Real Life Examples – Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological System (2024)

Urie Bronfenbrenner was a Russian ecological theorist from the twentieth century. He studied how different “systems” interact and influence human development. He developed a bioecological model. According to this model, we interact with four systems: the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. The microsystem is our immediate relationships, including friends, family, and teachers. The mesosystem is the interactions between the microsystems. The exosystem deals with the links between social settings in which the individual does not have an active role. Lastly, the macrosystem is the culture in which an individual lives, including ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Bronfenbrenner also says that there is a chronosystem which encompasses all four systems, in other words the cumulative experiences an individual has in their lifetime. Below is a visual representation of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model.

According to Bronfenbrenner, parental styles also influence human development. Authoritarian parenting is when a parent lays down strict rules for the child and shows little to no love and affection. Authoritative parenting is when parent lay down strict rules, but show love and affection to their child. Permissive parenting is when a parent is more relaxed with the rules and lets the child have independence, showing love and affection. Neglectful parenting is when a parent lets the child have independence and shows little to no love and affection.


By: Melissa Davey

An example of Bronfenbrenner’s mesosystem would be a parent teacher conference at school. Individually, the parent and the teacher are a part of the student’s microsystem. They are each examples of the student’s immediate relationships. When these two relationships interact with each other in a parent teacher conference, this interaction is a mesosystem. This mesosystem influences a student’s human development. The parent teacher conference helps to insure that the child is getting the same interventions at home and at school.

An example of Bronfenbrenner’s exosystem is a father at his job. Even though the child is never physically at the father’s workplace, what happens at the workplace influences the child’s home life. The father’s job security affects the child’s human development. If the father gets a promotion at his workplace, the child can receive new toys or nice clothes. If the father loses his job, the child could lose the security of his home or no longer have food to eat.

By: Angela Corbbrey

For me, personal experience is always the best example I can give. My example is one of the Exosystem and how social setting impacts the individual. My husband and I are self employed. We run a martial arts school and we teach classes in the evening with our last class ending at 9:45pm. We have a 7 year old son and this would typically be after a child that age’s bedtime. We make the best of it, but I will admit that this does impact my son on occasion. We sometimes do not get home until 10:30-11 o’clock at night. Fortunately, I have time to get my son dinner and breaks for homework while we are at our school. Also fortunately for us, we live practically next door to his elementary school, so we do not have to be up extremely early in the morning. However, there are still some days when I can tell that the late nights are wearing on him a bit. So we sleep in on weekends and just do the best we can.

My next example is of the Mesosystem and how interaction among the Microsystem elements impact human development. Our religion differs from most of my son’s school mates. We do not celebrate Halloween or Christmas or most of the holidays that his classmates do. Sometimes this is difficult for his friends or classmates to understand. Zafir, my son, does not believe in Santa or the tooth fairy-there is the tooth mommy and tooth daddy. We teach our son not to lie, therefore we do not lie to him. We do not hold a fictional character over his head to make him behave-as in “if you aren’t good Santa won’t bring you any presents.” I want my son to be accountable for his actions and to know the consequences will come directly from me or his father. Sometimes there is a little clash of culture between his family, friends, and school, but Zafir handles it in stride.

By: Stephenie Coney

Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory has four specific layers. The first being the microsystem, layer in which the child has relationships and interactions with their immediate surroundings. This includes family, school, and even neighborhood environments. The parents, and the school teachers influences the child the most, they are consistently with the child majority of the time. The child’s parents may affect them just a little bit more, simply because the parents are basically with them through the most important developmental stages of their lives.

I think this is true, because I have witnessed two children develop differently because of the different environment that they were exposed to. One of the children lived with his single mother that constantly had a different man coming in out of their home. There was always someone different coming to pick him up from childcare. We would see the mother not very often, so we could tell that the child was not getting any attention at the home. He would see with his own eyes, violent behavior between his mother and these male figures. I would say that the type of environment that he was in was not the best and it did influence him. He would come to the daycare and act up for no apparent reason; he would hit on the little girls in his class and say mean things to them. This is the reason why Bronfenbrenner says the Microsystem level is the most important layer, because the children will always imitate what they see at home.

By: Cashala Bowers

An example of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model would be the relationship between a child’s home life and a child’s relationship with their friends. If a child is raised in a home where they are neglected and are unloved then he may develop certain characteristics. He may feel as though it is hard to trust people. He may also have a hard time with letting people get close to him. The parents are in the Mesosytem because they can have an impact on the child’s microsystem. The friends are in the microsystem because they can be where the child spends most of their time. The friends are in the immediate system because the child doesn’t get much attention at home.

Economics can have an effect on a child’s development. If a child’s parents lost their job then the child may struggle. The child’s family may not have enough money to fully nourish the child then the child may not learn as well as other children. This factor in their exosystem impacts their mesosystem and microsystem. Religion in a child’s exosystem can also have an effect on development .Religion may affect the way the child views certain situations and certain people. The child may choose to hang out with a group that shares their same beliefs.

