Bronfenbrenners Ecological Theory Development Essays For Scholarships

Unformatted text preview: Theories Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model of My Life 1. Look back through your own childhood for examples of influences on your life from each of the ecological systems: micro, meso, exo, macro, and time. Consider specific influences from the components of each system. For example, in your microsystem, how did your immediate family, neighborhood, play area, teachers, peers, and child care influence you? I was born in February of 1962 in Baltimore Maryland at Baltimore city hospital. My early childhood microsystem began with a blended family. My mother and father both grew up in Cumberland Kentucky. My siblings and I were the first generation to be born in Maryland. My father brought my mother and other family member to Maryland because at that time they had better opportunities living in a big city-like Baltimore. My father lived in Kentucky as coal miner and became union represented. This time in history, people would actually be killed, for supporting or being in the union. They believe that people like my father were costing the company a lot of money and stirring up trouble for the owners. In addition, it was a dangerous job working as a coal miner. He came to Baltimore and worked at Bethlehem Steele Company. His job was working as a welder on the huge ships. My mother worked as a waitress, then a straw company and finally settled into her position as a baker, where she retired after thirty plus years at Acme and Giant Bakery. Both of my parents did not have more than a fifth-grade education, because education was a luxury and many families in Kentucky could not afford to send their children to school. This would of given me my first look at microsystem. Because my mother was so young, she had little experience raising children. What she learned from her mother was “that children are to be seen and not to be heard," in other words, a child was brought into the world to help-out with the family economically and was not a gift or blessing but a means of living. My grandmother raised 15 children, and she worked cleaning houses and worked in the fields for about five cents a day in Kentucky. My family spoke broken-up English/slang. The oldest child would look after the younger children while the ones who were old enough, would work out in the fields or do the chores in order to keep the household running smoothly. My grandmother never told my mother, she loved her until she was in her late sixties. In order for you to understand; you need to know that both my parents; come from an environment, where the parents and other family member would show their children very little attention and love. It was more like a possession like slavery; they had children to help make family as a whole to take care and preformed the duties to survive. Many of my-extend family member followed my father and mother to Maryland simple because Baltimore had a better opportunity in order to have a best way of life. This would be the first understanding of my exosystem. My microsystem, mesosystem and ecosystem all over lapped considering the day in age when I grew up. My grandmother or Aunt Dorothy or my aunt Elsie would take care of us while our parents worked their jobs. This would be my meso-system. At the age of one through four, I lived with my father and aunts. My parents were not together any more after my first year. I was able to see my mother on the weekend, which I do not remember much since I was such a young child. I have two full-blooded brothers who are older than I am. My father first wife he had six boys and one daughter, and she was second to the oldest. Therefore, me being the youngest child for the initial four years of my life, everything I remember seems to be happy, I was the baby and daddy’s girl. My mother married and so did my father to different people, of course leaving me, and my two real brothers to live with my father. One day, I remember my father was at work; my stepmother cheated on him. However, my father was a big cheater himself; he cheated on his first wife, with every woman he could. This secondary microsystem played a part of my fundamental values. I do not remember any of that, but I was instilled that memories from other members of my family. I remember, as a child we did not back talk once asked to do a task. Theories Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model of My Life Children at that time were not allowed to be around adults, while having conversation. Nevertheless, I do have fond memories of when my father came home from work; he would give me one of his Union pins. I believe until the age of four I had many Micro, Meso, Eco-systems overlapping at once. I had my father and stepmother, my mother on weekends, my siblings, also one of my aunts, who lived with us, and an aunt who baby-sit for my father while he was at work. In addition to that, we did not watch TV very much since it was more of an adult entertaining. I played with my brother Mike most of the time since we are eleven months apart. I was reared with both, Micro, Eco, Meos- system in place. I have had many characters that played roles in my environment in my first four years, so I cannot just write a paragraph about one at a time since this is clearly not the case in my childhood. That all changed when my father died in 1966 right before my brother’s birthday, and we found ourselves living in whole new everything. Early 60’s when the Beatles arrived in America. Growing up, listening to Patsy Cline, The Four Season, Johnny Cash, Monkeys, and so forth was the era of music, which would be in my ecosystem. We moved in with my birth mother and my stepfather in March of 1966. He had been previously married, with a daughter from first wife who she lived with for a while until she decided to come live with her father, I then felt the loss of a beautiful soul, sister, and friend when she died in a car accident, leaving me to understand that we are not here forever. Before that, my mother gave birth to my stepfather’s children a boy five years younger than me and a girl who six years younger than me. We lived in a neighborhood in which all the parents had the right to beat our butts if we misbehaved. Our school even had permission to us ruler or spankings on us if we misbehaved. It was the rule of thumb; that we did not talk back our elders, and respected everyone, who was older than we were. For the most part, it was a simpler time that children obeyed their parents and everyone else in the neighborhood. It was like all the kids in my neighborhood was like brothers and sisters, and any given parent had the unspoken truth that they could spank our butts or give us some type of punishment. After the birth of my younger siblings, I became the middle child. It was not one of my best memories of childhood, but I escaped from my mother’s behavior towards me by hanging out with the kids in our neighborhood and the fact she was working all the time help me escape the abuse. I do not have all bad memories of my mother. She has and had strong characteristics that I developed from her like good work habits and to stand by your word. In addition, when she wasn’t working she would take us and drop us off at the school which we referred the name was “Teen Center” during the summer along with Unger’s Field where we hang out and playing softball. That is not all we all also had the Friday night dances, skating. These things were part of my ecosystem. My mother was in and out of church, but mostly in between my age of six until thirteen. This brought about my understanding of right, wrong, good behavior, and undesirable behavior. However, I could not get the full understanding of a merciful God who let bad things happen to good people, I guess that is why I practice Buddhism today because it made more sense. This does not mean I do not believe in a God, just not in the same way as I was raised. This too was part of my microsystem, which seems to me to be a huge part of my childhood. In conclusion, the micro, meso, exso, and the macro system come to gather like a fine woven glove to fit your personal out come in most cases. The environment that a child is brought up in can either make them succeed or fail, depending on its nature in which all these ingredients applied in one's life. In light of this, it would be prudent to bring up children in an authoritative and indulgent environment so that they attain a great sense of responsibility rather than authoritative and negligent environment that will destroy them. Bronfenbrenner's maintains that development in a child’s life is influenced by his systems. For instance, micro-systems encompass the immediate environment that one lives in. These may range from the family settings, peer groups to schools, religion, the extended family and so much more. I understand and believe that out of everything I read so far Bronfenbrenner's system of layer’s is the most accurate theory of them all, except the concept of will power, and Theories Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model of My Life believing in yourself when no one else around you does. I believe from personal experience that all of these things played a role in the person I was, but not in the person, I have become. ...
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Introduction

