Cases on Place-Based Education

Cases on Place-Based Education

Suzanne Knight (University of Michigan—Flint, USA) and Laura Kondek McLeman (University of Michigan-Flint, USA)
ISBN13: 9781799841777|ISBN10: 1799841774|EISBN13: 9781799841784|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4177-7


Place-based education for K-12 teachers has been defined, described and researched in recent years. While the definitions are clear and the descriptions and depictions are both inspiring and promising, much work still needs to be done to determine how to prepare teachers for this kind of teaching practice. Much of the power of the research in place-based education has been found in the stories that are told of the work that teachers, students, and communities are doing together. However, it is not teachers who are narrating their own stories but researchers who are telling their stories for them. Furthermore, much of what has been written does not describe teacher thinking while they are in the midst of planning and enacting place-based education curriculum and projects but rather recollections of what occurred told after the work has been completed. The challenges of place-based education can seem overwhelming to teachers who have not tried it or to pre-service teachers. Regardless of how compelling the narratives may be, many teachers find that place-based education is an add-on that takes away from the real day-to-day business of teaching. This combination of doubt--and perhaps fear--prevents from many even dipping their toes into place-based education, much less taking a diving leap into it or making a commitment to develop a teaching practice informed by a humanizing philosophy such as place-based education. If pre-service, novice, and veteran teachers are to engage in place-based education, it is imperative for them to see the process of developing a teaching practice that encompasses place-based education and for them to discover this through the voices of their peers and colleagues, individuals who face the same challenges and wrestle with the same issues that they do. This book would address that need, as it would offer insights into teacher thinking, as well as the kinds of questions teachers might ask themselves as they reflect on and interrogate their teaching.

Teacher educators would find this book valuable, as it would point to the kinds of experiences that pre-service teachers might need in order to learn how to engage in this type of teaching, as well as give them a means through which to codify the knowledge base for place-based teaching practices. Moreover, pre-service teachers are inclined to give greater credence to the thinking of practicing teachers than they are to the words of teacher educators. Therefore, this book could be a powerful tool in teacher education. In addition, practicing teachers would find it useful, as it would address place-based education from multiple perspectives. It could also be a good tool for professional development that is meaningful and powerful for teachers as they would be examining cases written by practitioners who may share similar circumstances or realities. Finally, it would be a good tool for school leaders if they are considering how to implement place-based education in their schools or if they want to learn how to better support teachers who are engaging in place-based education.

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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