Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory

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The old African proverb ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’ (Mohamed, 1996, p. 57) rings significantly through Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner and Evans 2000); a theory which focuses on gaining insight into human development through identifying the circumstances and considering the environmental influences of which a child is raised not just the genetic components.

This essay will endeavour to encompass my understanding of Bronfenbrenner’s theory by incorporating the effect of the theory in child development and the significance of the nested systems with the purpose of illustrating the importance for the development of secondary emotion and the development of the expression of emotion from infancy through to adolescence.

Bronfenbrenner’s approach was to study children in their natural environments to explore how a child experiences and interprets their world within a complex system of relationships (Berk, 2009, p. 26). His theory regards the environment of a child; taking into account the practices within that environment and how they might influence development and of the child’s individual connections to show the way in which external forces and the child interrelate to influence their development (Paquette and Ryan, n.d.). It is important to recognise how the interaction of the systems with bidirectional (adults affect children’s behaviour but children’s behaviour can also affect adults’ behaviour [Berk, 2009]) influences within and between the systems can strengthen or interrupt healthy child development as each system contains roles, norms, values, beliefs and rules that can effectively shape their development.

From this writers perspective Bronfenbrenner’s theory ...

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Mohamed, E.R. (1996). It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child. Peabody Journal of Education, Mentors and Mentoring 71(1), 57. Retrieved from id=21100750938471

Paquette, D., & Ryan, J. (n.d.). Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. Retrieved from

Wilson, R.L. (2003). The emotional life of children. Wagga Wagga: Keon.

Wilson, R.L. (2012). Child and adolescent psychology. Week 4. [Psy113 CSU Forums]. Retrieved March 23, 2012 from Charles Sturt University website
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