Category Archives: Socioecological

Wanna be startin’ somethin’

I just signed up to do an independent study with a professor who will guide me through the process of writing an empirical article about special education, common core learning standards and the relationship between the two. I will be looking at a culmination of data from a recent project to  understand and report out my findings.This involves many tasks as I toggle between data, previous research, and theoretical and conceptual frameworks. I also need to keep track of my thoughts, so this is where my blog comes back into my life. It is the recording of my thought process that will hopefully lead me on a clear path to opening up my ability to share and contribute what I know about the field of special education and how that meshes educational theory and practice. So I stand here at the threshold of my journey ready to start something that can have a profound impact on my career as a researcher.

In this early phase of my research I am asking myself a few questions. These questions are:

What will guide and inform my inquiry?

What data will I include/exclude?

Who is my target audience?

In this post I will discuss my first dive into what will guide and inform my inquiry. I begin by revisiting the Socioecological model to understand the dynamic relationships that occurs between the environmental and personal variables in education. The socioecological model has its roots in the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner‘s Ecological Framework for Human Development. Brofenbrenner theorized that to understand human development there needs to be an understanding of the dynamic relationship of humans to their environment. Brofenbrenner identified five layers of environmental factors that surround an individual as: Macro, Exo, Meso, Micro and Nano systems. These systems are dynamic meaning they are multidirectional.


The Macrosystem describes the conditions and beliefs that a society holds. This encompasses laws, social classes, ethnic groups and religious affiliations. It is the overarching determinate of how we view a topic, who makes decisions on a topic and policies that impact how we carry out our beliefs and ideas.

The Exosystem is the connection between places such as schools and neighborhoods, workplace and home. It is a removed relationship of places with  each other and not individual relationships. An example is the relationship that a neighborhood community has with their school and the impact on this has on beliefs and organizations. This shapes perceptions and understanding of relationships and the value they have over an individual.

The Mesosystem is the systems that include the individual and their relationships. The examples cited are school to home, work to home, childcare and home. These are the relationships of the systems that directly influence the individual as they are a part of the individuals direct environment.

The Microsystem is the system of activities in which the individual is involved. The activities, social roles and interpersonal relationships are all a layer of systems impact how the individual interacts with their environment.

The Nanosystem is the individual. Age, gender, genetics are all factors that influence the development of the individual within the dynamic layers of the Macro, Exo, Meso and Micro layers.

While this is a rough explanation the following video explains ecological systems in more depth.


Looking at these systems help to put into perspective the policies of No Child Left Behind, Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the implementation of Common Core Learning Standards and Annual Professional Performance Review as part of the Macrosystem, but we want to know how these policies penetrate the other systems in the Socioecological model ultimately impacting the educational development of the individual.

So here I stand with my first thought on my paper. It is a line of inquiry that I will dig into each day. I am hoping that my blog posts will make my thinking and learning transparent, and provide a record of decisions and processes that I will go through to inform and guide my writings to create a manuscript for submission by summers end.