Place-Based Education

Place-based education is a core concept within the Department of Education and plays an important role in much of what is done there. Traditional classroom models, which might see a teacher dispensing wisdom from the front of a class to a roomful of note-taking students, is neither effective nor appropriate for fostering engagement and love of learning in students. Educators at Antioch University New England have long held that getting kids outdoors, using their home environment, history, and economy as bases for curriculum development bring subject matter to life. Children get excited about learning when they can see the connection between what they study and their own lives.

Place-based education is the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. Emphasizing hands-on, real-world learning experiences, this approach to education increases academic achievement, helps students develop stronger ties to their community, enhances students’ appreciation for the natural world, and creates a heightened commitment to serving as active, contributing citizens. Community vitality and environmental quality are improved through the active engagement of local citizens, community organizations, and environmental resources in the life of the school. David Sobel, Core Faculty and Director of Certification Programs, Department of Education from Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities, Nature Literacy Monograph Series #4, The Orion Society, Great Barrington, MA, 2003.

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