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The Bioecological Model of Human Development Essay

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    The bioecological model of human development has four basic systems. The four basic systems are macro systems, exosystems, microsystems, and mesosystems. I will summarize the four systems and how the influences that they have on a child’s development.

    I will describe how the four systems in the model differ from one other. I will provide examples of the four systems of their relationships and interactions to one another. The fours systems are microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, and macrosystems.Microsystems, which involves immediate environments like (family, school, peer group, neighborhoods, and childcare environments).

    Mesosystems, A system compromise of connections between immediate environments(examples a child’s home and school). Exosystem; External environmental settings which only indirectly affect development(such as parent’s workplace). Macrosystem: (the larger cultural context) national economy, political culture, and subculture. Examples of macrosystems are family planning services and affordability of contraceptives which can influence teen pregnancy and birth rates.

    Young women are taking to the planned parenthood in their area to get birth control pills to prevent teenage pregnancy. We have birth rates here in the valley the youngest we have had giving birth is an 11year old. Examples of what is in the exosystems layer are extended family, family networks, mass media, workplaces, neighbors, family friends, community health systems, legal services, social welfare services. Though the child may not have dire contact with it, the systems affect the child’s development and socialization – as do all the systems.

    Because the people in the child’s life are affected by the exosystems and mesosystems Mesosystems as parents interact with childcare providers, or as neighbors interact with each other. We as parents we try to stay involved with our children’s homework, grades and other things. But if we see something is wrong we set up a parent conference right away with the teacher. Ecological systems theory: “This theory looks at a child’s development within the context of the system of relationships that form his or her environment.

    Bronfenbrenner’s theory defines complex “layers” of environment, each having an effect on a child’s development”. This theory has recently been renamed “bioecological systems theory” to emphasize that a child’s own biology is a primary environment fueling her development” The interaction between factors in the child’s maturing biology, his immediate family/community environment, and the societal landscape fuels and steers his development. Changes or conflict in any one layer will ripple throughout other layers. To study a child’s development then, we must look not only at the child and her immediate environment, but also at the interaction of the larger environment as well.

    The various terms in this graphic are links that lead to pages explaining their implications in this theory. Bronfenbrenner’s structure of environment: “The microsystem – this is the layer closest to the child and contains the structures with which the child has direct contact”. (Berk, 2000). The microsystem encompasses the relationships and interactions a child has with her immediate surroundings (Berk, 2000).

    ” “Structures in the microsystem include family, school, neighborhood, or childcare environments”. (Berk, 2000). “At this level, relationships have impact in two directions – both away from the child and toward the child.For example, a child’s parents may affect his beliefs and behavior; however, the child also affects the behaviorand beliefs of the parent” (Berk, 2000).

    . Bronfenbrenner calls these bi-directional influences, and he shows how they occur among all levels of environment. “The interaction of structures within a layer and interactions of structures between layers is key to this theory. ” At the microsystem level, bi-directional influences are strongest and have the greatest impact on the child.

    However, interactions at outer levels can still impact the inner structures. The mesosystem – this layer provides the connection between the structures of the child’s microsystem” (Berk, 2000). Examples: the connection between the child’s teacher and his parents, between his church and his neighborhood,etc.The exosystem – this layer defines the larger social system in which the child does not function directly.

    “ The structures in this layer impact the child’s development by interacting with some structure in her microsystem” (Berk,2000). Parent workplace schedules or community-based family resources are examples. ‘The child may not be directly involved at this level, but he does feel the ositive or negative force involved with the interaction with his own system(Berk, 2000). The macrosystem – this layer may be considered the outermost layer in the child’s environment.

    “While not being a specific framework, this layer is comprised of cultural values, customs, and laws” (Berk, 2000). The effects of larger principles defined by the macrosystem have a cascading influence throughout the interactions of all other layers. For example, if it is the belief of the culture that parents should be solely responsible for raising their children, that culture is less likely to provide resources to help parents.This, in turn, affects the structures in which the parents function.

    The parents’ ability or inability to carry out that responsibility toward their child within the context of the child’s microsystem is likewise affected. “Bronfenbrenner conceptualizes the exosystem as “one or more settings that do not involve the developing person as an active participant, but in which events occur that affect, or are affected by, what happens in the setting containing the developing person” (1979:25), and this also has guided research about child care. For example, as discussed earlier, the mother’s work environment (her schedule, working conditions, etc. has implications for the child’s development even if the child is not typically cared for at the mother’s work site (Hoffman and Youngblade, 1999).

    ” Such effects are consistent with the conceptualization of the exosystem. ” “The microsystem refers to the front line of care, the network of interdependent people, information, and technology working together to accomplish a specific aim (e. g. , ambulatory pediatric clinic, labor and delivery room, inpatient unit).

