It was an enriching privilege to have attended Dr. Dely Elliot and Dr.Vivienne Baumfield’s presentation today in the seminar class. Dr. Elliot and Dr. Baumfield, the professors from the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) are on an adventure of a massive and ambitious project to design a questionnaire to study “International Ph.D Journey”.
The one hour class was infectiously captivating. As they highlighted their research on higher education and academic acculturation, I was captured with the concept of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model which worked as a skeleton to the flesh of their study. They focused on international Ph.D students who are on an academic pilgrimage in the University of Glasgow and studied the factors that impacts the progress of their study.
Since Ph.D is the pinnacle of academic achievement, their study have embarked with a pilot study involving 14 doctorate students from diverse background and faculty. Those opinions were largely built on the human ecology model created by Bronfenbrenner.
Urie Bronfenbrenner, an American development psychologist (Russian born) was known for designing the human ecology theory composed of 5 systems. His theory explains how a small individual ecosystem is connected and influenced by the massive community and social bionetwork.
|Bronfenbrenner's Model. Photo courtesy: Click LINK|
An individual as a small unit of ecosystem is largely influenced by the microsystem that consists of family, peers, schools and health facilities. No matter how hard the individual works, if there is no support and acknowledgement from the family, peers and tutors, the flame of excitement and enthusiasm is extinguished. The next system called the mesosystem networks the relationship between the elements of microsystem. It interconnects between family and peers, and family and teachers. The exosystem is a bridge between a large social settings that impacts the behavior of the individual. It consists of social services, neighbors, politics, mass media and industry. The peripheral system called the macrosystem composes of culture and values in which an individual live. Factors such as ethnicity, race, religion, socio economic status and poverty, culture and values largely shapes the life of an individual.
My life as an international student here is defined and shaped by these factors. In fact, I have been already processed through the systems of Bronfenbrenner’s model but the only thing was, I never realized it.
“Life is a journey through a foreign land”- O.R. Melling