Essay on Behavior and Ecological Model

Published: 2021/11/05
Number of words: 1828


For many years, there is a growing concern over socio-emotional development among schooling children. According to Bulotsky-Shearer et al., 2012), children with behavior problems mostly experience learning challenges hence the need for policymakers in school to explore the elements linked to mental health difficulties among children. Similarly, the study reveals that children who have challenges controlling their emotions, initiating interaction with peers, and paying attention are at greater risk of school difficulties. Though there is a logic that schools make learning experiences challenging, behavioral interventions at the early stages of child development are critical. Therefore, based on the study by Buloisky-Shear and colleagues’ who point out that the behavior displayed by students impacts their learning in the context of the ecological systems model.

Behavior is described as how that individual acts in response to stimuli or situations. The ways that individual conduct themselves in social situations is perceived as defining characteristics of an individual. Therefore, society creates behavior due to cultural and social collective value practices and systems. Thus, behavior is inherent to the social environment. Urie Bronfenbrenner developed ecological systems theory. Based on the ecological systems theory, children have inherent qualities attributed to the environment they interact with and largely influence how they behave and develop (Cumming & Allen, 2017). The theory focuses on the significance of exploring multiple environments’ influence on child behavior in the course of growth and development. Since the environment plays a significant role in behavior development, scholars also agree that students may have different behaviors (Cumming & Allen, 2017).

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According to Bulotsky-Shearer, Dominguez & Bell (2012, p. 421), learners who have challenges controlling their emotions, starting peer interactions, paying attention, and sustaining engagement in learning tasks are at greater risk of school difficulties. There are many reasons why children who have difficulty regulating their emotions face challenges in school. Some of the reasons include trauma and difficulty expressing themselves. Moreover, some children face problems due to their surrounding- social construct. At the same time, a child can struggle with a personal issue such as socio-emotional emotions (Cumming & Allen, 2017). The problem of controlling emotion is characterized by low temperament, inability to control anger, and tendency to cry quite often. Children with this problem constantly have been exposed to an adverse social environment, thus making them feel neglected and rejected. Therefore they are always better whenever they are faced with a challenging environment. Likewise, when children feel neglected and hated, they risk developing mental health difficulties characterized by the inability to manage emotions (Bulotsky-Shearer et al., 2010). In this view, such children in the school environment might not find it easy to assimilate into the institution system, thus facing more difficulties. The increased risk of problems contributes to dropping out of school, especially after students feel that they cannot cope with the school system, hence the Bulotsky-Shearer, Dominguez, and Bell quote.

Reasons for Behaviors Based On the Ecological Model

Most behavior challenges have an underlying issue or trigger. Based on the Ecological systems theory, the most immediate level is the ecosystem. This level has a significant influence on the child’s development. The micro system’s setting refers to the direct surrounding that people have in their lives. It includes friends, family, teachers, classmates, and neighbors (Duerden & Witt, 2010). For instance, interactions at the home of students significantly impact the child’s behavior. Therefore, the behavior is modified based on how they are treated. When learners are bullied and mocked, they can quickly develop aggressions, thus impacting their ability to control anger, thus leading to mental health difficulties like autism. When people are affected by the micro system’s setting, they find it challenging to regulate their emotions, have problems with their concentration, thus end up facing many challenges while schooling. The various difficulties are that they perceive school as not a peaceful environment but an unhappy place. Therefore, they perform poorly due to mental distractions and behaviors that affect their effective learning.

Unlike the immediate environment where children live, a subsequent environment impacts children’s behavior- the mesosystem. This environment includes the interaction of the different microsystems in the lives of children. Simply, it involves the linkage between school and home, between family and peer group, and between community and family. For example, when parents neglect a student, they have a low chance of developing a positive attitude towards their teachers (Bulotsky-Shearer et al., 2012). Besides, neglecting makes a child feel awkward before their peers and may also withdraw from classmates. Similarly, the theory reveals that when the learner’s parents dislike their peers and openly criticize them, they will experience conflicting emotions and disequilibrium, creating negative development (Bulotsky-Shearer et al., 2020). Moreover, according to Bronfenbrenner, experiences in other microsystems determine an individual behavior across various environments. For example, when the family neglects a child, they might find it difficult to control their emotion and trusting teachers or other adults within the school. Therefore, child behavior is severely affected, thus impacting learning. This impact relates to Bulotsky-Shearer et al. (2012) quote in that when a child experiences an imbalance in emotion in the home microsystem or other systems, they develop distrust in the school environment, thus impacting performance and creating difficulties in school. Therefore this explains why some children have easy assimilation in school than others due to the influence of their home may not match their school environment (Bustamante & Hindman, 2019).

