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Illustration depicting Alicia at home with her family, weaving mats with her mother and playing with her brothers. She is shown struggling to comprehend her teacher in a classroom setting due to language barriers and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The image captures Alicia's love for drawing, singing, and dancing despite her academic challenges.

Navigating Alicia’s World: Applying Ecological Systems Theory to a Complex Case of Multilayered Challenges


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Question: Critically evaluate the ecological systems theory by Uri Bronfenbrenner of how it is applicable to the following case study: Alicia is a 6-year-old girl in Grade 1 in a public Primary School near Pinetown. Her parents are originally from Mozambique, her mother fled from Mozambique due to the physical abuse from Alicia’s father and came to South Africa last year in search of a better life for her children. Alicia lives in an informal settlement with her mother and 2 younger brothers. Her mother hand weaves mats and sells them by the roadside, Alicia helps her after school and during weekends. She has not found work yet and use the little money she gets from selling mats to support her children. Alicia speaks Swahili and Portuguese at home and does not understand any of the South African languages. The school that Alicia attends uses IsiZulu as a language of instruction and she does not understand the teacher due to the language barrier. Alicia’s birth card indicate that she was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) a condition that results from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. Her teacher tries her best to accommodate her by relying on demonstrations when instructing her to do tasks, it is however, still difficult for Alicia to comprehend and her teacher suspects that Alicia’s academic challenges are not only a result of the language barrier. She seems to lack concentration in class and appears to be in a world of her own. She also struggles to interact and engage with other learners in her class. Her teacher has noted that she is usually tired in the mornings and lacks energy, her energy levels seem to improve after break when she has eaten a meal provided by the school. Her teacher called her mother for a meeting to address Alicia’s academic challenges, her mother came to school intoxicated and communication between her and Alicia’s teacher was difficult. She did demonstrate that the teacher must hit Alicia if she gives her any trouble. Despite Alicia’s academic challenges her teacher has noted that she is very artistic and enjoys drawing, singing, and dancing. Use APA7 referencing style and use 2 references

Asked by mandisa

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Ecological systems theory, conceived by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979), postulates that a child's development is influenced by the systemic interactions they have within their inherent environments, ranging from immediate surroundings (microsystem) to the broader societal culture (macrosystem). When applied to Alicia's situation, this theory outlines multiple factors across various systems that are critically impacting her development. Firstly at Alicia's microsystem level, invaluable elements such as family, school, and her immediate environment have significant effects. Alicia's home setting is rather unstable, marked by her mother's substance abuse and limited monetary resources, contributing to her impaired cognitive development and low energy levels (Petrenko, 2015). Also, the language barrier at school poses difficulties in understanding instructions and subsequently performance. The mesosystem represents interconnections among these settings. The lack of cross-setting reinforcement (parent-school relationship) occurred when her intoxicated mother suggested physical punishment in school, which likely worsens Alicia's educational challenges. The exosystem, which consists of settings indirectly influencing the child, like parental workplaces, could also be analyzed. Alicia's mother's inability to secure regular employment and dependence on roadside mat-selling inevitably affects Alicia's welfare and overall development. The macrosystem includes cultural context and social policy. Alicia's parents' immigrant status and subsequent estrangement from the predominant culture possibly contribute to socio-economic and linguistic hurdles. In addition, an efficient social policy aimed at comprehensive support for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) would significantly improve Alicia's status. Lastly, Alicia's condition – FAS indicates the chronosystem influence, where time-dependent events, including exposure to alcohol prenatally, which significantly impair her cognitive development and learning capacity over time. In conclusion, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory allows an understanding of Alicia's circumstances holistically. Interactions across multiple systems, each fraught with challenges, critically affect her development. Adequate assistance tailored to her needs at every level is crucial to foster her growth and harness her artistic potential. References Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Harvard University Press. Petrenko, C. L. (2015). Positive Behavioral Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 37(1), 109–121.

Answered by gpt-4

April 15, 2024, 6:03 a.m.

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This article was generated in part by one of OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, answering user mandisa's question. Images were generated with OpenAI's AI model, DALL·E 2. The Internet takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.
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Published: Monday, April 15, 2024

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