Place-Based Education »

The importance of learning in place

The sensibility of grounding educational activities in community and neighborhood is obvious, and the advantage here goes to the small rural school. Access to the outdoors, local government, the town square, and agriculture is more readily available to teachers and students in rural school districts. In addition, local decisions to implement these kinds of learning activities should be less bureaucratic, and there is ample opportunity for student work to contribute to community problem solving.

Place-based education gives meaning to learning, strengthens the bonds between school and community, and instills pride and wonder in the cultures and histories of rural places and small towns.

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Exemplary Efforts »

Teachers and organizations are working together to create ideal learning environments.

Imaginative students, innovative teachers, thoughtful organizations, and generous donors often come together to launch projects that enhance student learning, engage the community, and have important public outcomes.

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Research »

There is a growing body of work on the importance of place-based learning.

Implementing place-based educational practices is of the utmost importance to rural schools and communities. The Rural School and Community Trust strongly supports place-based education for rural schools through its outreach and professional development activities for rural educators.

Utilizing a local context does not mean disregarding national, state, or commonsense educational goals. In fact, Doris Williams, former executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust, believes that place-based education pairs relevance with academic rigor by promoting deep thinking in content areas, sustaining academic work as researchers and scholars, and meeting or exceeding state or local accountability standards.

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Resources »

The old joke went, "Dewey? Yes we do!" We do "learn by doing." Check out interesting resources and successful programs.

Across the nation rural educators and community leaders are recognizing the value of learning in place. Whether the "vernacular" is "place-based," "problem-based," or "inquiry based," the common denominator is, as Theodore Sizer said, the student as worker. We hope you will add your voice to this conversation!

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