and Human Development
Jan Armstrong, University of New
It can be easy to get so
caught up in learning new terms and
theories that one loses sight of the
big picture - the real point of all this
hard work! Learning about human
development should give you a deeper understanding of the many different
pathways humans can take as they grow and develop through
the lifespan. I
hope that your studies will help you become a more perceptive,
person. Some of the themes around which this course has been organized
are described below.
- It is important to understand
child life from the child's
point of view. This means understanding how the way we see and make sense
of the world is affected by (a partial byproduct
cognitive-developmental factors. The same applies to understanding
and adults of all ages.
- Physical, cognitive and social
(systems) are intertwined. A change in how we understand the world
(perspective taking, for example) has implications for how we interact
others (playing organized games in groups) which in turn has an
physical development (motor activity, development of athletic
skills). Conversely, playing games (which entails motor
cognitive-perceptual activity) provides
experiences with groups
(social activity) that fosters new
the physical and social (cognitive,
- Development is profoundly
by social context (culture
and social institutions).
- Our beliefs about the nature of
what is normal
and what is not normal - are anchored in a particular
and cultural context.
- Understanding human development
can help you better
understand your own life experiences and life course.
It can foster
enhanced self-understanding and personal growth.
societal change is possible and individuals and groups can change social
institutions and policies
for the better. Teachers can be (are) change agents and public schools
preserve, and challenge the status quo.
human development deeply
and in context can help us better
appreciate human wisdom and human fallibility.
This, in turn, can help us
become more creative, innovative and effective
Created: 4/6/03 Last update: 3/21/10
Back to Human
Growth and Development Archive