Publication date: February 2008
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Teaching About Place
Learning from the Land
These sixteen new essays offer new insights into the practice of teaching about place
The astonishing mobility of modern Americans and the homogenizing tendencies of our economy and society have left us detached from an authentic connection to place and knowledge of the regions we occupy. This detachment not only prevents us from protecting the ecosystems we inhabit but frustrates our innate craving to feel rooted.
The seventeen writers who contribute to Teaching About Place - all of them distinguished environmental educator - reflect on the challenges of teaching students about place and their connection to it. In some cases, this effort involves exploring a specific bioregion, its nature, history, and culture, and the impact of human presence. In others, teaching involves more conceptual activities, such as examining the perceptions that connect us to a place or comparing feminist and bioregionalist notions of home. Sometimes, teaching involves a range of interdisciplinary activities; other times, students engage in direct observation of a neglected or unappreciated setting in order to discover the factors that foster the ecological, emotional, and economic health of a place.
The settings discussed in these essays are remarkably diverse: the Hudson River Valley; the Los Angeles Basin; the Green Mountains of Vermont; the Salt Lake Valley; the South Carolina piedmont; a coastal Maine salt marsh; the Nebraska prairie; a degraded creek in Idaho; Houstonís heavily industrialized landscape; eastern Washington State; the Yellowstone ecosystem; and Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the Utah-Colorado border. In each case, the author found ways to engage students - even the nontraditional or resistant - and to produce meaningful insights into the role of humans in the communities of life that share our world.
Teaching About Place is an important record of experiments in the growing practice of place-based pedagogy, examining both the possibilities and the limitations of this approach. It is also fascinating reading for anyone curious about the natural world around us and the ways humans understand, use, and sometimes abuse the environments that we inhabit.
"This book unites narratives from the most renowned environmental educators working today into a powerful collection that convincingly argues for the benefit of place-based environmental education." - Corey Lewis, author of Reading the Trail: Exploring the Literature and Natural History of the California Crest
"The book is an important record of experiments in the growing practice of place-based pedagogy, examining both the possibilities and the limitations of this approach. It is also fascinating reading for anyone curious about the natural world and the ways we humans understand, use, and sometimes abuse the environments we inhabit. - Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment
SueEllen Campbell, Laird Christensen, Hal Crimmel, Terrell Dixon, John Elder, Cheryll Glotfelty, Ellen Goldey, Greg Gordon, Rochelle Johnson, John Lane, Paul Lindholdt, Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy, Bradley John Monsma, John Price, Kent C. Ryden, Lisa Slappey, Ann Zwinger, and Susan Zwinger