            Various divergent theories have proposed in an attempt to explain lifespan development and human behavior. Two of the most popular theories on lifespan development include the ethological theory, which places emphasis on how biology shapes human behavior; and the ecological theory, which perceives the role that the environment plays in influencing the growth and development of a person (Arch, Marylouise, & Spurr, 2006). The ecological theory was formulated by Urie Bronfenbrenner, who theorized five environmental factors that influenced the growth and development of a person. The ecological systems theory perceives lifespan development in the domain of a system of relationships that constitutes one’s environment. According to Bronfenbrenner’s theory, each of the complex layers has an effect on one’s lifespan development. Recently, the ecological systems theory has been renamed “the bio ecological systems theory” in order to give emphasis to one’s biology as the primary development that fuels one’s lifespan development (Berk, 2000). The relationships between these variables in one’s maturing biology, one’s immediate family and community environment, and the societal setting play an instrumental role in fuelling and steering individual development. In order to explore lifespan development, there is the need to assess the individual and his/her individual environment as well as the interaction taking place in the larger environment. The five environmental factors that Urie Bronfenbrenner highlights in the ecological systems theory that affect lifespan development include the microsystem, mesosystem, macrosystem, exosystem, and the chronosystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The goal of this paper is to describe the current research and application of the ecological system theory to the field of lifespan development.

