Running Head: BRONFENBRENNER ECOLOGICAL THEORY Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory Analysis Abstract Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory focuses on the individuals’ development in the context of internal and external layers of development. The theory illustrates how environmental influences affect the development of an individual. Apart from the external environment influences, the person’s biological characteristics are also part of the primary environment that affects his/her growth. These biological characteristics interacts with the external environment, which includes the person’s family as well as the society in which he/she grows.
Inconsistencies that may occur in any of the environmental factors may adversely affect the development of a person. This means that when studying issues concerning development in humans, the environment in which they live should not be ignored. This essay is a critique of how bronfenbrenner’s levels of influence shaped my development. It is an application of the ecological theory analyzing how these environmental factors influenced my decision to enter graduate school to obtain a master’s degree. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory
Microsystem The first system is the microsystem, which refers to the environment in which a child lives. This includes the parents, peers, teachers and the parents of other children. Under the microsystem, the individual engages in many direct social interactions with the environmental components. For example, children interact directly with the teacher in school, parents at home and peers during play. The experiences that an individual acquires under these circumstances are through active participation in the social environment.
In other words, an individual contributes to the settings of the social environment, and also affects the lives of others (Santrock 2007). As a child, I attended high school in Cali, Colombia where I was born and brought up. The social setting adversely affected my life especially when my parents divorced at the age of 13 years. My mother worked as a part time English teacher in an adult school, and stayed with us most of the time. I and my two brothers got to know much from our mother whom we stayed with most of the time than we did from our father who worked as a full time engineer.
However, all the family members knew each other. In the small city where we lived, I had many friends from the neighborhood when I was a child. We were many, and we used to play together. Each of us knew that we were obligated as children to respect our elders regardless of whether we knew them or not. This contributed to my development as an honest person who respected other people. I also acquired the capability to interact with peers, which has been an important source of knowledge throughout my life to the present. Mesosystem
This is the relationship between the environmental components of the microsystem or the interconnections that exist between these components. For example, the family background, or the environment in which a child grows may adversely affect the performance of the child at school as well as the way he/she relates with other children. On the other hand the religious setting under which the child is brought up may affect the behavior of the child at school, at home as well as his/her relationship with peers, and behavior at home (Laura 2008).
For example, the relationship between a child and the parents largely affects his/her relationship with teachers as well as other children. This indicates the interrelationship that exists amongst the various environmental factors of the microsystem. The relationship between religion and my school community was strong due to the fact that it was a private catholic school. I therefore grew as a God fearing person, believing in the super natural power who I believed since childhood was the creator of the universe.
My experiences later in life regarding religion looked contradictory to me, but I realized then that people’s believes were different and their actions not necessarily came from the God I feared. This is an indication of the relationship between the church environment and the school that I attended. On the other hand, the community in the neighborhood where I was brought up had a different opinion regarding religion and the fear of God. It was not emphasized as it was done in school. Teachers at my school were very encouraging in regard to our future after we finished school.
They served as our mentors, and instilled in us hopes for accomplishing our personal goals in future, to become prosperous adults in various fields. They were very concerned about our welfare in school, especially ensuring that they helped us overcome any hindrances to excellence in studies. The teachers were the third party that influenced my life to a great extent. They helped me to acquire confidence and skills that have been essential in all my engagements. Exosystem In course of the growth of an individual, there are certain social settings whereby he/she does not to actively participate.
However, the experiences of such a setting affect the child too, even though it does not have to be in the child’s immediate background. For example, the frequency of interactions between the parents and the child may be affected by workplace commitments. There are certain values and practices that may directly or indirectly affect the way of life of a particular person or a community (Crandell, Crandell, & Zaden, 2009 p. 11). For example, girls in my community were not allowed to use make up until the age of 15 years. Engaging in sexual relations was also prohibited until an individual attained the generally agreed age of 18 years.
It was believed that at that age, a person was capable of making a wise decision regarding sensitive issues that could adversely affect his/her life. The family institution was highly respected Other aspects of the exosystem in the community that I grew up were issues such as wealth and possessions. They affected the manner of socialization to a great extent. Social classes ruled who an individual would engage in dealings or socialization. I was not exposed to information technology in my childhood days. This means that equipments such as computers and cell phones were beyond reach.
However, we used to communicate through other means. In general, the exosystem largely affected my socialization, especially in regards to the gap that existed within the community between the rich and the poor. Macrosystem Cultural aspects are significant in shaping the life of an individual. These are incorporated in the macrosystem. They vary from one community to the other, as well as from country to the other. For example, a child growing up in a developed economy may exhibit different characteristics from the one growing in a less developed one.
Differences in ethnicity, race, and class are also important factors that influence the growth of a child. In other words, it is how things are done in different places. An individual has to accept what the community has agreed is right (Woodside et al 2006). I grew up in a middle class family, which made it possible for me to attend school and accomplish normal levels of education. The society at the time was very family centered. Colombian mothers really did not work outside of home and were very involved in the raising of the children.
Primarily, women were responsible for raising the children. Fathers worked outside the home. This made the children to develop a strong relationship with the mother. However, the high dependence of mothers on the working fathers created the link between all the family members. The men in the community were more educated than the women, which was a factor that contributed to the maintenance of the dependence of women on men. I personally like to be independent, and I know that this can be accomplished through education. This is one of the reasons why I chose to undertake a master’s level program.
In addition, I am divorced now, which generates much desire to get high level education in order to cater for my personal needs and also be able to cope with the many challenges that I am likely to meet in life. This is a summary of the applicability of Bronefenbrenner’s ecological model into my personal development. All of these experiences have shaped me to be the person I am today. These interactions have influenced the decisions and choices I have made throughout my entire life right up to now. It seems clear to me that I am not a product of a person who has lived in isolation but, rather the collection of events clustered in one body.
References Laura T. D. (2008). A Bronfenbrenner ecological perspective on the transition to teaching for alternative certification. Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 5(3), pp 67-76 Santrock, J. W. (2007). A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Woodside A. , Caldwell M. and Spurr R. (2006). Advancing Ecological Systems Theory in Lifestyle, Leisure, and Travel Research, in: Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 44, No. 3, 259-272. Crandell, T. L. , Crandell, C. H. & Zaden, J. W. , (2009). Human Development. 9th edition (ed. ), New York: McGraw Hill.