Bronfenbrenner's Theory in Action

Topics: Developmental psychology, Family, Urie Bronfenbrenner Pages: 6 (2155 words) Published: June 9, 2011
Bronfenbrenner’s Theory of Human Development

In Human Development Psychology, there are different theories on how an individual grows and develops. One of the most well-known theories is the Ecological Theory of Urie Bronfenbrenner. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) is today credited and known in the psychology development field for the development of the ecological systems theory. The theory explains the way everything in a child and their environment affects the child development. It emphasises the importance of the relationships between the social contexts in which the child lives and the people who influence their development (Paquette & Ryan, 2001). In early childhood, a child’s development is influenced by various factors, thus Bronfenbenner’s Ecological Theory shows how a child grows and matures. There are four different levels that influence a child to develop in life as a person as shown in Fig 1. The first level begins with the child and their immediate environment than move on to larger environment, showing that the immediate and the outside are as important in the development of a child. The first level is the microsystem (immediate environment that a child lives or contacts such as parents, teachers and neighbours), then mesosystem (linkage between microsystems) such as connections between family and school, thirdly the exosystem (environment in which a child is not involved, such as parents workplace) and the fourth level is the macrosystem (involve the society, cultures and government). According to Bronfenbenner family plays the most crucial part in the development of a child’s abilities. A family influence a child’s resilience to adversities and also provides different levels of risk factors as family functioning changes (Oswalt, 2008).

The Microsystem is the smallest setting in which the, child spends considerable time. It is made up of the immediate environment where the child lives and moves. The people and the institutions the child directly interacts with, have the most immediate and direct impact on a child’s development in the microsystem such as immediate family members, childcare, school teachers, peers, religious institutions and health groups may be part of the system. The child is not a passive recipient of experience, he or she is someone who reciprocally interacts with others and helps to construct the microsystem as illustrated in fig1. Much of a child’s behaviour is learned in the microsystem, though other more distant systems will have an increased influence as the child ages (Garbarino, 2009, p.71-98). In the microsystem, when a child is born, he or she is taken care of by either the mother or a nanny. These individual’s will have a very big role in shaping the child’s characteristics. If the child spends most of the time with the mother, he or she acquires the character traits of the mother. Children whose parents are both working, where child is always accompanied by the nanny, the child will most likely acquire character traits of the nanny. Neighbours and friends in school are also a big factor in this system. As the child goes to school, he or she will encounter a new environment where a child acquires a new characteristic from classmates and friends in school. When the child interacts with other children, they will be influenced in many different ways which maybe positive or negative. This trend continues as the child grows older and matures (Paquette&Ryan, 2001).I was born in a two-parent family structure where my father was the one working outside while my mother remained home to look after the kids. My mother came from a very traditional family who always emphasised on family and education, while being very protective of me. From birth to age of six, as I may remember, I was not allowed to go anywhere without telling my mother. As my father was always working late, I spent very little time with him and became more attached to my mother. She was always there for me as...
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