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What is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory? American psychologist Urie B

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What is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory?
American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner formulated the Ecological Systems Theory to explain how social environments affect children’s development. This theory emphasizes the importance of studying children in multiple environments, known as ecological systems, in the attempt to understand their development.
What is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory?
According to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, children typically find themselves enmeshed in various ecosystems, from the most intimate home ecological system to the larger school system, and then to the most expansive system which includes society and culture. Each of these ecological systems inevitably interact with and influence each other in all aspects of the children’s lives.
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model organizes contexts of development into five nested levels of external influence: Microsystem, Mesosystem, Ecosystem, Macrosystem, and Chronosystem. These levels are categorized from the most intimate level to the broadest.
bronfenbrenner theory
The Microsystem
The Bronfenbrenner theory suggests that the microsystem is the smallest and most immediate environment in which children live. As such, the microsystem comprises the home, school or daycare, peer group and community environment of the children.
The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Microsystem
Interactions within the microsystem typically involve personal relationships with family members, classmates, teachers and caregivers. How these groups or individuals interact with the children will affect how they develop. More nurturing and supportive interactions and relationships will likely to foster a better environment for development.
Bronfenbrenner proposed that many of these interactions are bi-directional: how children react to people in their microsystem will also affect how these people treat the children in return.
Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model – Microsystem
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For example, a little boy playing alone in a room. This little boy suddenly bursts out crying for no apparent reason. His mother, who is making lunch in the kitchen, hears the boy crying. She comes into the room, picks the little boy up, and carries him to the living room.
In the above example, the little boy initiated the interaction (crying), and his mother responded. In a way, the little boy influenced his mother’s behavior.
One of the most significant findings that Urie Bronfenbrenner unearthed in his study of ecological systems is that it is possible for siblings who find themselves in the same ecological system to experience very different environments.
Therefore, given two siblings experiencing the same microsystem, it is not impossible for the development of them to progress in different manners. Each child’s particular personality traits, such as temperament, which is influenced by unique genetic and biological factors, ultimately have a hand in how he/she is treated by others.
The Mesosystem
The mesosystem encompasses the interaction of the different microsystems which children find themselves in. It is, in essence, a system of microsystems and as such, involves linkages between home and school, between peer group and family, and between family and community.
The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Mesosystem
According to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory, if a child’s parents are actively involved in the friendships of their child, for example they invite their child’s friends over to their house from time to time and spend time with them, then the child’s development is affected positively through harmony and like-mindedness.
However, if the child’s parents dislike their child’s peers and openly criticize them, the child will experience disequilibrium and conflicting emotions, which will likely lead to negative development.
The Exosystem
The exosystem in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model pertains to the linkages that may exist between two or more settings, one of which may not contain the developing children but affect them indirectly nonetheless.
The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Exosystem
Based on Bronfenbrenner’s findings, people and places that children may not directly interact with may still have an impact on their lives. Such places and people may include the parents’ workplaces, extended family members, and the neighborhood the children live in.
For example, a father who is continually passed up for promotion by an indifferent boss at the workplace may take it out on his children and mistreat them at home. This will have a negative impact on the child’s development.
The Macrosystem
The macrosystem in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model is the largest and most distant collection of people and places to the children that still have significant influences on them. This ecological system is composed of the children’s cultural patterns and values, specifically their dominant beliefs and ideas, as well as political and economic systems.
The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Macrosystem
For example, children in war-torn areas will experience a different kind of development than children in a peaceful environment.
The Chronosystem
The chronosystem adds the useful dimension of time to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. It demonstrates the influence of both change and constancy in the children’s environments. The chronosystem may include a change in family structure, address, parents’ employment status, as well as immense society changes such as economic cycles and wars.
The Bronfenbrenner Ecological Model: Chronosystem
Application of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory
Through the various ecological systems, Bronfenbrenner’s theory demonstrates the diversity of interrelated influences on child development. Awareness of the contexts that children are in can sensitize us to variations in the way children may act in different settings.
For example, a child who frequently bullies smaller children at school may portray the role of a terrified victim at home. Due to these variations, adults who are concerned with the care of a particular child should pay close attention to his/her behavior in different settings, as well as to the quality and type of connections that exist between these settings.
How to cite this post: What is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory?. (2019, May 3). The Psychology Notes Headquarters. https://www.psychologynoteshq.com/bronfenbrenner-ecological-theory Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
In early 20th century, a Russian psychologist named Lev Vygotsky developed a theory of cognitive development in children known as Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development.
