Framing: How effective are place-based education techniques in schools?
John Dewey (1902), widely known as the father of progressive education, argues that many times in education, “facts are torn away from their original place in experience and rearranged with reference to some general principle.” This is the accepted form of schooling currently, as seen in new Common Core curriculums and standardized tests. This standardization of education has led to a somewhat homogenized curriculum across very diverse environments throughout the country.
Place-Based Education is a community-based form of learning that utilizes many aspects of a student’s surroundings including the biota, historical uses, geological features, and knowledge pool of the surrounding community. Place-based projects are extremely interdisciplinary, many focusing on themes such as environmental studies, ecological studies, biodiversity, community education, school-community relations, local history, and sustainable development (Penetito 2009). With a more rooted sense of place, perhaps the curriculum will become more relevant to the student’s lives and give students a greater sense of agency.
There is evidence that school gardens could play an important role in creating connections between students, teachers, and ecological systems, and in fact these playful and hands-on interactions could counterpose many of the neoliberal agendas like standardized testing and individual achievement seen in many schools today (Moore et al. 2015). Gardens are a way to incorporate place-based education into the classroom, since they act as a living laboratory of sorts, that allows students to experience what they are learning and apply it to the real world (Klemmer et al. 2005).
To what extent do school gardens affect students’ understandings of their surrounding community?
- Qualitative analysis of extensive literature on school gardens
- Visit a school garden in Portland (maybe Reike’s garden because I have a connection there already) and observe how classes are taught in the garden
- Interview students about their experiences with the garden and code whether they mention other community features in relation to the garden
- Ask students to draw a picture of their community (mental mapping) and code whether or not they include the garden or their school
Dewey, John. 1923. The Child and the Curriculum. University of Chicago Press Chicago. http://www.munseys.com/diskeight/chid.pdf
Klemmer, C.D., Waliczek, T. M., Zajicek, J.M. 2005. “Growing Minds: The Effect of a School Gardening Program on the Science Achievement of Elementary Students.” Hortitechnology 15(3): 448-452.
Moore, Sarah A.,Wilson, Jeffrey,Kelly-Richards, Sarah & Marston Sallie A. 2015. “School Gardens as Sites for Forging Progressive Socioecological Futures.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105:2, 407-415, DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.985627
Penetito, W. 2009. Place-Based Education: Catering for Curriculum, Culture, and Community. New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 18:5-29.