# Meaning, Nature, Characteristics, Principles and Stages of Human Development

By human development is meant those changes that occur in his physical and mental behaviour beside his growth. We are aware that human growth ceases

## Meaning and Definitions of Human Development

Generally, human growth and human development are taken as synonymous terms, but there is a distinction between the both. By human Growth is meant the growth in the external and internal organs of the body, while by human development is meant those changes that occur in his physical and mental behaviour beside his growth. We are aware that human growth ceases after attaining maturity, but continuous change occurs in his physical and mental behaviour.

## Definitions of Development

1. According to Hurlock, "Development is not limited to growing larger instead, it consists of progressive series of changes toward the goal of maturity. Development results in few characteristics and new abilities on the part of the individual."

2. According to A. Angyal, "Development cannot be considered in terms of he mind alone but rather in terms of the individual as a whole in relationship with his experience with others. Thus, development is concerned with the biological total process taking place in the subject-object interrelation".

3. According to G. W. Allport, "The developing individual cannot be thought of as a thing in himself. Development, in so far as it is considered to be produced from within the individual himself alone, is only a convenient abstraction".

In our view, the development process should be defined as follows:

Human development is a continuous and progressive process by which quantitative and qualitative growth occurs in man, new abilities and characteristics become manifested and there occurs progressive change in his behaviour.

## Nature and Characteristics of Human Development

1. Human development is natural and social process.
2. Human development process continues from birth till death.
3. Human development includes quantitative as well as qualitative development, which is always of upward nature.
4. Human development takes place in a particular sequence and the rate of development is different at different levels of age.
5. Human development depends upon heredity and environment both, and the role of education in the environmental factors is of most significance.
6. There is no limit of human development.
7. The quantitative development can be measured in mathematicni units but qualitative development can not be measured so exactly.
8. Human development behaviour is the result of growth ante learning.
9. Human development is gradual. It takes time.
10. Human development follows a sequence. The child crawls befor he creeps, stand before, he walks, babbles before he utters word.
11. Human development has interaction among different aspects.
12. Human development is not uniform in all individuals.
13. Human development depends both on heredity and environment.

## Stages of Human Development

Human development is a continuous process. As far as his physics growth is concerned, it ceases after having attained maturity, but the development of his psychophysical activities continues, and his mental, linguistic, emotional, social and character development keeps taking place. All this development takes place in different forms during different stages of age. Different scholars have classified different stages of human development in different forms. Indian thinkers have divided the stages of human development into seven stages. Even today, human development is divided into these seven stages in India. These seven stage are:

1. Pregnancy - conception to birth
2. Infancy - birth to 5 years
3. Childhood - 5 to 12 years
4. Adolescence - 12 to 18 years
5. Youth - 18 to 25 years
6. Adulthood - 25 years to 55 years
7. Old age - 55 years till death

The western psychologist, Kolesnik has divided the process of human development into eight stages:

1. Prenatal period - conception to birth
2. Neonatal period - birth to 3-4 weeks
3. Early infancy - 1 month to 15 months
4. Late infancy - 15 to 30 months
5. Early childhood - 2frac{1}{2} to 5 years
6. Middle childhood - 5 to 9 years
7. Late childhood - 9 to 12 years
8. Adolescence - 12 to 21 years

Ross has divided the process of human development into only four stages:

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

## Principles of Human Development

Psychologists have studied the process of human development very closely and have presented the facts revealed by the generalization of its development sequence in the form of theories. Following are the main principles of human development-

(1). Principles of Continuous Development:- Psychologists uncovered the fact that human development is a continuous process which continues from birth to death and no development in it happens suddenly, but gradually. According to Skinner, "The theory of continuity of developmental processes merely emphasizes the fact that there is no sudden change in the individual."

(2). Principle of General Pattern:- Harlok has explained this principle in such a way that every race, whether it is animal race or human race, follows the pattern of development according to its species.

(3). Principles of Evolution Sequence:- Psychologists like Shirley and Gesell made it clear through experiment that human development takes place in a certain order. For example, at the time of birth, a human makes only the sound of crying, after that he hears the sound of those who come in contact with him and tries to speak by imitating the sounds heard. When the language is learned to speak, it is taught to read and write the language respectively.

(4). Principle of Integration:- Psychologists also clarified that the development of man is from full to part and then from part to full. He has propounded this fact as the principle of integration.

(5). Principles of Interaction of Heredity and Environment:- There are two basic factors of human development - one inheritance (heredity, heredity) and the other environment (environment, environment). Inheritance refers to the qualities that a child inherits from his offspring and the genes of his parents and his environment refers to the natural and social environment in which he lives and develops himself.

## Types of Development

1. Physical Growth and Development:- During adolescence, the physical growth and development reaches to its peak and human body finds its final shape. The maximum limit with regard to increase in size, weight and height is achieved. Bones and muscles increase to the greatest possible extent leading to a great increase in our activity. The growth and function of all other outer and inner organs also reaches to its maximum and almost all the glands become extremely active at this stage.

2. Cognitive or Intellectual Development:- Adolescence is the period of maximum growth and development with regard to mental functioning. Intelligence reaches its climax during this period. Intellectual powers like logical thinking, abstract reasoning and concentration are almost developed up to the end of this period. An adolescent learns to reason and seeks answer to how and why of everything, scientifically. His power of critical thinking and observation is much developed. He does not try to follow the beaten track. He is almost critical of everything. He develops a fine imagination. Writers, artists, poets, philosophers, and inventors are all born in this period. Improper channelisation of imagination and dissatisfied needs may turn at adolescent into daydreaming. Therefore, a great care to be taken for properly cultivating their power of imagination.

3. Social Development:- Adolescence is the period of increased social relationships and contacts. Whereas a child cares very little for the society, and adolescent develops a good amount of social sense. He ceases to be egocentric, selfish and unsocial. Now he wants to mould his behaviour according to the norms of the society.

Another significant change in the social aspect of the child during adolescence lies in the relationships with his parents and the family. Now there is a craving for independence. He wants that his personality should be recognized by the parents and elderly members of the family. He must not be treated as, a child, he gives more importance to the values and beliefs maintained by his peer group than the advice of his parents. There may even be hidden or open rebellion, if the parents try to impose their opinion and values on their adolescent children.

4. Emotional Development:- Emotional development reaches its maximum during adolescence. it is the period of heightening of all emotions like anxiety, fear, love, anger etc. Once again like an infant an individual experiences emotional instability and intensity during adolescence. The physical growth and development being maximum, the strength of the boys give opportunity for maximum motor activity. Therefore, in matter of emotional expression and experiences the adolescence provides the highest peak. At no stage the child is so restless and emotionally perturbed and touchy as in adolescence. He is too sensitive, inflammable and moody. In the words of Ross, The adolescent lives an intensely emotional life, in which we can see once more the rhythm of positive and negative phases of behaviour in his constant alternation between intense excitement and deep depression." That is why the period is often designated as a period of stresses and strains.

5. Moral and Religious Development:- With the development of social and civic sense, the children during the period learn to behave according to the norms of their society and culture. Also the group sense makes to follow some moral or ethical code. It prepares a stage of proper moral development. The formation of strong sentiments during this period intensifies the process of moral development. The character by which we know a person in his life, to a great extent, is the product of the experiences, gained, complexes formed and sentiments made during this Age.