Last week, the Getting Smart Team hosted our regular monthly town hall. This time the theme was place-based education, a campaign that we kicked off a few years ago called .
We started off with a section of A Poem on Hope by Wendell Berry:
…Hope / then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
Of what it is that no other place is, and by
Your caring for it as you care for no other place…
Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are
Your neighbors in it…
By this knowledge / Make the sense you need to make. By it stand
In the dignity of good sense, whatever may follow.
Speak to your fellow humans as your place
Has taught you to speak, as it has spoken to you.
We walked through the place-based design principles from Teton Science Schools, took a virtual tour of schools that effectively leverage place-based education and discussed the impact that PBE can have on summer learning. We covered everything from a new maritime school to the way one of our favorite schools, in Memphis, asks their students “what breaks your heart about your community? What issue most speaks to you?” As always, we got some outstanding contributions from the attendees.
Josh Reppun, host of the podcast said “Place is all about questions. Education is all about questions. There is no end to the questions that can be asked about place. Let’s support kids developing question-asking skills.” He also shared , an intensive tech, entrepreneurship, leadership, and design program in Hawaii. He also shared , an organization that’s working towards sustainable engineering and putting an emphasis on the younger generations.
From Molly Ames Baker, founder of : “Where am I? What makes this place unique? Why does it matter? (To you? To your community? Past? Present? Future?)”
Sonnet Takahisa shared that the “Brooklyn Children’s Museum is co-creating an exhibition that is centered on Central Brooklyn – telling the diverse stories over time, history and diverse perspectives.”
Ivan Cestero said “Starting from scratch is a great way to improve your school”
John Gould said “to reimagine what education looks like is daunting because its demands a shift of thinking not just from the school and teachers, but the community as well.”
We received so many great contributions and questions during the event and couldn’t get to them all. We wanted to share a few of the ones that we weren’t able to answer on the town hall.
Q. Any advice for how to engage in place-based teaching and learning in an online remote learning environment? Is this even possible?
A. This is no doubt a challenge. Tools like can help learners digitally meet professionals in their area, therefore connecting them to their community. In the town hall we highlighted Cajon Valley USD’s World of Work Initiative which is a great use of Nepris, especially for K-8.
Q. Why don’t we have multi-age learning communities?
A. Great question. While we don’t have an answer, you can guarantee it will show up on our in the near future!
Q. Is place-based education all about beauty?
A. No! While every place is a place, like the title of this event, and every place has beautiful and unique elements, true PBE is about more than just getting outside and finding awe. It’s about community, curiosity, inquiry, accountability and so much more.
During the event we shared several links and resources. You can access all of those links .
What are you thinking about? What questions does this topic raise for you? Leave it in the comments or email with your questions or ideas — we’d love to hear from you!
You can also sign up now for our June town hall, .
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