Discussion and research

Part 1 Your text uses Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model to explain how children’s development is affected by different groups within their world. Using this theory, we can understand how children are socialized both intentionally and unintentionally. You must understand how this theory applies to your own upbringing as well as a young child’s upbringing in order to truly comprehend the concept. After reading the text and the “Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory .” article, use your understanding of this theory to respond to the questions below. Using Bronbenbrenner’s ecological model, respond to the following questions: How did the microsystem that you grew up in differ from your parents’ or grandparents’ microsystems? Do you think this is a detrimental or an affirmative change to society as a whole? b.How do you think technology, specifically social media, influences a child’s mesosystems? Guided Response: Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Resource Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory link http://www.floridahealth.gov/AlternateSites/CMS-Kids/providers/early_steps/training/documents/bronfenbrenners_ecological.pdf Chapter 1 Part Two Agents of socialization include parents, siblings, extended family, community, culture, economic environment, religion, child care, school, teachers, peers, formal organizations, sports, mass media, and technology. In an ideal world, these agents would complement one another in order to best influence a child’s development. Choose three of the above agents and discuss how these agents can have both a positive and negative influence on a child’s development. Include examples from your own experience and share ways that you believe the agents of socialization could be improved. Guided Response: Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Uniview Worldwide Ltd. (Producer). (2002). Early socialization: From age two to age five [Video file]. Retrieved from https://secure.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=31078&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref= Young, L. (n.d.). Urie Bronfenbrenner’s human ecological theory. Retrieved from http://lorilynnyoung.edu.glogster.com/urie-bronfenbrenners-human-ecology-theory/c

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Theoretical Views of Childhood
Learning Objectives
By the end of the chapter, you will be able to:
• Understand what socialization is and how social learning theories are used to
explain it in children.
• Analyze the five systems outlined by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model.
• Explain the extent to which socialization affects a child’s development.
• Describe how the interaction of the ecological chronosystem influences a child’s
socialization and development.
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ave you heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? You may laugh at
the thought, given the autonomous society and independent family structures in
which we live. After all, children are direct results of their upbringing, right? They
often mimic their parents’ actions or sayings when they are young, and ultimately grow
up to be like them. Therefore, you might say that parents are the ones who foster their
children’s development the most. But have you factored in those children’s friends and
teachers at school? They impact children’s lives as well. If you start digging deeper, you
will see that almost everything affects children’s development. Society’s values, beliefs,
and customs can influence the ways in which children behave. Even historical events like
wars and recessions affect children.
In this chapter, we will explore Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model, which explains
how children’s development is affected by the different groups and entities within the
“village,” or in the case of the model, within five interlocking systems. Within this context,
we can better understand how children are socialized both intentionally and unintentionally and why it is important to foster socialization early in their lives. Additionally, we
will discuss how historical events, such as wars and acts of terrorism, as well as ongoing
events, including technology and political climates, can impact children’s socialization.
1. Operant conditioning is defined as a process in which a response is gradually
learned via reinforcement or punishment.
2. The five systems of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model operate independently of
the child.
3. The process of socialization can be categorized as either intentional or
4. Technology has not had a big impact on children growing up today.
1. True
The answer can be found in Section 1.1.
2. False
The answer can be found in Section 1.2.
3. True
The answer can be found in Section 1.3.
4. False
The answer can be found in Section 1.4.
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Section 1.1 Theories Relating to Socialization
1.1 Theories Relating to Socialization
ave you ever seen a child mimic something that his or her parent has done and
wondered why the child is doing it and what purpose it serves? Have you ever
asked yourself why that toddler is pretending to make dinner? Or how that
infant knows how to hold a cell phone when he or she pretends to use it? In order to
answer these questions, we have to understand how children are socialized. Children’s
socialization has been defined as the processes whereby naïve individuals are taught
the skills, behavior patterns, values, and motivations needed for competent functioning
in the culture in which they are growing up. Socialization occurs over time and through
interactions with significant others. It is achieved by means of communication in emotionally significant contexts (Handel, Cahill, & Elkind, 2007).
