stage. How this growth and development take place, is discussed in the following lines.

1. Physical Development in Prenatal Period -
The process of the child’s birth can be divided into the following three parts, for convenience -

(a) the period of the ovum,
(b) the period of the embryo, and
(c) the period of the fetus.

The child’s birth is the outcome of this complex process which occupies a period of 9 calendar months, or 10 lunar months or 280 days, although, in abnormal conditions, the minimum period can be a low as seven months and the maximum 334 days.

2. Physical Development During Infancy Period -
 At the time of birth, the child’s weight is usually between 5 to 8 pounds, while its height is about 20 inches. Boys usually have half an inch of height more than girls at this time whereas girls are usually slightly heavier than boys. In six or seven months, the child begins to grow its temporary of’milk’ teeth, while the permanent teeth begin to appear to the age of 5 years. Similarly, the brain also growing rapidly and from a weight 350 gms. at birth, it becomes twice as much within two years while by the sixth year, it reaches the weight of 1260 gms.


3. Physical Development During Childhood -
 By the age of 12, the increase in height takes place at a relatively faster pace. In childhood, girls generally have less height and weight than boys. At the age of 10, the brain weight 1/8* of the body weight, and from the viewpoint of weight, the brain attains its maturity by this time.

  • Height - At the time of birth, a child has a height of approximately 20 inches, with boys being about half an inch taller than girls. In the 10 to 14 age group, girls undergo rapid physical development. Today it has become possible to forecast the maximum height a child is likely to attain by an x-ray study of the bones and the wrist of the child. As far as the increase in height is concerned, considerable difference and variation are found between the two sexes. At 12 year of age, girls often appear taller than boys, Boys attain their maximum height by the age of 21.
  • Weight - At birth, a child usually has a weight from three to eight pounds, and most children go through the equal increase in weight. By the end of the first year, the weight of a child’s body is twice its weight at birth, at the age of 5 years five times this initial weight.
  • Head - After birth, the head growth in a proportionate fashion. At birth, the head is 22% of the entire body in size.
  • Bones - At birth, the child has 270 bones, but when the individual becomes physically mature, he has 350 bones; later on, however, when the individual approaches complete maturity, the number of bones declines to 206. The infant’s bones have considerable flexibility, which enables him to suck even his big toe. This hardness is brought about by a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland.
  • Teeth - Children are first endowed with temporary or ‘milk’ teeth; these are later replaced by the permanent teeth. The temporary teeth are 20 in number, whereas the permanent teeth are 32.
  • Internal organs - In childhood, the heart is between 120 to 140 beats per minute, but in adulthood, it decreases to 72 per minute.
4. Physical Development During Adolescence:- Adolescence is the most complex stage in the development of personality. In the adolescent period, the teeth, too, become permanent, and even in this aspect, the girls steal a march over the boys. Cattle made a study of 12000 adolescents in 1928 and concluded that the permanent teeth emerge earlier in the case of girls than in the case of boys. The most immediately noticeable change in adolescence is the appearance of hair on various parts of the body. Hair does not grow on the chest or chin of a girl, but in some exceptional cases, girls with mustaches and beards can be seen, which is actually the result of the malfunctioning of some ductless glands.

Mental Development

Certain patterned responses are inherent in mental development. In this, behaviour becomes manifest through association and reaction. In the child’s responses, sensation, perception, memory, imagination and reasoning manifest its mental behaviour.
  1. Mental Development During Infancy - In infancy, the sense organs form the major source of mental development. The child perceives every object in the environment and tries to recognise and identify it. He comes into contact with members of the family and his own toys. At this stage, mental growth is very rapid. By the age of three years, the foundation for the potential growth of the individual is already firmly laid.

  2. Mental Development During Childhood - Even in childhood, mental growth continues at a rapid pace. At this stage, reflex actions and instincts develop in the child. The child seeks to satisfy his insatiable curiosity by asking an infinite variety of questions of his parents. His interests also grow in number and extents. He develops an interest in reading short and interesting stories.

  3. Mental Development During Adolescence - In adolescence, the mental development of the child requires proper guidance. At this stage, parents and teachers must fulfil the very important responsibility of giving a sense of direction to the child after determining the level of the adolescent’s mental growth. In adolescents, mental growth is indicated by the following factors:-
  • Concentration - In adolescence, the individual develops the .capacity to concentrate attention upon any object or subject and to indulge in abstract thinking. The impishness of childhood disappears and is replaced by seriousness. The individual is less prone to be distracted by external circumstances, and hence his concentration is not so easily disturbed as it is in the case of the child.
  • Retention - The adolescent has a developed memory, and the capacity for permanent retention also increases. Girls usually develop a superior capacity to cram, as compared to boys.
  • Imagination - In this stage, imagination develops considerably and it is on the basis of imagination that the adolescent develops his internal powers. There is a noticeable increase in daydreaming. The power of imagination is relatively better developed in boys than in girls.
  • Reasoning Power - Because of the growth of rational thought, the adolescent refuses to accept anything illogical. He displays a strong tendency to ask questions on every possible issue.