    ” The mesosystem creates the environment for transformation and includes the resources, strategies, and measures to guide and track change.Mesosystems enable interdependent functioning of multiple microsystems and confront impediments to good patient care— for example, from poor information systems or from relationships that do not recognize true interdependence. The macrosystem sets a vision and goals to guide the micro and mesosystems by providing an enabling context and leadership for change. Professional development strategies and alignment of incentives are fostered at the macrosystem level.

    They are a natural point of accountability for the care outcomes of a community (Nelson et al. , 2007). “The point of the cological model is that each component interacts with other components, making a highly complex context the child grows up in. Another point is that the child isn’t just a passive recipient of what goes on in his or her life.

    The child at the center of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model interacts directly with the people in the microsystems and the effects of the interaction go both ways. As people affect the child, so the child has an influence on them. Another point is that nothing ever remains static. As a result, the child, systems, and environments are ever changing.

    Milestones and life events occur as time passes, the child grows, and the contexts change. ”( Ecological Theory of Human Development The ecological systems theory was developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner. This theory uses different types of relationships and surroundings of a person to help explain their development. It is broken down into different layers of the child’s environment which are; the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem and the macrosystem.

    The key to this theory is the interactions of structures within a layer and the interaction of structures between layers (Paquette ; Ryan, 2001).The theory points out that while relationships close to the child have a direct impact; other outside factors also have a powerful impact on their development The Mesosystem Bronfenbrenner classifies the mesosystem as the connecting of the structures of the microsystem (Berk, 2007, p. 24). The child’s environment links the child with its immediate surroundings.

    An example of the mesosystem is the fact that a child’s education and learning not only depends upon the teachers’ knowledge, but also the parents of the child, as they have an equal responsibility to assist the child in learning and education.Parents have the role of supporting the child with their education as learning, education and knowledge must be “carried over into the home” (Berk, 2007, p. 24). An adults’ relationship as spouses and as parents, depends largely upon the affects of relationship in their workplace.

    The Exosystem Bronfenbrenner describes the exosystem as being, ‘made up of social settings that do not contain the developing person but nevertheless affect experiences in their immediate settings’ (Berk, 2007, p. 25). The exosystem is the outer shell surrounding both the mesosystem and the microsystem.Exosystems can support both formal and informal environments.

    The formal surroundings include organisations such as child welfare services and the adult’s workplace. An example of this would be the adults’ workplace (job), that paid maternity leave, had flexible work schedules, sick leave, etc. This would help parents and guardians with children as it would cater for and allow parents to care for their children, for example, when they are ill. “Indirectly, it would enhance the development of both adult and child” (Berk, 2007, p.

    25).The informal part of the exosystem is that children can be “affected by their parents’ social networks” (Berk, 2007, p. 25), for example, friends and extended family. Research validates the fact that parents and guardians who may be unemployed, have few or no family or friends “show increased rates of conflict and child abuse” (Berk, 2007, p.

    25). The Macrosystem The macrosystem is the outside level of Bronfenbrennor’s structure. This level does not contain a particular subject, rather a variety of influences such as laws, customs, resources and cultural values. The influences (e.

    g. hild and parents) in the inner levels of the exosystem, are affected by the support of the macrosystem. Therefore, the exosystem, mesosystem and the microsystem are all affected by the macrosystem. For example: a child born into a strong Christian family will be strongly influenced by their parents, (mesosystem), who would have been influenced by their parents (exosystem), who would have been influenced by the Christian vales and customs passed on through the family’s generations (macrosystem).

    This shows how the macrosystem can have an indirect yet still significant influence on the child. (Berk, 2007, p. 25).How the system changes Bronfenbrenner believes that the ecological system is an active system, which is constantly developing.

    The size of an individual’s microsystem changes every time they obtain or let go of life roles or surroundings. These changes are crucial to the child’s development. For example: starting school, getting married, starting a first job, having children, moving house/countries, getting divorced, retiring. This form is known as the chronosystem (chrono meaning ‘time’).

    Life changes are enforced from external environments, however, these changes can also occur from inside the individual.This is because humans are able to choose, alter and construct several of their own settings and understandings. The way in which this occurs is affected by the person’s age, their environment prospects, behaviour, and physical and logical characteristics. As a result, in the ecological systems theory, an individual’s development is not determined by environmental factors or internal character.

    People are products and creators of their own environments. Therefore, both people and their surroundings form a system of mutually dependent effects. (Berk, 2007, p. 25).

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    The Bioecological Model of Human Development Essay. (2017, May 13). Retrieved from

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What does the bioecological model of human development explain?
    The bioecological model is based on the idea that the relationships children have with parents and caregivers impacts their development – and that these relationships are affected by their work, school, and community settings, which are in turn affected by broader social, cultural, and policy conditions.
    What is the main idea of Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory?
    The bioecological model is based on the idea that the relationships children have with parents and caregivers impacts their development – and that these relationships are affected by their work, school, and community settings, which are in turn affected by broader social, cultural, and policy conditions.
    Why is the bioecological model important?
    Thus, the bioecological model highlights the importance of understanding a person's development within environmental systems. It further explains that both the person and the environment affect one another bidirectionally.

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