Ultimately, socialization leads to certain outcomes that are shaped by particular social groups
of varying scopes. However, before we can start
to explore the theories behind how children are
socialized, we first have to understand what a
theory is.
A theory (or learning perspective) is an organized set of statements that explains observations,
integrates different factors or events, and predicts
future outcomes. Theories can be used to describe
any number of things. For example, theories are
used to explain why airplanes stay in the sky or
why pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins. Theories help us predict what is going to
happen next. Theories help us to address the who,
what, where, when, and why of everyday life
experiences. They organize our answers to each
of these important questions. For the purposes of
this book, we are going to be using theory to help
explain a child’s socialization. Within the realm of
child development, there are two major learning
perspectives that address the process of socialization. These two learning perspectives are called
behaviorism and social learning.
Actions such as a child mimicking her
mother can be understood by studying
Papalia, Olds, and Feldman (2009) defined behaviorism as a “learning theory that emphasizes the predictable role of environment in causing observable behavior” (p. 31). So what
does that mean? Let’s look at an example. Finn, an 11-month-old child, laughs every time
his parents take off his socks, which you may think is not a typical reaction. However,
upon closer examination, you may find that each time his socks are removed his parents
laugh and say, “You have stinky piggies.” Pretty soon, he laughs each time his socks are
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Section 1.1 Theories Relating to Socialization
about to be removed by anybody without them saying anything. Thus, children react to
their world based upon what is presented to them. However, what is presented to them
may not provoke the response you would predict. This type of connection was studied at
the turn of the twentieth century by Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936). He used dogs to illustrate
how certain stimuli create a response.
Pavlov and Classical Conditioning
In his experiments, Pavlov would ring a bell before presenting dogs with food. Each time
the food was presented, the dogs would salivate. Pavlov repeated this procedure several
times, and soon the sound of the bell alone would make the dogs salivate, as they had
learned that the sound of the bell meant food. This marked the beginning of classical
conditioning: the learning that takes place based on an association of a stimulus that does
not ordinarily elicit a response with another stimulus that does elicit the response. It is
important to note that in classical conditioning, the stimulus comes before the behavior or
response. When examining Pavlov’s experiment, we can see this process in action whereby
something that is a neutral stimulus (like the bell) can solicit a response (salivating) without a meaningful stimulus (food). This implies that learning has occurred.
John B. Watson (1878–1958) applied the same principles of classical conditioning to children’s learning. In his experiment (Watson & Rayner, 1920), Watson caused “Little Albert,”
an infant, to become afraid of small, furry, and white objects by means of classical conditioning. This led Watson to make the claim that he could effectively mold any infant
in any way he chose. In the experiment, Watson played a loud noise just before the child
was about to touch the small, furry, and white stuffed animal. He did this repeatedly, and
each time Little Albert would cry. Eventually, just looking at the stuffed animal would
provoke crying in the infant. In fact, Little Albert even generalized his fear to other furry
objects, such as Santa Claus’s beard. Although Watson showed that classical conditioning could be applied to humans, this experiment raised ethical concerns and would be
deemed unethical today.
Operant Conditioning
Another behaviorist approach to learning, made popular by B. F. Skinner (1904–1990),
is called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is defined as a process in which
a response is gradually learned via reinforcement or punishment. Operant conditioning
involves voluntary behaviors, such as a child completing his or her chores, whereas classical conditioning deals with reflexive behaviors, like salivation in Pavlov’s dogs. Unlike
classical conditioning, the stimulus in operant conditioning comes after the behavior. For
example, imagine Finn again. This time, Finn is sitting in a high chair watching his father
make dinner. As Finn’s dad turns around, Finn is smiling, so his father smiles back, walks
to the high chair, and kisses him on the cheek. This happens several times over the course
of making nightly dinners. Eventually, Finn realizes that his originally accidental behavior
(his smiles) has an effect on other’s behaviors. He has learned through reinforcement that
when he smiles, he gets a kiss on the cheek. Reinforcement increases the likelihood that a
behavior will be repeated.
