Title: Place-based education: a look at its potential benefits to our students and our places through case study research and the literature

Authors: Doreen M. Keller

Addresses: Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorne, Spokane, WA 99251, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how River Valley School District (pseudonyms) students experienced the River Valley Outdoor Learning Center (pseudonyms). Particular attention was paid to four students' connection with and curiosity about the program curriculum. Their relationship with the place that was the RVOLC, their connection with the outdoors and their awareness of sustainability practices were also important foci. Students' perception of their own contentment when learning outdoors was also explored. Data came from interviews with the four student participants, the students' parents and learning centre educators and documents and observations of the fifth grade participants while at a three-day culminating educative experience offered by the centre. Findings suggested that the River Valley Outdoor Learning Center program that practiced a combination of place-based and environmental education pedagogies had lasting impacts on the study's four student participants - it helped these four students to be more connected to nature, more advocating of their place and the sustainability of that place.

Keywords: place-based education; PBE; experiential education; environmental education; case study research; teacher education; education reform; pedagogy; critical pedagogy of place; place-responsive; relationship with place; situated learning theory; sustainability education.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2017.088746

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2017 Vol.18 No.3/4, pp.220 - 237

Received: 25 Nov 2016
Accepted: 29 Mar 2017

Published online: 11 Dec 2017 *

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