The main assertion of the Vygotsky theory is that cognitive development in early childhood is advanced through social interaction with other people, particularly those who are more skilled. In other words, unlike Piaget’s theory, Vygotsky proposed that social learning comes before cognitive development in children, and that children construct knowledge actively.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
Vygotsky’s Concept of Zone of Proximal Development
Lev Vygotsky is most recognized for his concept of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) pertaining to the cognitive development in children.
According to the Vygotsky theory of cognitive development, children who are in the zone of proximal development for a particular task can almost perform the task independently, but not quite there yet. With a little help from certain people, they’ll be able to perform the task successfully.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
Some factors that are essential in helping a child in the zone of proximal development:
The presence of someone who has better skills in the task that the child is trying to learn. This “someone” is known as a “More Knowledgeable Other”(MKO), which we will discuss below.
The child can receive instructions from the MKO during the learning process.
The MKO can offer temporary support (scaffolding) to the child during the learning process.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
For example, a five-year-old child knows how to ride a tricycle, but can’t ride a bicycle (with two wheels) unless his grandfather holds onto the back of her bike. According to Vygotsky’s theory, this child is in the zone of proximal development for riding bicycle.
With her grandfather’s help, this little girl learns to balance her bike. After some practising, she can ride the bike on her own.
Vygotsky’s concept of Zone of Proximal Development underscores Vygotsky’s conviction that social influences, particularly getting instructions from someone, are of immense importance on the cognitive development in early childhood.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
According to Vygotsky’s theory, as children are given instructions or shown how to perform certain tasks, they organize the new information received in their existing mental schemas. They use this information as guides on how to perform these tasks and eventually learn to perform them independently.
Vygotsky’s Concept of More Knowledgeable Other
Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory emphasizes that children learn through social interaction that include collaborative and cooperative dialogue with someone who is more skilled in tasks they’re trying to learn. Vygotsky called these people with higher skill level the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). MKO could be teachers, parents, tutors and even peers.
Vygotsky Theory of Cognitive Development
In our example of the five-year-old girl learning to ride a bike, her grandfather not only holds onto the back of the bike, but also verbally teaches her how to balance her bike. From the little girl’s point of view, her grandfather is what Vygotsky would call a More Knowledgeable Other.
Vygotsky’s Concept of Scaffolding
Vygotsky’s concept of scaffolding is closely related to the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development. Scaffolding refers to the temporary support given to a child by a More Knowledgeable Other that enables the child to perform a task until such time that the child can perform this task independently.
According to the Vygotsky theory, scaffolding entails changing the quality and quantity of support provided to a child in the course of a teaching session. The MKO adjusts the level of guidance in order to fit the student’s current level of performance.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
For novel tasks, the MKO may utilize direct instruction. As the child gains more familiarity with the task and becomes more skilled at it, the MKO may then provide less guidance.
To illustrate Vygotsky’s concept of scaffolding using our example of the five-year-old learning to ride a bike:
The little girl’s grandfather (MKO) may begin by holding onto the back of her bike the whole time that she is on the bike. As the little girl gains more experience, her grandfather may release his hold intermittently. Eventually the girl’s grandfather only grabs the bike when he needs to correct her balance. When the girl finally masters the skill, her grandfather no longer needs to hold onto her bike anymore, and the scaffolds can be removed.
Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development
A major contribution of Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development in children is the acknowledgement of the social component in both cognitive and psychosocial development. Due to Vygotsky’s proffered ideas, research attention has been shifted from the individual onto larger interactional units such as parent and child, teacher and student, brother and sister, etc.
The Vygotsky theory also called attention to the variability of cultural realities, stating that the cognitive development of children who are in one culture or subculture, such as middle class Asian Americans, may be totally different from children who are from other cultures. Therefore, it would not be fitting to compare the developmental milestones of children from one culture to those of children from other cultures. Module 5 Assignment: School/Family Communities
Assignment
Task: Submit to complete this assignment
Due October 24 at 11:59 PM
School/Family/Communities
Directions:
Write a 2-page reflection to explain why school, family, and community connections are important for student learning. Use either the theory of Vygotsky or Bronfenbrenner to explain why students seem to do better in school when their family and community are involved.
Please refer to the rubric associated with this assignment for detailed guidance about expectations and grading.
Connect your ideas to course materials using APA formatted citations and references.
Please submit this assignment through Assignments in D2L by 11:59 PM Central Time on Sunday.
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