Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted to have said, “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying” (Guillemets, 1998). Nietzsche is talking about developing oneself to obtain an ultimate goal. We can apply this idea from a human development standpoint by thinking about how we grow and develop as individuals, how that process takes place, and what influences our development, with the ultimate goal of living our life: to fly.
These questions of how, why and what affects us as we grow and develop are large and looming; seemingly shadowed in mystery by permutations of variables that affect the development of an individual. Isn’t every individual, in fact, unique? How can we even begin to research and study human development when, seemingly, the only thing that is patterned with any consistency is inconsistency? That is where Paul Baltes and his colleagues come in to help. Developmentalists, who asked themselves the same questions at one point in their research, founded a conceptual framework with seven key principles that can be used to break down these questions surrounding the study of human development into easier to understand portions. They call it the Baltes’ Life-Span Developmental Approach (Papalia, Feldman & Martorell, 2012). The principles of the Baltes’ Life-Span Developmental Approach are the following: 1. Development is a lifelong process of change, affects, and effects. 2. Development is multidimensional, meaning we must take biological, physiological, psychological and social concepts into consideration. 3. Development is multidirectional, meaning that not everything that we learn or gain is constantly maintained; we have heightened abilities at some point during our development more than others. 4. The influences of biology and culture shift over the life span, meaning that at times they have greater sway over a person’s life at certain points in their...
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