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March 9, 2012

Green Teacher Webinar: Exploring Place-Based Education

I watched my first Green Teacher webinar!  Cliff Knapp, Professor Emeritus at Northern Illinois University, who has been teaching in public and private schools from elementary to university for over 40 years, lectured on the subject of "Place-Based Education."

Place-based education is simply learning about place.  The content is much broader than I originally thought, including a place's resources (food, water, air, etc.), moon phases, animals, plants, history, stories, biophilia, nature deficit disorder, camping, pollution, traffic patterns, and safer neighborhoods.

Other synonyms for place-based education include:

  • Environmental Education
  • Ecological Education
  • Community-Based Education
  • Bioregional Education
  • Wilderness Education
Why should we learn about place?  Well, the obvious reason is that it provides for us.  Since we are dependent upon it we may want to understand where our water comes from, how clean our air is, and where our food is grown.  Additionally, as Knapp says, if we aren't educated about something we tend to be apathetic toward it; the implication for place being alienation--one of the most serious crises we face as a species.

The talk went on to provide examples of place-based education in the classroom, in urban settings, and on field trips, place-based activities, and how to make a case for it to your school's administration.  For information on the benefits of place-based education see the Student Gains From Place-Based Education Fact Sheet published by the University of Colorado at Denver.

The quality of the lecture inclined me to look at the Green Teacher Subscriptions which are very reasonably priced, ranging from $26 to $52 per year.  I'm going to get one, and then watch more webinars!  Even without a subscription you can watch the webinars for free with access up to a month after they are recorded.  "Exploring Place-Based Education" with Cliff Knapp is available for free until today!


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