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 growth and development. The microsystem represents the immediate environment which includes the child’s 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 educator’s understanding of a student’s background and behaviour. This enables 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). An example of divergent values is when parents value academic success, unlike peers. This may create pressure that negatively impacts progress. As a part of the school microsystem, the educator can serve as a positive role model for students to look up to. Therefore, by attaching significance to learning matter and emphasizing the value of learning, the educator can align the values of the entire class. It helps to set clear objectives while providing kids with the guidance to meet realistic but high expectations. It is important to create an encouraging, nurturing climate in which kids feel safe and motivated to learn. They should feel comfortable knowing that even if they struggle, they will receive support, as long as they try their best.
Bronfenbrenner’s 21st hypothesis indicates that the effectiveness of learning in group settings depends on how the educator interacts with students. According to research (Bronfenbrenner, 2009), educators in smaller groups tend to engage in more social interaction with children. In a class with many students, the educator’s attitude towards each student as an individual is important, as care and attention directly influences the child’s receptiveness. Throughout the class the educator can engage in behaviours like questioning, acknowledging, and praising, in order to reinforce the child. Creating an environment like this has a significant impact on making the classroom a system in which flourishing behaviour can occur, thus encouraging task-oriented and self-regulated learning.
Supportive interactions within the microsystem will result in improved development. 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 or when acting out due to stress. It is important to avoid criticism or faultfinding when assuming the role as the listener. A sense of school community evokes positive attitudes towards school, interaction with peers from diverse backgrounds, and willingness to learn. Thus, the educator should aim to create a sense of community and belonging with classmates, by making sure derision is discouraged and positivity is encouraged. Students who have a positive relationship with the educator are passionate and greatly involved in learning, likewise, these educators are more productive and experience positive emotions in class, influencing the overall atmosphere.
Bronfenbrenner argues that development would benefit from mutual respect and support between educators and parents. If parents feel negatively about a child’s peers or educator, the child may experience disequilibrium. To value the environment in which children live, the educator must avoid mistrust and antagonism with people who play a major role in the child’s life. The educator can possibly strengthen interactions of the mesosystem by understanding the home life of each student. This can be achieved by informing caregivers of child’s accomplishments or possible interferences to the child’s 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, or phone calls.
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. Students with involved parents have higher achievement and more positive attitudes. Educators can improve learning experience by getting parents involved in school events or assigning tasks that require the help 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. Furthermore, it is important to try to understand the students cultural background in order to enhance 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
Promote a sense of autonomy by assigning manageable but mentally stimulating tasks children can do themselves. 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, a motivator that increases perseverance andcompletion. 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 all students are active participants. Educator can mediate particularly in the case of kids who dominate discussions. even. Community of learners who are different enhance understanding of multiculturalism and diversity. However, schemes are unique to particular cultures, thus learning material might not be processed the same way by pupils from diverse macrosystems and the dducator 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.
Bronfenbrenner proposed the introduction of a curriculum for caring in which children engage with sickly elderly or younger children. The educator can incorporate community work so that students can enhance their mesosystems by interacting with clinics and hospitals. 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. Implementing 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.
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 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 and influential even within a culturaly diverse classroom.