By: Marsha Dantes

This real life example will relate to Bronfenbrenner’s Exosystem Model, which is a social setting in which the individual does not have an active role, but can be affected by the role. I remember growing up as a little girl, and my mother was working as a teacher’s assistant and my father worked as an auto painter at a bus company. My father was bringing in better income than my mother, but my mother’s income made ends meet. After awhile, my mother decided she wanted to go to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. She had to quit her job to go to school, therefore, that left my father taking care of all the household expenses. Even though my father’s income was good, our financial state went down. My parents could not afford to buy extra things that my brother and I liked anymore, going out for dinner slowed down, and sometimes the bills would be behind. However, when my mother finally graduated from college and got hired as a special education teacher, our financial state was great again. Now my parents were able to get me a lot of things for Christmas, we went out more often, and they were able to get things for my extracurricular activities in school. They also had a new house built, and are currently living in it today. Even though I was not the person who had to quit a job to go to school, I was definitely affected by it. It affected me because I did not get a lot of Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, I could not participate in some school activities, etc. This is a good real life example of Bronfenbrenner’s Exosystem model.

This real life example will relate to Bronfenbrenner’s Chronosystem Model; where cumulative experiences and transitions a person has over a course of their lifetime. I want to give a brief description of my experiences and transitions that I had from high school to now. I graduated from high school in May 2003, and after graduation I attended a 2-year technical college for nursing. When I attended that school, I relocated to another nearby city to live with my cousin because she lived closer to the school. That was my first time actually living away from my hometown and family. When I turned 19, my boyfriend and I, who I had dated my senior year in high school, got married. This was a major transition for me being a young teenager. I relocated out of the country temporarily, traveled to a different state to visit in-laws, and when I settled back in my hometown, I got my first residence. We also have a 7 year old son who has definitely given me different experiences and transitions. After 3 years of living in my first home, we relocated to another nearby city for a year; then, we moved to our current residence which is Savannah, Ga. I am now attending college again for early childhood education, and because I have a family now while going to school, I am experiencing the reason why I should have listened to my parents advise to go to college right after high school. Nevertheless, I am trying to earn my degree now and I’m very proud of myself. As you can see, I have had cumulative experiences from high school to now. My real life experiences and transitions are good examples of Bronfenbrenner’s Chronosystem model.


By: Melissa Davey

I learned new things about human development from Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model. Every single thing in a child’s life either directly or indirectly influences their human development. It is important as a teacher to be aware of this because there is more going on in a child’s life outside of your classroom that could be affecting the child’s development that is out of your control. You could be doing the best that you can to give the child the right tools to succeed in your classroom, but your relationship with the student is only one of many; only one system of four that affects the child’s development. It is important to keep this in mind when developing a relationship with your students. Building a positive relationship with your students could influence other relationships they have. If a student acts out in your class, it is more than likely that something is going on in the home. If you build a positive environment in your classroom for the student, he could bring that positive energy home and change that environment for the better.

By: Angela Corbbrey

Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model did not necessarily teach me anything new about human development itself, but rather how the different elements interact. I think we have all learned by now that children are influenced by their peers, teachers, parents, and environment. Bronfenbrenner’s model made it more clear about how all these elements connect and their joint influence on a child’s development. I think his model also displays how when all these elements work in harmony, there is a positive effect on the child. While when these elements are at odds, it can have a negative effect. While some theories may discuss how each of these elements may affect a child, I think Bronfenbrenner’s model of how they overlap is very beneficial in developing a relationship with our future students. Some of the content and ideas that we may teach at school may not be in line with the way the child is taught at home. We must be aware of this fact and build a relationship not only with our students, but with the parents as well. I think his model also reiterates the importance of learning about our students cultural environment. All of these outside influences make the student we have in front of us, and the more we know, the better our success will be.

By: Cashala Bowers

This is my first time hearing about this model. The model however makes a lot of sense. You never really think about how much your environment impacts your life and how you turn out. We develop our friendships and people in our microstystem based on the factors in our outer systems. I have learned that not only does things such as “nature vs. Nurture” affect a child’s development but also things you wouldn’t really think about such as politics. Bronfenbrennner’s model shows that real life situations display this model every day.

I have learned that not only does things in our direct world affect our development but also the things in our indirect world. These are important factors to consider when teaching young children. The children may act a certain way because of the things going on in their exosystem.

By: Stephenie Coney

Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological theory has taught me that based on a child’s development majority of the time it is influenced by their surroundings. Some factors may in influence a child’s development more than others. I came to an understanding that the parents may encourage the most, but other things like school, daycare, peers, and religion also play important roles as well. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to know that what I do in my classroom will affect my students development either in a good way or a bad way. I know that I only talked about one the stages but there are three more; mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. With all these four layers combined influencing a child’s development.

By: Marsha Dantes

What I have learned from Bronfenbrenner models is that humans are influenced by interacting systems. Most things that I have learned from my parents, friends, church members, teachers, and culture all had to do with Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological theory. I realize now that my parents has had to biggest influence in my life. My morals, values, self-respect, motivation, determination were mainly gained from my parents. As a teacher, I will teach my students the value of a great education, and hopefully, what I tell them will influence them to try their best at whatever they do.


Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory graphed out the different spectrums of childhood development. In each phase specific people and circ*mstances have an effect on the rime underneath. There are four systems in his theory. As mentioned above, his systems include the Micro system, Mesosystem, Exosysytem, and Macrosystem. Bronfenbrenner emphasizes the importance of a person knowing just how much the circ*mstances surrounding them influence who they are or who they are becoming. Everyone has different issues going on in their phases of development. The external environment can affect our internal experiences in everyday life. His system displays how each element of human development is combined to create the students we will one day come to teach. As teachers, it will be our responsibility to familiarize ourselves with each aspect of our student’s lives. Then in turn, we need to help them keep all these systems in balance. If we can accomplish this, we will have happier, more successful students.

Real Life Examples – Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological System (2024)
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