Unit III: Major Aspects of Development

3.1 Physical and Motor Development: meaning, growth and maturation, gross and fine motor development skills in infancy and pre-school children

3.2 Social Development: meaning, significance, stages, psycho-social development

3.3 Emotional Development: meaning, development of emotions at different stages

3.4 Personality Development: meaning, definition and factors affecting

3.5 Language Development: meaning and significance, bilingual and multilingual language situations, implications for teachers









3.1 Physical and Motor Development: meaning, growth and maturation, gross and fine motor development skills in infancy and pre-school children

It is important to know how children develop physically because physical development influences children’s behaviour directly by determining what they can do and indirectly their attitudes towards self and others. Physical development involves changes in body size and body proportions which is measured in terms of height and weight.  The physical development involves growth of bones, fat muscle, teeth, puberty changes of primary and secondary characteristics and neurological development.


Motor development refers to the development of a child’s bones, muscles and ability to move around and manipulate his or her environment. Motor development can be divided into two sections: gross motor development and fine motor development.

·        Gross motor development involves the development of the large muscles in the child’s body. These muscles allow us to sit, stand, walk and run, among other activities.

·        Fine motor development involves the small muscles of the body, especially in the hand.

·        Motor development also involves how well children’s muscles work. This is referred to as muscle tone. Children need a balanced muscle tone in order to develop their muscles and use them with ease when standing, sitting, rolling, walking, running, swimming and all other other postures and actions.

·        The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and allows the body to maintain balance.

·        The proprioceptive system involves the inner ear, the muscles, joints and tendons. It allows the body to understand where it’s located. Maintaining balance and posture and having coordinated movements are only possible if the proprioceptive system is functioning well.

The typical development of a child’s motor skills usually follows a predictable order or sequence.

·        Development occurs from the inner body to the outer body. This means that children usually develop or gain control over their arms before they develop or gain control over their fingers.

·        Development also starts from top to bottom. Children need to control their head first, then they will gain control over their legs and feet.


Physical Maturation

As the name suggests it indicates the physical development and growth that we go through as we get older. A child goes through some very distinct physical maturity as they progress through all their development stages. For example, in the early stages of development, a child depends on reflexes majorly. Then as they age, they develop their motor skills and coordination. They also grow taller and add more weight as they develop. Their body goes through hormonal changes as they leave adolescence and enter early adulthood.

Early Childhood (Birth to Eight Years)

Early childhood is a time of tremendous growth across all areas of development. The dependent newborn grows into a young person who can take care of his or her own body and interact effectively with others. For these reasons, the primary developmental task of this stage is skill development.

Physically, between birth and age three a child typically doubles in height and quadruples in weight. Bodily proportions also shift, so that the infant, whose head accounts for almost one-fourth of total body length, becomes a toddler with a more balanced, adult-like appearance. Despite these rapid physical changes, the typical three-year-old has mastered many skills, including sitting, walking, toilet training, using a spoon, scribbling, and sufficient hand-eye coordination to catch and throw a ball.

Between three and five years of age, children continue to grow rapidly and begin to develop fine-motor skills. By age five most children demonstrate fairly good control of pencils, crayons, and scissors. Gross motor accomplishments may include the ability to skip and balance on one foot. Physical growth slows down between five and eight years of age, while body proportions and motor skills become more refined.

Physical changes in early childhood are accompanied by rapid changes in the child's cognitive and language development. From the moment they are born, children use all their senses to attend to their environment, and they begin to develop a sense of cause and effect from their actions and the responses of caregivers.

Middle Childhood (Eight to Twelve Years)

Historically, middle childhood has not been considered an important stage in human development. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory labeled this period of life the latency stage, a time when sexual and aggressive urges are repressed. Freud suggested that no significant contributions to personality development were made during this period. However, more recent theorists have recognized the importance of middle childhood for the development of cognitive skills, personality, motivation, and inter-personal relationships. During middle childhood children learn the values of their societies. Thus, the primary developmental task of middle childhood could be called integration, both in terms of development within the individual and of the individual within the social context.