Emotional Development

    1. Emotional Development During Infancy - At birth, the child does not posses any emotions. He experiences and responds to sensations only. This is because of sensation that the child begins to experience some measure of pain within the first month of its existence. The feeling of pleasure also arises from sensation. Bridges studied emotions in children and in 1932 demonstrated that emotions display themselves in the following orders:

      Age - Emotions
      Birth - excitement
      1 month - distress, pleasure
      3 months - anger
      4 months - worry
      5 months - fear
      10 months - affection
      15 months - jealousy
      2 year - happiness

      Almost all emotions become fully developed by the age of two years. Psychologists accepts three main emotions- (i) Love, (ii) Fear, and (iii) Anger.
    2. Emotional Development During Childhood - In childhood, the child expresses the emotions developed in infancy. But, in addition, the child also develops the tendency to repress others and to oppose them. When forbidden by his parents from doing something, the child avoids doing it in their presence. He does not even speak of it, but does it when he is not being watched. On being caught, he begins telling lies.

      Cole and Bruce stated childhood a peculiar stage of emotional development. Stability comes during this period. Child tries to control over fear and anger and starts sociability.
       
    3. Emotional Development During Adolescence - Adolescents find it difficult to control their emotions. Their emotional development is influenced by their very significant bodily growth in this period. Adolescents with healthy bodies do not exhibit any marked emotional instability. However, it remains a fact that, in adolescence, the individual is neither a child nor an adult. The adults do not count him as one of themselves, the children consider him too old to share with their activities, and in consequence, he faces continuous problems of adjustment. Adolescents show a marked tendency to become angry quickly. They are often seen quarreling with their parents, companions and other people. Interestingly, the patriotic sentiment, too, is at its peak at this stage of life.

    Social Development

    1. Social Development During Infancy - Initially, the mother alone constitutes the child’s entire society because in the first four or five weeks of his life, her face is the one he sees most often and gradually comes to recognize. In three or four months, the child’s social tendency begins to develop as a result of which the crying or laughing child falls silent upon seeing a stranger.
    2. Social Development During Childhood - The beginning of childhood marks the formal entrance of the child in social life. It is in childhood that moves out of the home and goes to school, where he sees many other children like himself. It is here that he develops the tendency towards gregariousness, towards forming groups and becoming a member of gangs. Friendliness begins-to manifest itself. Girls and boys prefer to play, their separate games. The quality of leadership also begins to develop.
    3. Social Development During Adolescence - Because of the powerful manifestation of the sex drive in adolescence, girls and boys like to meet and talk to each other and to participate jointly in social activities.

    Motor Development

    Very soon after birth, the child begins to chum its legs, fling its little arms and to turn its neck this way and that. In this way he begins to control his muscles. This development of physical activity is called motor development.
    1. Motor Development During Infancy - By the age of 2 years, the child is capable of using his hands and feet with considerable success, and at 3 years of age, he develops the capacity to draw lines with a pencil.
    2. Motor Development During Adolescence - Motor development achieves its peak in adolescence, and because of this, he develops the power of adjustment in his behaviour.

    Language Development

    1. Language Development During Infancy - At the moment of birth, the child usually lets out a cry, and this is the first sound it makes in his life. At this time, the child knows neither consonants nor vowels. Up to the age of 25 months, the various sounds produced by the child are dominated by vowels. At the age of 10 months, the child usually speaks his first word, and then repeats it very frequently. In the first year, it is quite difficult to understand the child’s language.
    2. Language Development During Childhood - Children undergo an increase in their rate of learning as they grow older, and thus the time span for every activity becomes gradually less and less. In childhood, the child learns everything from single words to construction of sentences.
    3. Language Development During Adolescence - Adolescents develops interest in reading literature. The growth of their imagination turns them towards poetry, stories and painting, with the result that they express their feelings through these media. Adolescents also develop their vocabulary at a rapid rate. Adolescents often develop a ‘code’ language, which is written through the medium of certain signs or symbols, the meaning of which is known only to individuals familiar with the code.

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