Harnessing the Power of Storytelling to Support Migrant and Immigrant Students
What is the idea of “ecology of identity” and how can teachers promote it?
The word ecological refers to the field of ecology, which explores the relationship between a living being and the environment in which it lives. Through the language of ecology, Bronfenbrenner reminds us that who we are, and what we do, are profoundly influenced by our physical and social environment. Humans do not live in isolation, and therefore our identities develop within an environmental context.
Below are parts of the human ecosystem highlighted by Bronfenbrenner. While different scholars have used different words to describe the details of the ecological layers in the chart and have emphasized different aspects of identity, the basic format has remained relatively consistent since he put forth his groundbreaking theory in 1979.
Individual characteristics: Age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, cultural identities
Microsystem: Family, peers, school/work conditions, neighborhood, community memberships
Exosystem: Influences of social media, local politics and policies, legal status and rights
Macrosystem: Cultural traditions, economic conditions, laws, historical context, community attitudes, prejudices and traditions of inclusion.