Perhaps supporting the image of middle childhood as a latency stage, physical development during middle childhood is less dramatic than in early childhood or adolescence. Growth is slow and steady until the onset of puberty, when individuals begin to develop at a much quicker pace. The age at which individuals enter puberty varies, but there is evidence of a secular trend–the age at which puberty begins has been decreasing over time. In some individuals, puberty may start as early as age eight or nine. Onset of puberty differs across gender and begins earlier in females.

Adolescence (Twelve to Eighteen Years)

Adolescence can be defined in a variety of ways: physiologically, culturally, cognitively; each way suggests a slightly different definition. For the purpose of this discussion adolescence is defined as a culturally constructed period that generally begins as individuals reach sexual maturity and ends when the individual has established an identity as an adult within his or her social context. In many cultures adolescence may not exist, or may be very short, because the attainment of sexual maturity coincides with entry into the adult world. In the current culture of the United States, however, adolescence may last well into the early twenties. The primary developmental task of adolescence is identity formation.

The adolescent years are another period of accelerated growth. Individuals can grow up to four inches and gain eight to ten pounds per year. This growth spurt is most often characterized by two years of fast growth, followed by three or more years of slow, steady growth. By the end of adolescence, individuals may gain a total of seven to nine inches in height and as much as forty or fifty pounds in weight. The timing of this growth spurt is not highly predictable; it varies across both individuals and gender. In general, females begin to develop earlier than do males.

Sexual maturation is one of the most significant developments during this time. Like physical development, there is significant variability in the age at which individuals attain sexual maturity. Females tend to mature at about age thirteen, and males at about fifteen. Development during this period is governed by the pituitary gland through the release of the hormones testosterone (males) and estrogen (females).

3.2 Social Development: meaning, significance, stages, psycho-social development

Social Development refers to how people develop social and emotional skills across the lifespan, with particular attention to childhood and adolescence. Healthy social development allows us to form positive relationships with family, friends, teachers, and other people in our lives. As we mature, we learn to better manage our own feelings and needs and to respond appropriately to the feelings and needs of others.

Social development can be effected by a child’s personality, the opportunities they have for social interaction, behaviors learned from parents, and developmental disorders. For example, a child who has a short temper and who witnesses violence in the home may have trouble learning how to play well with other kids.

Social development can actually impact many of the other forms of development a child experiences. A child’s ability to interact in a healthy way with the people around her can impact everything from learning new words as a toddler, to being able to resist peer pressure as a high school student, to successfully navigating the challenges of adulthood. Healthy social development can help your child:

Develop language skills. An ability to interact with other children allows for more opportunities to practice and learn speech and language skills. This is a positive cycle, because as communication skills improve, a child is better able to relate to and react to the people around him.

Build self esteem. Other children provide a child with some of her most exciting and fun experiences. When a young child is unable to make friends it can be frustrating or even painful. A healthy circle of friends reinforces a child’s comfort level with her own individuality.

Strengthen learning skills. In addition to the impact social development can have on general communication skills, many researchers believe that having healthy relationships with peers (from preschool on up) allows for adjustment to different school settings and challenges. Studies show that children who have a hard time getting along with classmates as early as preschool are more likely to experience later academic difficulties.

Resolve conflicts. Stronger self esteem and better language skills can ultimately lead to a better ability to resolve differences with peers.

Establish positive attitude. A positive attitude ultimately leads to better relationships with others and higher levels of self confidence.

Erik Erikson was an ego psychologist who developed one of the most popular and influential theories of development. While his theory was impacted by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's work, Erikson's theory centered on psychosocial development rather than psychosexual development.

The stages that make up his theory are as follows:1

Stage 1: Infancy (birth to 18 months)

Stage 2: Early Childhood (2 to 3 years)

Stage 3: Preschool (3 to 5 years)

Stage 4: School Age (6 to 11 years)

Stage 5: Adolescence (12 to 18 years)

Stage 6: Young Adulthood (19 to 40 years)

Stage 7: Middle Adulthood (40 to 65 years)

Stage 8: Maturity (65 to death)

3.3 Emotional Development: meaning, development of emotions at different stages

Emotional development refers to the ability to recognize, express, and manage feelings at different stages of life and to have empathy for the feelings of others. The development of these emotions, which include both positive and negative emotions, is largely affected by relationships with parents, siblings, and peers.

