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  1. Module 10 : Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory
  2. Learning Outcomes At the end of this module, you should be able to :  Describe ach of the layers of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model.  Identify factors in one’s own life that exerted influence on one’s development.  Use the bioecological theory as a framework to describe the factors that affect a child and adolescent development.
  3. “Children need people in order to become human.” - Urie Bronfenbrenner
  4. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917 – 2005) was a Russian-born American developmental psychologist. Bronfenbrenner’s model also known as the Bioecological Systems theory presented child development within the context of relationships system that comprises the child’s environment. The term “bioecological” points out that a child’s own biological make-up impacts as a key factor in one’s development.
  5. Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model: Structure of Environment Bronfenbrenner divided the person’s environment into 5 different systems:  The Microsystem  The Mesosystem  The Exosystem  The Macrosystem  The Chronosystem Bronfenbrenner (1977) suggested that the environment of the child is nested arrangement of structures, each contained within the next. He organized them in order of how much of an impact they have on a child.
  6.  The Microsystem - is the layer nearest the child. It comprises structures which the child directly interacts with. This covers the most basic relationships and interactions that a child has in his/her immediate environment. At the microsystem level, the child is most affected by these bi- directional influences. However, interactions at outer layers still influence the structures of the microsystem.  The Mesosystem - this layer serves as the connection between the structures of the child ‘s microsystem.  The Exosystem - this layer refers to the bigger social system in which the child does not function directly. This includes the city government, the workplace, and the mass media. The structure of this layer may influence the child’s development by somehow affecting some structure in the child’s microsystem which includes the circumstances of the parents’ work like the location, schedules.
  7.  The Macrosystem - This layer is found in the outermost part of the child’s environment. The macrosystem includes the cultural values, customs, and laws. The belief system contained in one’s macrosystem permeates all the interactions in the other layers and reaches the individual.  The Chronosystem - The chronosystem covers the element of time as it relates to a child’s environment. This involves “patterns of stability and change” in the child’s life. This involves whether the child’s day is characterized by an orderly predictable pattern, or whether the child is subjected to sudden change in routine. We can also look into the pace of the child’s everyday life. As children get older, they may react differently to environmental changes. The children may have also acquired the ability to cope and decide to what extent they will allow changes around them to affect them.
  8. The Role of Schools and Teachers Bronfenbrenner co-founded Head Start, the publicly-funded early childhood program in the US. He concluded that “the instability and predictability of family life is the most destructive force to a child’s development.” Bronfenbrenner’s theory reminds the school and the teachers of their very important role. The school and the teachers can contribute stability and long-term relationships, but only to support and not replace the relationships in the home. Bronfenbrenner believes that, “the primary relationship needs to be with someone who can provide a sense of caring that is meant to last a lifetime. This relationship must be fostered by a person or people within the immediate sphere of the child’s influence. Bronfenbrenner also stressed that society should value work done on behalf of children at all levels, and consequently value, parents, teachers, extended family, mentors, work supervisors, legislators.
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