Creating Opportunities For Successful Learning In Light Of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory acknowledges the effect that various interrelated environments has on the growth and development of an individual. The microsystem represents the child’s immediate environment, including relationships with family, teachers, and peers. Microsystems increases in amount and complexity as children develop (Stivaros, H., 2007). The mesosystem comprises links between various microsystems, such as the relationship between the caregivers and educator, or friends and family. The exosystem refers to the community that indirectly influences a child’s learning experience, for example the parents’ workplaces or extended relatives. The broad external layer consisting of culture, religious beliefs, public policies, and the economy, is known as the macrosystem. Knowledge of these interconnected systems can enrich the educators understanding of a student’s background and behaviour, allowing one to adjust manners of teaching as required.
Creating a Nurturing Climate
Learning involves a student’s internal cognitive processes in tandem with environmental influences. These external systems contribute to constructive or deteriorating classroom behaviour, therefore, it is the educator’s responsibility to familiarize oneself with various aspects of the student’s life. Educators should remain aware of this fact and tailor guidance that helps to keep these systems balanced.
When the values of multiple microsystems are congruent, it creates a supportive link which bolsters the child’s performance and development (Stivaros, H., 2007). If values are divergent, such as parents who value academic success but not peers, it may create pressure that negatively impacts progress. As a part of the school microsystem, the educator can serve as a positive role model for the students to look up to. By attaching significance to learning matter and emphasizing the value of learning, the educator can affect the class’s participation. It helps to set clear objectives, communicate realistic but high expectations, while providing kids with guidance to meet said expectations. It is important to create an encouraging, nurturing psychological climate in which kids feel safe and motivated to learn. They should feel comfortable knowing that even if they struggle, they will receive support, so long as they try their best.
According to research (Bronfenbrenner, 2009) , educators in smaller groups tend to engage in more social interaction with children, as opposed to educators in large groups who mainly observe. In light of Bronfenbrenner’s 21st hypothesis, the effectiveness of learning in group settings depends on how the educator interacts with students. The educator’s attitude towards each student as an individual is important, as care and attention directly influences the child’s receptiveness. Engaging in behaviours like questioning, responding and praising, reinforces the child and encourages task-oriented, self-regulated learning. Creating an environment like this has a significant impact on making the classroom a system in which flourishing behaviour can occur, thus increasing the child’s confidence in taking positive risks, persevering, and learning.
Interactions within the microsystem involve personal relationships with caregivers, classmates, and teachers which all contribute to the child’s growth. Similarly, the child’s natural temperament, and reaction to these interactions may influence how the child is treated. More nurturing and supportive interactions will result in improved development.
The formation of dyads is a key concept in systems theory and is important for development, serving as the basic building block of the microsystem. A dyad is formed whenever two persons participate in one another’s activities. Some example of dyads could be the parent being a visitor, joint activity would be if the parent converses with the educator, if the parent and educator establish friendship is a primary dyad. A joint activity dyad leads to increasing motivation to pursue and perfect the activity.
A problem in the exosystem can entail a parent experiencing occupational stress or financial strain, which may be taken out on the child, negatively influencing the child’s school progress. Productive parent-educator relations is an important step especially. If parents feel negatively about child’s peers and educator, child may experience disequilibrium and conflicting emotions. Bronfenbrenner argues development would benefit from mutual respect, support between educator and parents, by avoiding mistrust and antagonism. Students with positive supportive relations with educator are passionate and greatly involved in learning. Educators with positive relationship are more productive and experience positive emotions in class, influencing the overall atmosphere. To value the environment in which children live, the educator can endeavour to keep in contact with people or establishments that play major role in kids life. This can be done by informing caregivers of child’s accomplishments, or possible interferences in kids learning. In turn, parents may provide insightful information regarding environmental factors away from class that could be influencing the child. This information can be gleaned via parent-educator conferences, letters, phone calls, parent discussion. Educator can have an influence in strengthening interactions with the mesosystem, by understanding the home life of each student.
Students with involved parents have higher achievement and more positive attitudes. Educators can improve learning experience by getting parents involved in school events, assigning tasks that require the help or guidance of those at home. Parents involved in homework can then see child’s progress, provide support, and gain insight regarding the child’s learning environment. Educators can appeal for cooperation from reluctant parents by imploring them to demonstrate their talents with the class, stimulating involvement and the formation of connections. Furthermore, it is important to try to understand students cultural background in order to enhances effectiveness of teaching style and strategies. For example, in the scenario of a classroom with Muslim students, an holistic educator would seek to connect coursework with Islamic wisdom, not only for the sake of creating meaningful links that will facilitate the retrieval of information, but also for the sake of imparting knowledge that will benefit learners in this life and the next. In this, knowledge is made relevant to children.
Implementing Molar and Authentic Activities
A caring educator is important for kids without support at home, thus, one can implement small but positive acts in daily interactions such as smiling while greeting children at the door, acknowledgement, small compliment. Some students misbehave to gain attention, thus be good listeners when kids is angry or upset. Avoid criticism, hostility and faultfinding. Allow positive emotions to emerge by spending time with struggling children for a small personal chat. Create a sense of community and belonging with classmates, by making sure derision is discouraged and positivity is encouraged, tactfully and respectfully correct flaws. Sense of school community evokes positive attitudes towards school, interaction with peers from diverse backgrounds, and willingness to learn.
Promote a sense of autonomy by assigning manageable but mentally stimulating tasks children can do themselves. Modify instructional strategies where needed. Flexible desk arrangement makes it easier for students to face the teacher or each other. (Bronfenbrenner, 2009) Play, fantasy and games relate to development of conformity versus autonomy as well as the evolution of particular forms of cognitive function. Associating learning material with fun can enhance memorization. Molar activities are ongoing purposeful meaningful activities, motivator that increases perseverance and chance for completion. Greater meaningfulness of activity leads to satisfying conclusion. building tower of blocks, reading, hike, shell searching.
Joint discussions helps kid internalize strategies. Create community of learners where peer groups discuss latest lesson and students are active participants. Community of learners who are different enhance understanding of multiculturalism and diversity- watch out for kids who dominate discussions, monitor so that student participation is even. Some schemes are unique to particular cultures, thus learning material might not be processed the same way by pupils from diverse macrosystems. Educator must adapt and explain accordingly. Supervised E-learning can teach children how to utilise technology while exposing kids to larger systems that compromise the world.
Incorporate community work, so that students can enhance their mesosystems by interacting with institutions outside the class environments, such as clinics, hospitals. Bronfenbrenner advocated the introduction of a curriculum for caring in which children engage in spending time with and caring for others-old people, younger children, the sick. The teacher could arrange that supervisors of these tasks are parents, senior citizens, volunteers, which is beneficial in extending the child’s microsystem and creating links on a broader spectrum, foster positivity and desire to gain knowledge that will impact the wider community. Implement authentic activities identical to those in the real world promotes meaningful learning and exposes kids to potential adult society and roles, helps to make mental connection between learning material and out of school scenarios. Child may feel inspired by the work done, influencing passion for learning in classroom.
Other than the home environment, children spend the most time in the classroom. Therefore, the educator plays a key role in facilitating the development of the child within the microsystem of the educational institution, which in turn influences the child with respect to other systems. Aside from creating a productive classroom environment as per the considerations and strategies mentioned above, it would be beneficial for the educator to be familiarised with the Islamic etiquette of gaining and conveying knowledge. Muslim educators can find inspiration in the Sunnah regarding ways in which the Prophet Muhammad ? dealt with various individuals, particularly his gentle and patient mannerisms towards children. These noble characteristics would prove beneficial, even within a multicultural and diverse classroom.