Systems Structures in the Ecological Systems Theory

            Bronfenbrenner hypothesized that socialization and development are determined by the various environmental variables in which an individual is in active inter-relation. The three main assumptions help by the Bronfenbrenner’s theory include: the individual is an active player and exerts substantial force on his/her own environment; the environment can force an individual to adapt to its restrictions and conditions; and that the environment is perceived to comprise of dissimilar size entities that are positioned one inside another. The environmental factors are analyzed and synthesized in the following subsections (Paquette & Ryan, 2001).

The Microsystem

The microsystem encompasses of the environment that the person lives and this system comprises of family members, neighborhoods, religious communities, peers, and other entities that the person interacts with directly on a regular basis. The individual usually comes to contact with the microsystem in most instances involving social interactions. In the microsystem, the individual does not only observe things happen, but also plays an instrumental role in the creation and construction of the experiences that they are likely to have (Jørgensen, 2004). Bronfenbrenner defined the microsystem as “a pattern of interpersonal relationships, roles and activities that a developing individual experiences in a particular face-to-face situation with specific material and physical entities including other people having unique belief systems and temperament and personality traits”. According to Berk (1979), the microsystem is the closest environment variable for an individual and constitutes of structures that the child has direct contacts with. Paquette & Ryan (2001) make inferences from Bronfenbrenner’s theory and asserts that, at the microsystem level, the relations between people take place in two ways, which include towards the child and from the child. For instance, the parents of a child can determine his/her behavior and beliefs; however, the child can also have an effect on the behavior and beliefs of his/her parents. Bronfenbrenner refers to this observation as bidirectional influence and highlights how these relationships manifest on the various degrees of all environmental factors. The core of the ecological systems theory stems from the interaction taking place within the various layers of the structures and the interaction taking place between the various layers. In the context of the microsystem, bidirectional interactions are extremely strong and have the most significant influence on the individual. Nevertheless, the interactions taking place on the outer levels of environments can still have an effect on the inner structures. At first, the manner in which the child relates with other individuals is dyadic; however, later, the child becomes able to handle concurrent interaction relationships. Bronfenbrenner (1979) asserts that the nature of relationships among the people close to the child and their respective systems has an impact on the development of the child.

Several scholars have applied the concept of Bronfenbrenner’s microenvironment in understanding child development. Wendy & Mary (2006)considers the closest surroundings to be a person’s microsystem such as home, classmates, close relatives, kids in the play yard and day care group among others. Penn (2005) used Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory to come up with the family system model whereas Vander Zanden, Crandell, & Crandell (2007) developed the classroom model using the ecological systems theory, where the teacher was the target. When expounding on bidirectional influences, Berk (2000) cites that a child who is friendly and attentive is highly likely to stir up patient and positive reactions from their parents. On the other hand, an irritable child is likely to stir up punishment, restriction and impatient from his/her parents. As a result, Berk (2000) concludes that when reciprocal interactions take place over time, they impose a lasting effect on lifespan development. Third parties, who are other people in the microsystem, also have an influence on the quality of relationship that the developing individual has with other people. For instance, if they are supportive, there is enhanced interaction. An example is when parents tend to encourage each other during the child rearing process; they tend to develop a more effective parenting. On the contrary, cases of marital conflicts are always linked to inconsistent discipline and hostilities towards children; as a result, children in such environments tend to exhibit aggression, anxiety and fear (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2010).

The Mesosystem

            Penn (2005) perceives the mesosystem as the interactions existing between the microsystems and could comprise of school-related experiences at home, home-related experiences at school. Just like the microsystem, the person does not only observe things that happen but also play a significant role in the creation of their experiences. The perspectives relating to the notion of the mesosystem has been unchanged, and has not been changed since its original definition even by Bronfenbrenner. According to Bronfenbrenner (1979), the mesosystem encompasses of the processes and linkages that occur between at least one setting containing the developing individual; examples include the relations between schools and home, and workplace and school. Berk (2000) perceives the mesosystem as a system of microsystems. On the other hand, Paquette & Ryan (2001) assert that the mesosystem generates the connections between the various microsystems of the developing individual. According to Penn (2005), the mesosystem comprises of relationships that exist between the microsystem of a child and a young person. The most important relations include the relation between school interaction and home, kindergarten and home, and child clinic and home and mother. It is imperative to assess if the factors that influence socialization have diverging or converging directions, which entails assessing whether the various microsystems support each other, or the individual views them as classing. Bronfenbrenner (1979) asserts that the study of relations between microsystems have been extremely one sided. For instance, studies have focused more on how school and day care disjointedly determine the development of the child but have disregarded their joint impacts on child development. In pointing out the significance of the mesosystem, Penn (2005) cites that the academic progress of a child does not only depend on the classroom environment but also on the level parental involvement with school activities. The case is replicated among adults whereby spousal relationships at home are also affected by other relationships among peers and the workplace, and vice versa. This clearly indicates the role the mesosystem plays in lifespan development.

