14 SES 08 A JS, Transitions and Links in Urban/Rural Place-Based Learning
Symposium Joint Session NW 14 with NW 30
The pedagogy of place-based learning, or place-based education as it is also known, has developed most extensively and systematically to date in rural areas and countries such as Norway where the demographic fragility of some rural communities has attracted political attention and accorded higher priority to rural policies (Cohen and Rønning, 2014). This is rapidly changing. Architect and urban historian Dolores Hayden (1995) described the work of the small non-profit organisation she established in 1984 in Los Angeles under the name of The Power of Place with the aim of situating women’s history and ethnic history in public places in the city through experimental, collaborative projects by historians, designers and artists. Smith and Sobel (2010) assert that in the US ‘some of the most exciting examples of place-and community based education are flourishing in inner-city schools’ and point to a coming together of critical pedagogy with an emphasis on social justice with ‘place-and community-based education , with its emphasis on learning the neighbourhood’
Place-based learning has not been without its critics who, in a rural context, have pointed to imagery which may sometimes call to mind the rural idyll, with too little attention paid to diversity and power relations within communities, insufficient recognition of the inevitability of change, and definitional and conceptual confusion over ‘place’ and ‘community’ (See for example Nespor 2008). One aspect of this is the extent to which communities can be regarded as self-contained and clearly bounded or are in continual interaction with those outside their boundaries. (Amit and Rapport 2002,2012;Nespor 2008; Goldman 1998). Globalisation and international migration have attracted more attention than the relationship and links between communities in a regional context. But family, friends and social networks straddle neighbourhoods, urban and rural communities and regions as well as continents.
This symposium will explore the relationship between urban and rural communities in place-based learning. It will draw on the findings from a comparative research project undertaken by the chair and two of the presenters of the symposium. This has examined place-based learning in Norway (Nordland), Scotland(Highlands and Islands) and the United States (Alabama) and will form the basis of a forthcoming publication in 2016. A paper based on preliminary findings was given to the WERA focal group meeting in Edinburgh 2014.
Further analysis of the findings for this symposium focuses on children’s experience of urban and rural environments and urban –rural partnerships in the delivery of place- based learning. It includes analysis of young people’s main category of identification.
In addition to the findings based on the above project, the seminar will include an examination of a Paulo Freire inspired place-based learning programme in a community pre-school developed in a shanty town populated by an ethnically and linguistically diverse group of rural migrants on the outskirts of Mexico City.
The symposium will discuss:
- the links and relationships developed between rural and urban communities in the delivery of place based learning
- experiences and potential for urban/rural partnerships in addressing common agendas and issues including environmental education’
- research and policy issues pertaining to these
Adams, W.J. Cohen,B. Rønning,W.(2014) ‘Education as a Community Project : Understanding Place-based Learning. Paper presented at 2014 WERA Focal Meeting, Edinburgh. Amit, Vered and Rapport, Nigel (2002) The Trouble with Community. Anthropological Reflections on Movement, Identity and Collectivity. London:Pluto Press. Cohen, Bronwen & Rønning, Wenche (2014) ‘Place –based learning in early years services: approaches and examples from Norway and Scotland’ in Miller, Linda and Cameron, Claire(eds.) International Perspectives in the Early Years. London:SAGE. Cohen, B.J, Rønning, W. and Adams,W.J. (forthcoming 2016) Place Matters : linking learning to the lives of young children. London: IOE Press. Cohen, B.J and Korintus,M. (2015 forthcoming) ‘Young Children in their Local Communities’ Farrell, Kagan & Tisdall eds. Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Research London: SAGE. Gruenewald, D. A., & Smith, G. A. (eds). (2007). Place-based education in the global age. Philadelphia: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2010 edition New York: Routledge. Hayden,D. (1995) The Power of Place. Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge: MIT Press Lefebvre, H.(2003) The Urban Revolution Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lefebvre,H.(1996) Writings on Cities Oxford: Blackwell. Nespor,J. (2008) Education and Place: A review Essay. Educational Theory Nov2008 Vol58 4 pp.475-489. Smith,Gregory A. and Sobel,David (2010)Place-and Community –based Education in Schools New York: Routledge.
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