Making Space for Place: Exploring Place-Based Education (PBE) in K-12 Education

Making Space for Place: Exploring Place-Based Education (PBE) in K-12 Education

Patricia Hrusa Williams (University of Maine at Farmington, USA) and Amanda Labelle (University of Maine at Farmington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0871-7.ch004
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Abstract

Research conducted in the last 15 years suggests that Place-Based Education (PBE) has the potential to address many problems found within America's schools including student disengagement, teacher disempowerment in an era of standardized curriculum and testing, and the isolation felt in many communities. This chapter examines challenges in PBE and practices associated with successful K-12 efforts. Barriers to adopting PBE include administrator, teacher, and community resistance, difficulties in identifying and sustaining collaborative efforts, lack of sustained professional development opportunities, and challenges presented by an increased emphasis on educational standards and standardized testing to assess student progress. Strategies to facilitate efforts include effective communication, institutionalizing school and community supports, improving access to high quality professional development opportunities, and aligning PBE curriculum with standards. PBE efforts also require teachers, students, classrooms, schools, and communities to share responsibility for learning.
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Main Focus Of Chapter: An Analysis Of Place-Based Education (Pbe)

While evidence demonstrates the potential of place-based programs and initiatives, there are few comprehensive resources examining practices in place-based education associated with successful efforts. The goal of this chapter is to explore and integrate what we currently know about place-based educational efforts, limiting our discussion to those offered as part of the K-12 curriculum. Goals of the chapter include:

  • 1.

    Define place-based education (PBE) and provide a brief overview of its theoretical underpinning and philosophy.

  • 2.

    Present and analyze research on PBE efforts in an effort to understand the characteristics of effective programs and outcomes for students, teachers, schools, and communities.

  • 3.

    Consider barriers to adopting PBE including teacher and community resistance, difficulties in identifying and sustaining collaborative efforts, and challenges presented by an increased emphasis on educational standards and standardized testing to assess student progress.

  • 4.

    Present suggestions regarding supports and strategies needed for the effective implementation of PBE efforts in public K-12 schools.

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