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Section 1.1 Theories Relating to Socialization
In Finn’s case, his father’s kisses reinforced his smiling. In contrast, punishment decreases
the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated. If Finn’s father had a beard and the kisses
hurt Finn’s cheek, he would be less likely to keep smiling. Keep in mind that what is reinforcement for one child may be seen as punishment for another. For example, Finn does
not like the feel of his father’s beard, so he will not smile to get his dad’s kisses. However,
Finn’s sister, Eleanor, does like the feel of her father’s beard. Therefore, she will smile at
her father to get kisses on her cheek.
Reinforcement can be positive or negative. With positive reinforcement, something pleasant is added, whereas with negative reinforcement, something unpleasant is taken away.
An example of positive reinforcement is getting ice cream after earning an A on a spelling
test. Negative reinforcement (which should not be confused with punishment) “occurs
when an individual learns to perform a specific behavior in order to cause something
unpleasant to stop” (Bee & Boyd, 2002, p. 33). For example, a child learns to blow on his or
her soup prior to eating it, after repeatedly burning his or her tongue. However, negative
reinforcement can also be unintentional. For example, Finn’s mom inadvertently encourages Finn to whine when they go shopping. When they go to the store and Finn sees something he wants, he will whine and scream until his mom (who is now embarrassed by the
crying and annoyed by the whining) gives in and puts the item in the shopping cart. Now,
Finn has learned that when he wants something, all he has to do is whine and cry and his
mom will give it to him. But in this case, Finn is using the negative reinforcement to get
his mother to buy what he wants.
A form of positive punishment is having a child vacuum the
house for missing his curfew.
Positive punishment is when
something unpleasant is added,
and negative punishment occurs
when something pleasant is
taken away (like removal of privileges). An example of positive
punishment is when a mother
tells her son to vacuum the house
(a chore he particularly dislikes)
for the next month because he
missed curfew. In contrast, negative punishment would be when
the mother forbids her son from
going out with his friends for the
next month as a result of breaking curfew.
One of the drawbacks of behaviorism (which includes classical
and operant conditioning) is that it does not account for children’s culture, their values,
and their social influences such as the special relationship between them and their parents
or peers. Social learning theory addresses these concerns.
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Section 1.2 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
Social Learning Theory
The American psychologist Albert Bandura (b. 1925) contested the behaviorist approach
(1977, 1982, 1989) requiring reinforcement. In the 1960s, he published some pioneering
studies of imitative learning, or learning through modeling (Bandura, 1962, 1965). He
argued that this observational method of socialization involves learning by watching
the behavior of others. In other words, learning could be vicarious. For example, a child
who watches his father shave before work every morning eventually learns the process
of shaving and will begin to mimic his father’s actions even though he may be too young
to shave.
In recent revisions to his early theory (1999, 2001), Bandura places greater emphasis on
the role of cognition—so much so, that he now calls his theory a social-cognitive approach
rather than a social-learning approach. With this change, Bandura believes that cognitive
processes are at work as people observe models, learn chunks of behavior, and mentally
put these chunks together into newly formed and often complex behavior patterns. Bandura also believes that children become more selective in the behaviors that they choose
to imitate. By doing so, they develop a set of personal standards for behavior as well as
what has become one of the principle components of social learning theory, self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is defined as the confidence in one’s abilities or characteristics required to
succeed in a given task. For example, Maria has watched her mother run every morning for the past 3 weeks as she trains for an upcoming marathon. Maria’s mother has
taped inspirational quotes around the treadmill and often repeats these phrases around
the house. Maria often hears phrases such as, “You can do it” and “Hard work, persistence, and determination pays off.” Meanwhile, Maria has a difficult math test coming
up. While watching her mother run one morning, Maria decides to go study in her room.
When asked where she is going, Maria replies, “I have a hard a test coming up. I know I
can do it, and my hard work will pay off with an A.” Can you think of any examples from
your own life where you modeled a behavior after an adult? What was this behavior, and
do you think it was appropriate or inappropriate given your age at the time?