Another element that impacts children’s behavior is the macrosystems. The macrosystem setting refers to the ideal culture of an individual. Besides, the cultural aspects include the socioeconomic status of the learner and their family, race, ethnicity, and lifestyle. The macrosystem emphasizes the cultural elements that impact a child’s development, including socioeconomic status and poverty. The chronosystem involves all of the environmental changes that that occur over the child’s lifetime (Kamenopoulou, 2016). The system often interacts to shape the development of a child. Likewise, according to Bronfenbrenner’s theory, the development of an individual is best served when there are solid supportive links between various settings like school and community. For instance, when a child’s parents have recently divorced, they are more likely to face challenges, thus developing aggressive behavior. Besides, when children are impacted in their macrosystem, they find it challenging to balance their emotions, thus finding it difficult to learn. This problem is related to various worrying, including food and school fees. Due to these worries, they develop complex mental difficulties associated with poor memory in the child, thus difficulties in school. For example, when children come from low-income families, they often compare themselves with their counterparts from wealthy families, thus seeing their eminent deficiency in their families (Kamenopoulou, 2016). Similarly, children from low-income families always have insufficient meals and cannot pay their school fees, which negatively impacts their concentration. Consequently, they face many difficulties in paying attention in learning. Such learners often tend to be at high risk of school difficulties leading to their continued low school performance.

Peer Interaction and Policies

Moreover, difficulties in starting peer interactions among learners are another major challenge that students face. Based on Bulotsky-Shearer et al. (2012), some children have difficulties initiating peer interactions due to the challenge of inferiority complex, which is often linked to socioeconomic background. Learners often shy away from social interactions with colleagues due to low self-esteem due to unfriendly and oppressive social environments (Lendrum et al., 2013). Sometimes, a child’s home environment plays a crucial role in behavior problem development since the parents are the primary source of social orientation for young people. When parents expose learners to oppressive or harsh treatment, the child often grows up with the fear of social interactions. Therefore, they develop low self-esteem with the fear of social interaction, and children face a significant risk of school challenges.

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Lastly, according to the diverse children’s needs, there should be policies and procedures to create a favorable environment and also helping help learners with behavior problems. These policies might include peer relationship policies, support programs, and teacher-learner relations. According to Bulotsky-Shearer et al. (2012), nurturing and supportive interactions foster the children’s development cycle, where positive social behaviors are instilled into the young people. Lack of a supportive environment at home makes children feel neglected, thus developing anti-social behaviors such as aggression and inability to control their emotions.


There are various factors to consider when discussing effective and inappropriate behaviors in schools. Therefore educators need to understand that learners are influenced by many different aspects like personality, development ability, cultural and social experiences. Therefore, teachers have a significant role in encouraging positive behaviors within the classroom and promoting an effective learning environment that supports learning and shifts in the right direction. Therefore, the need to create policies that define relationships between various stakeholders in the school. Besides, teachers need to offer guidance and support to students to discover their understanding of appropriate behavior in school. Ultimately, the ecological theory suggests that individual behavior can be impacted by various levels of interaction in their environment. Therefore, understanding how one system affects another is vital to finding a solution.


Bulotsky-Shearer, R. J., Fernandez, V. A., Bichay-Awadalla, K., Bailey, J., Futterer, J., & Qi, C. H. (2020). Teacher-child interaction quality moderates social risks associated with problem behavior in preschool classroom contexts. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology67, 101103.

Bulotsky-Shearer, R.J., Dominguez, X. and Bell, E.R. (2012). Preschool classroom behavioral context and school readiness outcomes for low-income children: A multilevel examination of child-and classroom-level influences. Journal of Educational Psychology104(2), p.421.

Bustamante, A. S., & Hindman, A. H. (2019). Classroom quality and academic school readiness outcomes in Head Start: The indirect effect of approaches to learning. Early Education and Development30(1), 19-35.

Cumming, G.S. and Allen, C.R. (2017). Protected areas as social‐ecological systems: perspectives from resilience and social‐ecological systems theory. Ecological applications27(6), pp.1709-1717.

Bulotsky-Shearer, R.J., Fantuzzo, J.W. and McDermott, P.A. (2010). Typology of emotional and behavioral adjustment for low-income children: A child-centered approach. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology31(2), pp.180-191.

Duerden, M.D. and Witt, P.A. (2010). An ecological systems theory perspective on youth programming. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration28(2).

Kamenopoulou, L. (2016). Ecological systems theory: A valuable framework for research on inclusion and special educational needs/disabilities. Педагогика88(4), pp.515-527.

Kizilcec, R.F., Pérez-Sanagustín, M. and Maldonado, J.J. (2017). Self-regulated learning strategies predict learner behavior and goal attainment in Massive Open Online Courses. Computers & education104, pp.18-33.

Lendrum, A., Humphrey, N. and Wigelsworth, M. (2013). Social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) for secondary schools: implementation difficulties and their implications for school‐based mental health promotion. Child and Adolescent Mental Health18(3), pp.158-164.

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