14 SES 06 A, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Learning in and from Urban Spaces: Place-Based Methodologies - Part 3
Education and socialization always 'take place' somewhere: in- and outside buildings, in private and public spaces, in particular communities, neighborhoods, cities or regional contexts. This symposium wishes to highlight this spatiality of education and socialization. Socio-ecological theories on education structure children and young people's life worlds into distinct ecological zones and sectors which all create particular educational challenges and experiences for the child. Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework for human development (1979) has been an important influence on this tradition of educational research. The representation of children's life worlds as a complex network of socially organized systems and subsystems turns education into an open-ended process with many influences that can only be partially managed by formal educational institutions. As a consequence, it is reasonable to state that space matters in education.
Considering the idea that space matters in education, one can say that the city is not only a promoter, organizer and regulator of education, but also a cause of education in its own right (Bernet, 1990). In a report from the international network on Educating Cities, Bernet (1990) made a threefold distinction between learning in and from the city, and learning the city. Learning in the city points at the territoriality of education: the city is seen as a spatial background that promotes (or hinders) particular types of learning, and as a gathering of educational facilities and environments. When one considers that it is also possible to learn the city and to learn from the city, it emerges as a learning experience, as a discourse that invites different kinds of reading and (re)writing, perception and appropriation; a learning experience that is contributed to, and shared by, child care professionals, educators, governmental actors and children.
Our focus on the city (as opposed to other territories/spaces) stems from an understanding of urban contexts as those where individuals and groups find the best opportunities to acquire knowledge, develop skills, debate and establish meaningful interactions. The city reflects the history and the knowledge produced by the community that inhabits it; it is an ever-changing, and oftentimes expanding, context. As they welcome a significant percentage of the world’s population, cities are, inevitably, spaces of encounters and conflicts. In spite of that – or because of that – they are particularly suited for the integrated development of individuals and communities.
The papers featured in this three-part symposium will promote a multidisciplinary and international discussion on what can be learned in and from urban spaces, as well as on how different stakeholders perceive the city as an educational space, taking into account pedagogical theories, existing concepts and intervention programs, and the contribution of multiple scientific approaches.
In this particular session, we will discuss methodological aspects and concerns of research/intervention projects that constitute multidisciplinary approaches to learning in and from urban spaces, and in general, of place-based educational initiatives. The idea is to discuss methodological options, but also to discuss the difficulties experienced by the research groups (either in the definition of their role as a researchers, in implementing the methods, in interpreting the results or obtaining the expected results, in accessing one particular sample, etc.). This is a discussion about the research process: what worked and what did not work, and what strategies were used to overcome any difficulties. Additionally, we shift the focus away from the results, and towards the impact, i.e. the feedback received from the people/community/organizations that were partners to the research processes, as well as a discussion on which aspects of the community's life were/could be impacted by such an intervention, on how/if the approach could be replicated, etc.
- Bernet, J. T. (Ed.). (1990). The educating city. I congrés internacional de ciutats educadores. Barcelona. - Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. - Coughlin, C. A., & Kirch, S. A. (2010). «Place-Based Education: A transformative activist stance». Cultural Studies of Science Education, 5, 911-921. - Demerath, P. (2006). «The Science of Context: Modes of response for qualitative researchers in education». International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19, 1, 97-113. - Ford, M. (2005). «Quandaries of Place (-Based Education)». Philosophy of Education, 221-224. - Hertzberger, H. (2008). Space and Learning, Lessons in Architecture 3. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. - Lawless, P. (2006). «Area-based Urban Interventions: Rationale and outcomes: The new deal for communities programme in England». Urban Studies, 43, 11, 1991-2011. - Resor, C. W. (2010). «Place-Based Education: What is its place in the social studies classroom?», The Social Studies, 101, 185-188. - Ruitenberg, C. (2005). Deconstructing the Experience of the Local: Toward a radical pedagogy of place. Philosophy of Education, 212-220. - Smith, G. A. (2005). «Place-Based Education: Learning to be where we are». Clearing – Teaching Resources for Ecology. Sustainability and Community, 118, 6-43.
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