Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Masters Plan B

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Science & Mathematics Teaching Center

Advisor

Samara Akpovo

Second Advisor

Sylvia Parker

Abstract

Self-discovery, sense of place, and experiential education have been largely disregarded in the United States’ Education System, and replaced with test scores and standardization. Incorporating place in education focuses students on the local and brings the ideas of “self” back to the center of education, while also improving test scores. This paper explores each of the place pedagogies, which I define as Outdoor Education, Environmental Education, and Place-based Education, examining and critiquing their effective use of place. Focusing on Place-based Education, which strives towards the use of place in education through sense of place and stewardship, I found that it disregards the social, political and economic components of place. The literature shows that Critical Pedagogy examines and questions those components of place within society and education, but disregards the environment. A bridge between Place-based Education and Critical Pedagogy would provide a holistic approach to place in education and an inclusive educational philosophy that addresses all facets of place. Introducing Critical Pedagogy as a strategy to address the missing aspects of place, I claim that it has a foundational role in Place-based Education. Critical Narratives, as a tool for both students and teachers to examine their environmental and social connections to place, is examined as a practical application for the bridge between the two pedagogies. Guided by my research and past experiences, I then explore my own narrative, applying a critical lens to myself as an educator.

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