ECOLOGICAL THEORY OF URI Bronfenbrenner, Introduction...


As a result of mastering this topic, the student must:


• the concept of environmental validity and examples of its use in educational practice;

• concepts of the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem;

be able to

• analyze the influence of the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem and macrosystem on the further development of the child;


• skills in analyzing the practical application of the theory of W. Bronfenbrenner in education.

Introduction to the ecological theory of Uri Bronfenbrenner

One of the theories of development related to the study of the environment in which a person develops is called environmental psychology. Her outstanding representative is the American psychologist W. Bronfenbrenner. In building his concept, he relied on Vygotsky's ideas (primarily on his thesis on the social origin of higher mental functions and the role of the social situation of development in their development). We can say that the theory of W. Bronfenbrenner is a development of the concept of the social situation of development in foreign psychology. Analyzing the social situation of development, he stressed three of its most important components: the child's activities, the social roles he faces, and the interpersonal relationships that he enters into.

Uri Bronfenbrenner defined the ecological approach as a scientific study of the progressive mutual adaptation throughout the life of an active, evolving human being and the changing properties of the immediate environment in which a person lives ... this process is subject to the influence of relationships within the given environment, and also From the wider context in which this environment is included & quot ;. It should be noted that the subject, according to the above definition, is understood as a person actively forming his own development. Between the subject and the social environment there are relations of reversibility - the environment influences the subject and changes itself in the course of interaction with it. The society is presented not as a fixed, limited reality, but as a complex dynamic system. The ecological approach shows that without taking into account the influence of social factors, one can not adequately understand the formation of a person.

For example, the indicators that children demonstrate in a laboratory experiment are different from those that are achieved in natural conditions. Thus, in the work of G. Ross and his colleagues, 36 children aged one to one and a half years were repeatedly subjected to the so-called meeting with a stranger: during the game of the child, a stranger, the mother of the child entered and went out to the room; mother and stranger; father of the child; father and stranger, etc. It turned out that "the children tested in the laboratory cried an average of three times more than the children tested at home." The authors of another study tried to take into account these circumstances when investigating the impact of the involvement of African-American preschoolers from the poor in a program called "Head Start". It is believed that the participation of children in such a program positively affects their intellectual and social development. The experimenters naturally assumed that if one assumes that the home environment is the most comfortable for testing, then for the children involved in the program there will be practically no difference between the place of residence (at home or in school) (since the program is also aimed at social development) , while for children not involved in the program, testing will be more difficult in the conditions of the school. It turned out that if the hypothesis was confirmed for the first category of children, then for the second the results were the opposite - at home the children performed the test tasks much worse. This phenomenon was explained simply: testing was carried out by a white experimenter belonging to the middle class, which "created an unusual situation for the child. For example, the children were dressed in a special way ... The mothers tried to be near the children and tracked their progress ... they also gave out the unusualness of the situation to instructions addressed to children: "Do not touch it. I just cleaned it here. " The mother's attitude to the situation could cause tension and anxiety in the child, which could, in turn, affect the results of the preschooler & quot ;. As U. Bronfenbrenner points out, the importance of laboratory experiment as an ecological environment used to study human behavior is determined by how it is perceived by the subject and what roles, relationships and actions this subjective vision causes. At the same time, it will be wrong to examine a person in artificial conditions, since we can not normally exist in a social vacuum.

Interesting results were obtained in the experiments of the American psychologist and educator J. Bruner. The study involved children of wealthy businessmen and residents of the Boston slums. Subjects using a special installation needed to choose the size of the light spot projected onto the wall, which would correspond to the subjects demonstrated by the experimenter. For this purpose, previously the children were trained to control the size of the light spot with the help of the handle of the installation. The adult showed children coins worth 1.5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. Each coin was presented four times. It turned out that poor children significantly (in 1,5 times) overestimated the size of coins, while rich children overestimated it insignificantly. In addition, rich children almost did not overestimate the size of coins with a denomination of up to 25 cents, while for poor children a revaluation was observed for coins of all indicated denominations. This fact Bruner explains the subjective significance of the coin: for poor children, even one cent is worth. When comparing the performance of tasks from memory (when coins were not shown) and when coins were presented (at a distance of 15 cm from the light spot), the following results were obtained: but in memory, rich children overestimated the size of coins of 25 and 50 cents, was approaching the real; poor children had a different picture - for all coins, upon presentation, their size was overestimated in comparison with what they exhibited when they evaluated the coins from memory. J. Bruner argues that the presence of a precious coin so worried the children from the poor stratum of society that they could not objectively assess its size, since they were captured only by one desire - the desire to receive it. This experiment showed that the results are influenced by the environment in which the child lives.

Uri Bronfenbrenner relied on the field theory of K. Levin. If K. Levin proceeded from the formula B = f (PE) (behavior is a function of personality and environment), Bronfenbrenner used this formula somewhat differently: D = f (PE) - development is a function of personality and environment. Here, in contrast to the formulation of K. Levine, the time parameter appears in a latent form, since the personality characteristics of the subject at a given moment in time will be directly conditioned by the specifics of his characteristics and environment throughout his life up to the present moment. In this sense, the letter D hides not so much the process of development as its result. Therefore, for example, the definition of personal or mental characteristics of a person without taking into account the environment in which they were formed and applied, from the position of ecological psychology is impossible. It is known that different cultures require the development of different abilities depending on the cultural goals set: the Arab sheiks were known for a good memory for the outcome of the battles; Polynesian sailors have amazing distance-learning skills; African storytellers remember the genealogy and history of the development of entire clans, etc. S. Chechy and J. Liker investigated the ability to predict the winner in the races. Based on 15 indicators for 50 horses and their jockeys, the subjects had to name the winner in 10 really running races. As such indicators were made: the maximum horse speed, current jockey skills, places occupied in specific races, money earned by the horse at the races for all time, the length of the trails, the condition of the cover during the specific races, the current condition of the cover, etc. Obviously, to compare such information it is not enough to use only one indicator (for example, the maximum developed by the horse speed) - all parameters must be taken into account. One could assume that the success of such an examination is closely related to the level of intelligence of the subject, as it depends on the construction of nonlinear dependencies, the influence of various factors, etc. The results indicated that this was not the case. Subjects who identified 10 winners out of 10 had an IQ of not more than 90. These data suggest that in solving a complex problem of comparing probabilities, such a single indicator as the level of intellectual development is not prognostic. These studies have demonstrated that the success of predictions depends not so much on the human intellect as on its inclusion in the relevant cultural space.

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