1.2 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
rie Bronfenbrenner (1917–2005) explained children’s development within a series
of interacting systems in his ecological model. At the center of these systems is
an individual child whose experiences with these systems will either hinder or
foster future development. Bronfenbrenner defined his ecological model through five
interlocking systems, which are placed on a continuum that ranges from the most intimate to the broadest. For example, these contexts begin in the home and work their way
out through the school, church, and neighborhood. However, from there, these contexts
move even further outward by encompassing the current laws, policies, and cultural
values and beliefs that ultimately directly and indirectly affect children during their
development. These systems are labeled as follows: microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. The first four systems of the ecological model
operate via direct interactions with the child, whereas the fifth level, the chronosystem,
places the child and these interactions within a historical context. During the last years
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Section 1.2 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
of his life, Bronfenbrenner reenvisioned his theory to take into account the inherited
genetic predispositions of children. In this sense, Bronfenbrenner believed that the biological makeup of the child also interacted with the child’s environment during the
process of development. Accordingly, he renamed his model the “bioecological model,”
which you can see in Figure 1.1 (Bronfenbrenner, 2005; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006).
For our purposes here, we will continue to use the term ecological model.
Figure 1.1: Bronfenbrenner’s ring approach
Societal Beliefs
ci a
ra m
and Group
Cultural Context
Societa alues
l Aid
Funding for Schools
Historical events that
have a comprehensive
effect on other
Using Bronfenbrenner’s theory, examine your own experiences growing up. How are the influences of
each ring layer in your development apparent?
The first interacting system in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model is the microsystem. Bronfenbrenner (1979) defined the microsystem as “a pattern of activities, roles,
and interpersonal relationships experienced by the developing person in a given setting . . .” (p. 22). Let’s take for example Darrell. Darrell is influenced by his parents;
his best friend, Malick; his classmates at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School; and
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Section 1.2 Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
his little league teammates, the Panthers. In return, Darrell also impacts his parents;
his best friend, Malick; his classmates at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School; and
his little league teammates, the Panthers. In other words, bidirectional influences permeate the microsystems; the child is influencing his or her family, school, peers, and
community members at the same time that these entities are influencing the child. It
is also important to note that the interactions among these entities affect the child as
well. This is the reciprocal process in action. Each individual has his or her own series
of individual microsystems. Who is in yours?
The second interacting system in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model is the mesosystem.
The mesosystem is defined as the linkages of two or more of the child’s microsystems.
This layer of the model involves the interactions between the members in the layer, all of
whom are also interacting with the child. Bronfenbrenner believed that in order to fully
support the child there needs to be communication and positive interactions between
the parents and other important people who have interactions with the child. Envision a
triangle with a child on one of the points, the parents on another point, and the teachers
on the last point.
For example, when Darrell’s parents attend an awards night for Darrell’s academic
achievement, the interaction of Darrell’s parents and his school represents one of Darrell’s
mesosystems. Another example is when Darrell’s sister, Darlene, attends one of his little
league games. Her interactions with his teammates represent another of Darrell’s mesosystems. The importance of the mesosystem on the developing child is determined not
only by the number of interrelationships but by the quality of these interrelationships. To
exemplify this, Bronfenbrenner (1979) describes a child who goes to school alone on the
first day. When a child goes to a new school on his or her own, there is only a single link
between that child and that child’s home. However, if a parent or guardian accompanies
the same child, there would be a minimum of two links between that child and that child’s
home, which increases the opportunity for better academic achievement.
The third interacting system in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model is the exosystem. The
exosystem, similar to the mesosystem, is the linkages between two or more settings; however, one of these settings does not directly contain the developing child. For example, a
parent’s workplace or father’s poker game can indirectly affect a child depending on the
current workload or amount of financial windfall. For Darrell, his mother’s new promotion requires her to be at the office earlier in the morning and later at night. This indirectly
impacts Darrell as he now has to take the bus to and from school …
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