At the end of this module, you should be able to :
Describe ach of the layers of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model.
Identify factors in one’s own life that exerted influence on one’s
Use the bioecological theory as a framework to describe the factors that
affect a child and adolescent development.
Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917 – 2005) was a
Russian-born American developmental
Bronfenbrenner’s model also known as
the Bioecological Systems theory
presented child development within the
context of relationships system that
comprises the child’s environment.
The term “bioecological” points out that
a child’s own biological make-up
impacts as a key factor in one’s
Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model:
Structure of Environment
Bronfenbrenner divided the person’s
environment into 5 different systems:
Bronfenbrenner (1977) suggested that the
environment of the child is nested arrangement
of structures, each contained within the next.
He organized them in order of how much of an
impact they have on a child.
- is the layer nearest the child. It comprises structures which the child directly interacts
with. This covers the most basic relationships and interactions that a child has in his/her
immediate environment. At the microsystem level, the child is most affected by these bi-
directional influences. However, interactions at outer layers still influence the structures
of the microsystem.
- this layer serves as the connection between the structures of the child ‘s
- this layer refers to the bigger social system in which the child does not function
directly. This includes the city government, the workplace, and the mass media. The
structure of this layer may influence the child’s development by somehow affecting some
structure in the child’s microsystem which includes the circumstances of the parents’
work like the location, schedules.
- This layer is found in the outermost part of the child’s environment. The
macrosystem includes the cultural values, customs, and laws. The belief system
contained in one’s macrosystem permeates all the interactions in the other layers and
reaches the individual.
- The chronosystem covers the element of time as it relates to a child’s environment.
This involves “patterns of stability and change” in the child’s life. This involves whether
the child’s day is characterized by an orderly predictable pattern, or whether the child is
subjected to sudden change in routine. We can also look into the pace of the child’s
As children get older, they may react differently to environmental changes. The
children may have also acquired the ability to cope and decide to what extent they will
allow changes around them to affect them.
The Role of Schools and Teachers
Bronfenbrenner co-founded Head Start, the publicly-funded early childhood program
in the US. He concluded that “the instability and predictability of family life is the most
destructive force to a child’s development.” Bronfenbrenner’s theory reminds the
school and the teachers of their very important role. The school and the teachers can
contribute stability and long-term relationships, but only to support and not replace the
relationships in the home.
Bronfenbrenner believes that, “the primary relationship needs to be with someone
who can provide a sense of caring that is meant to last a lifetime. This relationship must
be fostered by a person or people within the immediate sphere of the child’s influence.
Bronfenbrenner also stressed that society should value work done on behalf of
children at all levels, and consequently value, parents, teachers, extended family,
mentors, work supervisors, legislators.