29 July 2010

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory

Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917 - 2005) was a Russian American psychologist and professor known for developing the Ecological Systems Theory. He was generally regarded as one of the world's leading scholars in the field of developmental psychology.

I learned about theorists such as Bronfenbrenner while studying towards my B.Ed.
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory views the person as developing within a multi-layered system of relationships. Using the example of a child, the systems are:
The Microsystem - One's family, classroom
The Mesosystem - Two micro-systems in interaction (i.e. family and classroom)
The Exosystem - External environments which indirectly influence development
The Macrosystem - The larger socio-cultural context.
Added later: The Chronosystem - The evolution of the external systems over time.

Each system contains roles, norms and rules that can powerfully shape development.
(Source: Wikipedia)
Image source: Center for Child and Community Development



The Microsystem: The setting in which the individual lives. These contexts include the person's family, peers, school, and neighborhood. It is in the microsystem that the most direct interactions with social agents take place; with parents, peers, and teachers, for example. The individual is not a passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but someone who helps to construct the settings.

Source: Wikipedia


The Mesosystem: Describes how the different parts of a child's microsystem work together for the sake of the child. For example, if a child's caregivers take an active role in a child's school, such as going to parent-teacher conferences and watching their child's soccer games, this will help ensure the child's overall growth. In contrast, if the child's two sets of caretakers, mom with step-dad and dad with step-mom, disagree how to best raise the child and give the child conflicting lessons when they see him, this will hinder the child's growth in different channels.

Source: Mentalhelp.net



Further information can be found online, in books, through asking at local schools and of course, through online search engines. I hope the above information has made you interested in learning more!