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A Classroom In The Park: An Analysis Of Place Based Education

2017 words - 9 pages

In the nineteenth century, many psychologists and educational reformers began to challenge the past comprehension of education and it’s teachings. Many believed that education cannot be simply taught out of a text book, and proceeded to teach others of their knowledge. John Locke speculated that “truth and knowledge… are out of observation and experience rather than manipulation of accepted or given ideas" (Hayes) Johann Bernhard Basedow (1724-1790) developed new teaching methods that were simply based on interaction with a child. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), whose motto was “Learning by head, hand and heart," believed that a student learns best through “direct manipulation and experience of objects.” (Hayes) He also felt that children learn through internal motivation rather than pressure. Furthermore, he believes that a teacher’s job is to help guide their students to a place where learning can unfold naturally. Friedrich Fröbel (1782 – 1852) created the concept of kindergarten through his recognition of children’s unique demands and acknowledgment of their potential. John Dewey (1859 – 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer who set standards for education that are still used today. Dewey was considered a major voice of progressive education, which is summarized as hands-on projects, expeditionary learning, and group work and development. Roughly a century ago, Dewey discovered an experiential learning method that immerses students into their communities. Today, an increasing number of teachers are adopting Dewey’s teaching technique of, what is now called, place-based learning.
Place-based education is a learning system that captures the students’ ingenuity and advances environmental protection and local engagement. Place-based education makes the learning process exciting to students by using the resources from the community to focus on “hands-on, real world learning experiences that challenge students to learn and solve problems” (The Center). Place-based education takes students deep into their communities to participate in projects that emphasize the student’s gratefulness for nature and their community. These projects include community renewal groups that create a clandestine learning environment to teach students that even though they may be small, they can still make a big difference in the world.
Ms. Deirdre Bingaman, of Donnelly, Idaho, believes that every student can make a difference in the world and has been faithfully following Dewey’s place-based education and learning methods for 20 years. She has settled down into her 5th grade classroom for 14 years now and truly loves her job. When asked what place-based education means to her, Bingaman said it is effective because, “not only does it make learning relevant for students, but also connects them to their community, whether it’s their school, their town, or the larger area” (Bingaman). Bingaman was first inspired in a “Teaching...

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