Emotional development, emergence of the experience, expression, understanding, and regulation of emotions from birth and the growth and change in these capacities throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The development of emotions occurs in conjunction with neural, cognitive, and behavioral development and emerges within a particular social and cultural context.


The expression of emotions during infancy promotes the transition from complete dependency to autonomy. The expression of interest promotes exploration and cognitive development. Social (intentional) smiles and other expressions of joy promote social interaction and healthy attachment relationships with primary caregivers. The expression of sadness encourages empathy and helping behaviour, and the expression of anger signals protest and discomfort. Infants’ unique tendency to experience and express particular emotions and the threshold for expressing those emotions is usually referred to as their temperament or characteristic emotionality.

Researchers generally agree that neonatal (nonintentional) smiles are present at birth and that social smiling and emotional expressions of interest appear as early as six weeks of age. By four to five months of age, infants selectively smile at familiar faces and at other infants, and their caregivers begin to share positive emotional exchanges with them.

Emotions begin to emerge dynamically as the infant begins to take a more direct role in emotional exchanges with caregivers. The emotional bond with the caregiver is increasingly important, as infants seek support for exploration and look for signals of danger.

Toddlerhood And Early Childhood

During the toddler period, in conjunction with rapid maturation of the frontal lobes and the limbic circuit in the brain, recognition of the self emerges. As a result, the toddler strives to become more independent, and the expression of anger and defiance increases in that struggle for autonomy. The ability to differentiate the self from others also promotes basic empathetic behaviour and moral understanding. By the end of the second year of life, toddlers respond to negative signals from others, and they have specific emotional responses to their own negative actions. The emotions that emerge with a rudimentary conception of the self are often called self-conscious emotions and include shame, embarrassment, guilt, and pride. Some self-conscious emotions, such as pride and guilt, do not emerge until toddlers and young children have learned to conceptualize internalized standards of behaviour.

As children enter preschool, they begin to label their own emotions and rely on discourse about emotions within the family to facilitate their understanding of basic emotions. Young children first distinguish happiness from negative emotions and then begin to distinguish negative emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear from each other. They begin to recognize these emotions in facial expressions, and then, as they enter middle childhood, they begin to understand situational determinants of emotions. An understanding of emotional subjectivity also develops as children learn that what makes one child happy may not make another child feel the same way.

The emergence of emotional self-regulation is particularly important during early childhood and occurs in the context of family and peer relationships. Open expression of positive emotions and warm, supportive relationships between parents and children promote effective emotional self-regulation. On the other hand, frequent expression of negative emotions in the family and harsh, punitive disciplinary responses increase the experience of distressing and dysregulated emotions that may lead to psychopathology. Appropriate peer relationships characterized by shared play activities are also important for the development of emotional regulation during early childhood. Children gain emotional understanding and the capacity for empathetic and helping behaviour from well-regulated emotional exchanges with peers.

Middle And Late Childhood

During middle and late childhood, stable self-concepts based on the child’s typical emotional experiences emerge. With the increased capacity for self-reflection, children gain an understanding of their self-conscious emotions. As a result, the consistent experience of patterns of self-conscious emotions has an impact on the child’s self-concept. For example, the tendency to experience shame rather than guilt in response to negative transgressions affects the child’s emergent self-esteem and may encourage a tendency to respond with aggression or violence.

Also during middle and late childhood, children begin to understand that a single situation or event can lead to the experience of multiple, mixed emotions. For example, older children understand that a goodbye party for a sibling who will leave for college is likely to be both a happy and a sad event for the child and his sibling. This capacity likely emerges with the cognitive capacity to understand multiple aspects of a situation, called decentration.

Children also learn emotional display rules as they progress through middle and late childhood. For example, a child learns to look happy even though she feels upset when a friend or family member gives her an undesirable gift. The use of display rules tends to increase as children begin to consider what consequences their actions may have for others. Display rules are used judiciously, and the likelihood of suppressing negative emotion depends on a number of factors, including the child’s gender, the likely recipients of the expression, the specific context, and the child’s cultural milieu.


