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3-020 - Child Development in the School Context: Origins and Consequences of Teacher and Parental Influence

Sat, March 23, 8:00 to 9:30am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 329

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Ecological systems theory (EST) emphasizes that a comprehensive examination of child development requires consideration of diverse contexts and their interplay. Despite EST being introduced by Bronfenbrenner (1979) nearly forty years ago, the field of developmental psychology has been largely focused on only a few, albeit crucial, interpersonal contexts (i.e., parent and peer relationships). Adoption of and progress in EST, however, requires consideration of a wider variety of environments as well as their overlap and interaction (Neal & Neal, 2013). The present symposium considers one such understudied context—the school—and its overlap with more commonly-studied interpersonal influences. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 spend the majority of their waking time in classrooms (Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001), making the influence of relationships in the schools, especially in the primary grades, particularly important to understand.

More specifically, the four papers in this symposium together consider how experiences within the school environment are informed by parents (Papers 1, 2, 3) and teachers (Papers 2, 4) to support the healthy development of children over the course of their schooling. Furthermore, we showcase a variety of sophisticated methodological approaches, including the use of large, longitudinal samples (Papers 1, 2), meta-analysis (Paper 3), and intervention (Paper 4). These papers together represent important contributions to and progress in EST-informed research focused on the school as an important developmental context for children.

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