Maria Christina Nielsen
Dr. Joyce Johnson
May 8, 2011
This paper analyzes and evaluates how Bronfenbrenner’s levels influenced my decision to attend graduate school and how they may impact career goals within my area of specialization. Bronfenbrenner develops a multi-level hierarchy of influences from the closest and most personal to the most abstract and societal. The purpose of my paper is to discuss, analyze, and evaluate Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory in relation to human development
In the early 1970s’ Urie Bronfenbrenner developed an ecological theory of human development. Bronfenbrenner’s book, “The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design” (Bronfenbrenner, 1997) discusses in depth the ecological systems levels as the micro-meso-exo-macro- and the fifth system, the chrono-system layer. Bronfenbrenner summarized his theory utilizing concentric spheres in where the child begins his or her development in the center of the spheres. Comparing each sphere “…as a set of nested structures, each inside the next, like a set of Russian dolls” (Bronfenbrenner,1979. p.3).
Researchers found that a key factor in parent’s effectiveness was engaging in the child’s activities and environment. Darling (2007), asserts that “parental monitoring” of their children’s activities decreased the levels of behavioral problems and lead to “higher levels of adult approved activities” (Darling, 2007). Therefore, competence among children will “…depend on the quality of their environment” (Bronfenbrenner, 1999). Children from negative, deprived, disorganized backgrounds display more frequent and severe dysfunctional behavior in order to gain parental attention. On the other hand, parents providing attentive, stable and positive environments provide gratifying and positive reinforcement in aid of the children’s growth. (Bronfenbrenner, 1999). Bronfenbrenner posited that “…the greatest effect on positive outcomes in environments with the greatest resources and for an individual who had the greatest ability to take advantage of those resources” (Darling, 2007). Microsystem
Bronfenbrenner described his models as the micro-system layer originating in the center of the sphere, involving the child’s interactions and activities within the context of family, school, daycare, and school, peer groups and how these interactions shape his or her development in a particular setting. A setting is where the child engages in “…particular activities in particular
roles for particular times” (Bronfenbrenner,1979). For example, Bronfenbrenner observed parents emphasizing the importance of socially acceptable behaviors, exposed their child to positive activities, became involved in their child’s school, friends, thus producing children that were secure in new learning experiences. Mesosystem
The mesosystem layer relates to the people in a child’s microsystem. It consists of the interactions between two or more settings which involve the developing child. For example, child’s parents and teachers may be interacting in discussions about the child’s progress. Bronfenbrenner found when parents take an active interest in the child’s early academic progress, that child has a greater chance of success upon entering high school (Oswalt, 2008).
The exosystem is comprised of the involvement and progression that takes place between the dyad setting, but it “…does not contain the developing child” (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). They are occurrences “that indirectly influence processes within the immediate setting in which the developing child lives” (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). For example, the child’s parents’ moving to a different state will directly affect the child’s interconnections with neighborhood friends and teachers. As an example, the child ‘knows’ he has lost his best friend, and may never...