With adolescence comes an additional struggle for autonomy and increased time spent with peers and less time spent with the family. Adolescents become less emotionally dependent on their parents, but this emotional autonomy often emerges after a period of conflict and increased experience of negative emotions. Young adolescents often experience more negative affect than younger children, but the negative affect often decreases during the high school years. However, girls often experience a longer period of elevated negative affect than boys. Adolescents tend to experience more extreme emotions, both negative and positive, than their parents even in response to the same event.

Identity development is important for adolescents as they approach adulthood. When adolescents or young adults are exploring many identity options, they often have high levels of anxiety but show interest in exploring those options. Adolescents who make an early commitment to a particular identity, usually an identity promoted by their family, have low levels of anxiety and do not experience much conflict in their family relationships. Adolescents who are not exploring identity options tend to have low levels of motivation and often appear bored or apathetic. They have poorer peer relationships and are at greatest risk for mental-health problems during adulthood. Finally, young adults who have achieved a stable sense of identity tend to be more empathetic and are more successful at managing their emotions.

3.4 Personality Development: meaning, definition and factors affecting

Personality development is the development of the organized pattern of behaviors and attitudes that makes a person distinctive. Personality development occurs by the ongoing interaction of temperament , character, and environment.

Personality is what makes a person a unique person, and it is recognizable soon after birth. A child's personality has several components: temperament, environment, and character. Temperament is the set of genetically determined traits that determine the child's approach to the world and how the child learns about the world. There are no genes that specify personality traits, but some genes do control the development of the nervous system, which in turn controls behavior.

A second component of personality comes from adaptive patterns related to a child's specific environment. Most psychologists agree that these two factors—temperament and environment—influence the development of a person's personality the most. Temperament, with its dependence on genetic factors, is sometimes referred to as "nature," while the environmental factors are called "nurture."

Finally, the third component of personality is character—the set of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns learned from experience that determines how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. A person's character continues to evolve throughout life, although much depends on inborn traits and early experiences. Character is also dependent on a person's moral development .

Major Components

·        Id

·        Ego

·        Superego

Id (pleasure principle): The unconscious portion of the personality that contains basic impulses and urges

By Freud’s point of view he described id as the unconscious part of personality, in which two kinds of ‘instincts’ takes place. Eros the life instincts. They promote positive and constructive behavior and also reflect a source of energy which is called libido or psyche energy. The id operates on pleasure principle.

Ego (reality): The part of personality that mediates conflicts between and among the demands of the id, the superego and the real world.

It basically operates on the reality principle i.e. it satisfies the id about its immediate satisfaction and unreasoning demands imposed by the society’s norms and rules. According to Freud, the healthy person has his ego as the strongest part of his personality.

Superego: The component of personality that tells people what they should and should not do.

When the child learns about the rules and regulations or values of the society they tend to adopt them, this is known as internalizing. This is the time the Superego develops. It is based on the moral principle as it tells us whether something is right or wrong.

Stages in personality development

Freud suggested that Childhood develops during childhood in a series of psychosexual stages. Failure to resolve conflicts & problems that appear at a given stage can leave a person fixated or stuck, i.e. unconsciously preoccupied with area of pleasure associated with that stage. This fixation can be seen in adult characteristics.

Oral Stage: The first of psychosexual stages, in which mouth is the center of pleasure and conflict. Because mouth is used by the child for eating and exploring so it is the centre of pleasure at this period. Child’s first year is the oral stage.

Anal Stage: Occurring during the 2nd year of life in which concentration of pleasure shifts from mouth to anus. According Freud this stage occurs as for the demand for toilet training. If the training is too harsh or starts too early can produce a kind of anal fixation that appears in adultness as stinginess or preoccupation with neatness. If toilet training is late or too lax, however the result could be another kind of anal fixation, which is reflected in adults who are disorganized or impulsive.

Phallic Stage: The most controversial stage of personality development occurs between the ages of three and five. When the child’s focus of pleasure shifts to the genital area. Freud emphasized on male psychosexual development he called this stage phallic stage (phallus is another word for penis). During this stage boy experiences sexual desires, in other words child’s superego develops in this stage.

