This essay will discuss the life of Urie Bronfenbrenner who was a psychologist. The essay will bring to light some of the important accomplishments he made in the field of psychology.
Urie Bronfebrenner is considered one of the leading scholars who made many contributions in the fields of developmental psychology, child rearing and human ecology (Lang 1). Records show that he was born to Dr. Alexander Bronfenbrenner and Eugenie Kamenetski Bronfenbrenner on April 29, 1917 in Moscow (Russo 1).
He lived for eighty eight years and died on September 25, 2005. He was an American psychologist who specialized in child development and co-founded a head start program that dealt with unfortunate pre-school children.
At the age of six, Urie and his family moved to Pittsburg in the United States where they stayed for a short while. They later on settled in Letchworth Village, in a state institution for Mentally Challenged people where his father worked as a neuro pathologist and a clinical director or a physician (Russo 1).
Bronfenbrenner attained his high school education from Haverstraw high school in New York after which he won a scholarship to Cornell University to study psychology and music. He is reported to have proceeded to pursue development al psychology after his first degree. By 1942, Bronfebrenner had completed his master degree in developmental psychology at Harvard University and a PhD at the University of Michigan (Russo 1).
Bronfebrenner began his work as a graduate worker in developmental psychology after attaining his first degree. He started working for the US army immediately he attained his doctorate until 1946, where he served as their psychologist as well as in the office of strategic services. He later joined the US Army Medical Corps after he had gone through army training for the officers.
Bronfebrenner as a psychologist worked at various capacities, “Veterans administration as an assistant clinical psychologist and also for Michigan University as an assistant professor in psychology for two years after which he became a professor at Cornell University” (Russo 1). By the time he passed away he was at the Cornell University.
Bronfenbrenner was among the most popular scholars in developmental psychology world wide. His interests in psychology were influenced a great deal by his father. For instance, during his career life, Urie could recall that his father felt that the single IQ test that children went through before joining the school for mentally handicapped was not enough (Russo 1).
Even after his father was segregated in sanatorium after contracting tuberculosis, he continued to influence Urie’s career by writing to him. Apart from his father, Russian immigrant psychologists contributed a lot towards his career since they would visit his home and discuss some of the significant psychologists such as ‘Kurt Lewin and Lev Vygotsky’
His major and primary contribution in psychology involved the Ecological system theory whereby he considers human development to take place within five nested systems namely “the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, microsystem and the chronosystem” (Bronfenbrenner 39). These systems were mainly concerned with the impact of the environment to a developing child.
The microsystem refers to the setting in which the developing person lives which is mainly the immediate environment. It includes the individual’s immediate family, friends, neighborhood, school, and workplace among others where the individual contributes in the construction of the setting to make it complete (Bronfenbrenner 39).
Since the developing person has face to face interpersonal relationships with the parties making this kind of setting, he is able to meet people of diversified temperament, personality and attitude (Thompsons 207). Some proximal processes take place in the development of an individual depending on the content and structure of this setting.
The mesosystem refers to the interrelationship between settings in the microsystem. For example, it may entail the relationship between the peers and the school, the school and the family, the family and the peers and such like (Thompson 207). The way different settings in the microsystem interrelate may have impact on the individual’s development.
For instance, a child who has spoilt relationship with the parents may have problems relating with teachers in school or an individuals with difficulties in family life may have difficulties relating with his fellow employees. Good relationships between the parents and the teacher have proved to better the performance of the children more than other factors (Bronfenbrenner 40).
The exosystem extends the mesosystem whereby two or more settings interrelate involving one which is not in the in the developing persons system but the events that take place in that system indirectly has impact on the developing person. For instance, the teacher’s interaction with his family may affect his relationship with pupils in the class. The three major exosystems that may affect the development of an individual includes the family, school and friends (Bronfenbrenner 40)
The macrosystem entails the culture that developing individual lives in all the other system. Culture includes things such as social status, poverty, communities, politics, customs and lifestyle and it is not limited to the either developing or developed countries. Culture determines how developing individuals are treated in each of the other setting and how they relate to each other (Thompson 208).
Chronosystem entails the changes that take place as time changes within the environment as well as in the developing individual. For instance, the economic depression of the 1930’s had effects on the development of children who were born then (Bronfenbrenner 40)
Alongside ecological systems theory, his contributions to developmental psychology contained three very outstanding themes ‘developing theory and corresponding research designs at the frontiers of developmental science; laying out the implications and applications of developmental theory and research for policy and practice; and communicating–through articles, lectures, and discussions – the findings of developmental research to undergraduate students, the general public, and to decision-makers both in the private and public sector’(Bronfenbrenner Life 6).
He actively contributed in designing developmental program seven beyond US so as to capture the widest audience where we find him playing a key role as a co-founder of the head start program for the less privileged pre-school children in the United States.
Throughout his Career life, Urie geared his efforts towards coming up with development theories and research methods that helped in understanding patterns of development from childhood to old age. He also investigated on the social and political occurrences that had impact on children and families (Musso 2).
Most of the developmental theories and research methods as well as the conclusions that Bronfenbrenner came up with during his career life are still valid up to date.
For instance, the results of the ecological systems theory for child development are evident even in the society we are living in today. This is seen in cases where the relationship between the child and the system she is living in affects him directly or indirectly. For example, the immediate environment that the child is brought up in determines how he develops in either setting.
The relationship between the teacher and the child or the teacher and the parent determines her performance. Cultural practices determine how an individual develops in that community. For instance, communities practicing FGM and forced marriages affect the development of a girl child; this is mainly in developing countries.
Bronfenbrenner won various awards, honors and honorary degrees in his career life due to his rich contribution towards developmental psychology. His works earned him six honorary degrees. Apart from being a founder and a father of head start, his legacy extends to Cornell’s Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center which was founded in 1992 as an outgrowth of life course institute.
He has inspired many students and ordinary people through his work. He had six children, two sons and four daughters (Lang 18). He died in 2005 when he was acting as a ‘Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Human Development and of Psychology at Cornell University’
Bronfenbrenner was a great psychologist and the contributions he made will live to be remembered. He was very keen on observation and through such he was able to come up with some valid and applicable concerning development.
Bronfenbrenner Life. Mission and History. Ithaca, Cornel University, n.d. Web. 08 February 2011.
Bronfenbrenner, Urie. Ecological Models of Human Development. International Encyclopedia of Education, February, 2003. Web. 08 February 2011.
Lang, Susan. Urie Bronfenbrenner, father of Head Start program and pre-eminent ‘human ecologist,’ dies at age 88. Cirnell, 2005. 9 February 2011.
Russo, Thomas. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-).Social Jrank, 2011. Web. 08 February 2011
Thompsons, Linda. Young Bilingual Children in Nursery School. Tonawanda, Multilingual Matters, 2000. New York, Prentice. Print.