Place-Based Education: Improving Learning While Connecting Students to Community and Environment




Pasiechnyk, Corissa

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Place-based education is emerging as a progressive response to the standardized, decontextualized curricula that has historically and contemporarily characterized our education system. With foundations in environmental education, community-based education, inquiry, and action learning, there exist many variations of place-based education. Calling into question the purpose and definition of education, place-based education can provide educators and students with real-life learning while developing an appreciation and understanding of local places, fostering a sense of community, and promoting students’ agency in order to do meaningful work and answer important questions. Whereas many scholars in the field adopt and build on the concept of a “critical pedagogy of place”, many acknowledge this contribution to the literature and then explore a version of place-based education that can enhance student learning and achievement within standard objectives and discrete subject courses, as a part of our existing standards-based system. The research literature indicates an overall improvement in student engagement and in-depth learning and understanding when taught from a place-based framework. The findings of this critical literature review additionally suggest that although place-based education can offer benefits to both student learning and community life, there exist many barriers to the successful implementation of this progressive approach to education. Place-based education has become a relevant topic for researchers and the greater educational community for its positive impact on developing students’ sense of place, promoting community and environmental engagement, and on improving student learning.



place-based learning, critical pedagogy of place, environmental education, Indigenous education, place, community-based education, rural education