The Oedipal complex occurs in the phallic stage of psychosexual development between the ages of three and five. This is a very important part of the stage where the sexual identity is formed. The analogous stage for girls is known as the Electra complex in which girls feel desire for their fathers and jealousy of their mothers. This is a similar situation as the above case but with daughter replacing the son and the father taking the place of the mother. Another pattern which is developed in boy in which he has affection for his mother and sexual desires and wants eliminate his father’s competition for her attention known as Oedipus complex. Super ego helps to discourage this complex by making the child learning about society, norms and ethics.

Latency period: The Fourth of his psychosexual stages, in which sexual impulses are settled down. As the youngster focuses on education, same-sex peer play, and the development of social skills.

Genital Stage: The last of the personality development stages, which starts during adulthood, when sexual desires appear at conscious level. Freud said they last for the rest of the life. Genitals again become the focus of life.

3.5 Language Development: meaning and significance, bilingual and multilingual language situations, implications for teachers

Language development is the process by which children come to understand and communicate language during early childhood.

From birth up to the age of five, children develop language at a very rapid pace. The stages of language development are universal among humans. However, the age and the pace at which a child reaches each milestone of language development vary greatly among children. Thus, language development in an individual child must be compared with norms rather than with other individual children. In general girls develop language at a faster rate than boys. More than any other aspect of development, language development reflects the growth and maturation of the brain. After the age of five it becomes much more difficult for most children to learn language.

Receptive language development (the ability to comprehend language) usually develops faster than expressive language (the ability to communicate). Two different styles of language development are recognized. In referential language development, children first speak single words and then join words together, first into two-word sentences and then into three-word sentences. In expressive language development, children first speak in long unintelligible babbles that mimic the cadence and rhythm of adult speech. Most children use a combination these styles.

Language is made up of four main areas, which include:

1.     Phonology - The way sounds are structured and sequenced in speech

2.     Semantics - How vocabulary is used to express concepts

3.     Grammar - This involves syntax, which is the way words are arranged to for m a sentence, as well as morphology, which is the use of grammar to express tense or the active voice, for example.

4.     Pragmatics - The skills used to communicate effectively such as waiting your turn to speak, adapting language based on the person you are speaking to and how to ask for something or greet someone.

The first five years of a child’s life are the most important in terms of language development, although they continue to develop through the rest of childhood and into adolescence. During the first five years, new nerve cells grow and connect in the brain that enable the child to use language for self expression . It is therefore important that the child is stimulated during this time, to ensure their progress is not slowed and their communication skills are not affected.

Although each child develops language skills at their own pace, there are some general milestones that can act as indicators that language is developing normally. Healthcare professionals use these indicators as a guide when assessing whether a child may need any extra assistance.


Bilingualism and multilingualism are often perceived and considered as a problem or a major challenge to individual and/or societal development. In most instances, the only advantage recognized for the bilingual individual is the ability to use two or more languages. Beyond that, monolingualism seems more attractive, and monolinguals especially those speaking a language of wider communication seem quite content with their lot, often adopting a condescending attitude toward minority native speakers of a mother tongue who in addition have to acquire their language. Adepts of the ideology of monolingual habitus (one nation, one language) have tended to consider multilingualism and linguistic diversity as a curse and an obstacle to nation building.

Bilingual and multilingual education refers to the use of two or more languages as mediums of instruction. In much of the specialized literature, the two types are subsumed under the term bilingual education. However, UNESCO adopted the term ‘multilingual education’ in 1999 in the General Conference Resolution 12 to refer to the use of at least three languages, L1, a regional or national language and an international language in education. The resolution supported the view that the requirements of global and national participation and the specific needs of particular, culturally and linguistically distinct communities can only be addressed by multilingual education. In regions where the language of the learner is not the official or national language of the country, bilingual and multilingual education can make mother tongue instruction possible while providing at the same time the acquisition of languages used in larger areas of the country and the world. This additive approach to bilingualism is different from the so called subtractive bilingualism which aims to move children on to a second language as a language of instruction. The current review examines research evidence that can inform policies on how best to support children’s maintenance and developing competence in L1, through parent education, preschool, and primary school programmes, while they are also acquiring one or more additional languages; that is, mother tongue-based bi/multilingual education or developmental bilingual education.