Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory

In: Psychology

HS 5003, Survey of Research in Human Development and Behavior Course Instructor: Gerald Thauberger, MS, DM

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory
Aaron D. Stewart

"Ecological systems theory is an approach to study of human development that consists of the 'scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation, throughout the life course, between an active, growing human being, and the changing properties of the immediate settings in which the developing person lives, as this process is affected by the relations between these settings, and by the larger contexts in which the settings are embedded'" (Bronfenbrenner, 1989, page or #). When reading and researching to gain deeper understanding and appreciation of personal development, it is clear that we, as humans, continually change and adapt to our environment. Bronfenbrenner's levels of development play an essential role in this process.
The first stage in Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory is the Microsystem. The Microsystem is described as the intimate system (the one we interact most commonly with); this system consists of family, school, peers, neighborhoods, churches, and health services. The Microsystem is the layer closest to the child and contains the structures with which the child has direct contact. The Microsystem encompasses the relationships and interactions a child has with their immediate surroundings (Berk, 2000). At this level, relationships have impact in two directions, both away from the child and toward the child. It is vital to remember that the child influences those that influence them. At the Microsystem level, bi-directional influences are strongest and have the greatest impact on the child. This level was truly the most impactful in my personal development. A healthy Microsystem provides guidance and direction, while giving an individual a...

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