The Exosystem

Paquette & Ryan (2001) perceives the exosystem as a system whereby the developing individual plays no significant role in construction his/her own experiences; however, these experiences impose a direct effect on the microsystems that the person is part of. For instance, a when a person losses his job, the job loss has a direct effect on the financial state of the family, which could in turn affect the daily lifestyle and domestic stress levels. According to Bronfenbrenner (1979), the exosystem comprises of the processes and linkages occurring  between at least two settings, one of which does not typically contain the developing individual but the events in have an effect on the processes taking place on other immediate setting that do not contain the individual. According to the Penn (2005), the social settings devoid of the developing individual but shape the experiences in his/her immediate settings tend to affect lifespan development. Examples of social settings that the developing person may not be part of include social networks of a child’s parents and members of the extended family, which all have an impact on the child’s development process. Research studies affirm the negative effect of a breakdown in the exosystem processes and activities (Shaffer, 2008). For instance, families isolated socially and having few community-based or personal ties tend to exhibit high rates of child abuse and conflict, which are detrimental to lifespan development.

The Macrosystem

            The macrosystem is the outermost level of the ecological systems theory and comprises of cultural values, resources, laws and customs. The manner in which the macrosystem prioritizes the needs of the developing individual usually has an impact on the support that the developing person receives at the inner environment levels. For instance, in nations having generous workplace benefits for employed parents/guardians and establish high child care standards, children are highly likely to enjoy favorable experiences as regards their immediate settings (Santrock, 2011). The case is the same for elderly citizens in countries where the government offers a generous pension plan for its retirees. Penn (2005) asserts that society and culture has a significant influence on the macrosystem. The ideologies and belief systems of the culture of the developing person directly affects the person; nevertheless, the developing person lacks sufficient freedom in influencing his/her surroundings.

The Chronosystem

            Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory maintains that the environment is not static and does not affect people uniformly; rather, it is dynamic and ever changing. Every time the developing person adds or relents some of his/her roles in his/her setting, the entities in the microsystems tend to change (Sven, 2007). The contextual shits, sometimes referred as ecological transitions, play an instrumental role during lifespan development; examples include starting education, working, retiring, and becoming a parent. Life changes can either stem from within the developing individual because they choose, recognize and generate their own experiences and settings, or imposed externally. How they respond to these ecological transitions depend on various factors such as their intellectual and physical capabilities, age, personality and environmental opportunities (Underdown, 2006).

Conclusion

The ecological systems theory, also referred to as the bio-ecological systems theory has been instrumental in understanding lifespan development and socialization processes among people. As a result, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory concedes that lifespan development is neither driven mainly by inner dispositions nor subject to control by innate dispositions. Instead, the ecological systems theory perceives individuals as products and producers of their own environments whereby the person and the environment establish a network of interdependent impacts.

References

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Berk, L. (2000). Child Development . Boston: Allyn and Baco.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cumming, G. (2011). Spatial Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems. New York: Springer.

Jørgensen, S. E. (2004). Towards a Thermodynamic Theory for Ecological Systems. New York: Gulf Professional Publishing.

Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2010). The Study of Human Development. Human Development: A Life-span View. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Paquette, D., & Ryan, J. (2001). Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. Retrieved October 23, 2012, from http://pt3.nl.edu/paquetteryanwebquest.pdf

Penn, H. 2. (2005). Understanding early childhood education. Issues and controversies. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd.

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Wendy, P., & Mary, M. (2006). Career Development and Systems Theory. New York: Sense Publishers.

 

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