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Relational Developmental Systems Metatheory

  • By: Andrea Vest Ettekal, Brian Burkhard, Ettya Fremont, Shaobing Su & Danielle C. Stacey
  • In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning
  • Edited by: Kylie Peppler
  • Subject:Teaching Methods & Learning Styles (general), After School, Tutoring & Out-of-School Programs

Studying human behavior requires ascribing to a particular worldview, or perspective on human development, that describes the assumptions and methods underlying different sets of developmental theories. At present, relational developmental systems (RDS) metatheory is the leading framework in developmental science. As a metatheory, RDS specifies how behaviors are linked to one another, what causes behavior change, and what methods should be used to study human development. The core of RDS metatheory rests on the idea that development is caused by the interaction of individuals with their contexts. From this perspective, human behavior cannot be independently explained by either the individual or the context, but rather, it can only be explained by relations between the individual and the context.

The study of human development involves describing, explaining, ...

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