growth and development



The role of a teacher is vital today. There is a huge difference between a teacher-centered education and a child-centered education.

In teacher-centered education, the process of learning depends on the interest of a teacher, but in child-centered education, the learning process depends according to on the need of a child.

That needs a teacher to understand the basic concept of Growth and Development.

It is not an easy task to understand the need for a child, though their needs are quite psychic in nature. Their attitudes, aptitudes, interests, etc. changes from stage to stage.

So a teacher should know the basic concept of Growth and development. As well as he has to understand the chief characteristics of the stages of growth and development of a human being.

The human child grows and develops passing through different formative stages one after another. At each such formative stage, he exhibits different unique characteristics that are generally not found in other stages.

At each stage, the child undergoes a series of structural and functional changes spontaneously. According to Dr.Ernest Jones, human development takes place in four well-defined stages:

1.Infancy from birth to 5 years,

2.Childhood from 5 to 12 years,

3.Adolescence from 13 to 19 years,

4.Adulthood from 19 onwards.

There are different views regarding the ages up to which infancy lasts and maturity begins. Some psychologists regard infancy to last up to seven years and late adolescence to continue up to 21 years.

Whatever may be the demarcation, it must clearly be kept in mind that these stages are not rigid by any means. Before we discuss the characteristics of adolescence let us first discuss in brief the characteristics of infancy and childhood.


Rapid physical growth takes place in this stage. Psychologists attach great importance to this period because the roots of many of the future traits and characteristics are laid during this period.

Some of the experiences both pleasant and unpleasant, acquired during this period last in the memory during the whole life.

By looking at a young child, many people conjecture about the shape of the future growth of his personality. The body and nervous system develop very fast during this period.

Responses to various stimuli are general in nature. The baby starts imitating others through play. As the baby grows his mental development proceeds. further, he develops the power of reasoning, memory, and recognition.

He begins recognization and memorization of many things. And the parents at a time surprise at his behavior. The baby gradually shows such emotions as fear, anger, wonder, love, and affection.

He expresses displeasure if someone misbehaves with his mother, father, and near and dear ones.


This period ranges from four to twelve years of age. From a physical point of view, childhood is a period of consolidation. Therefore, the growth during childhood is not so rapid as during infancy.

During this period the health is generally better. The child gains much more physical strength than before. Now the child engages himself in different types of play activities that strengthen his limbs and he acquires better adjustment power of the same.

During childhood, the physical growth of a girl is better than that of a boy. During childhood, the power of imitation is also very active. The child is now prone to do and say many things as his elders do.

The environmental influences have a great impact on the nature of his construction. During childhood, his plays refer to his consciousness of actual life situations, but at times his plays are also imaginative in nature.

Now the child is more interested in group plays. So he joins some groups. He learns some control over his emotional expressions. The spirit of self-dependence becomes stronger in him day by day.

He wants freedom and resents interference in his activities. By the end of childhood, he is able to imbibe standards of morality for different situations in life.


Adolescence is normally a period between thirteen and nineteen years of age. Therefore, it is also called teenage. It may be noted that the start of adolescence may differ in various climates.

It starts late in cold climates and earlier in tropical regions. adolescence is the most important period of life.

During this stage, the child reaches maximum growth and development. The word adolescence comes from the Greek word ‘adolescere’ which means ‘to grow to maturity.’

According to A. T. Jersild, “Adolescence is that span of years during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.”

Adolescence is a period of stress and strain. The adjustment becomes more complex for adolescent boys and girls.

Thought there a rapid change occurred in growth, emotion, fear, internal organs, etc in many dimensions of the child. A teacher must understand the stage of the adolescent.

That’s why I mentioned the heading of this topic as “Growth and Development- The basic concept for a Teacher”. In keeping the view of its critical nature, a precise note will be discussed for this stage of adolescence, in the next chapter.


Pre-adulthood Begins in the late teens/the early 20s. In this stage a person tries to establish personal and economic independence, He also tries to develop his career.

Adults gain knowledge, but ways of thinking are the same as those of adolescents. Thinking in early adulthood becomes more realistic and pragmatic.

He emphasizes Identity exploration, especially in love and works. The adult selects a mate, learns how to live with someone in an intimate way, starts a family, and rear children.

Then Middle adulthood – a period from 40 years of age to about 60. After the 60s, till the end, the stage is called post adulthood.

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