Place-based Education: Catering for Curriculum, Culture and Community
Issue 18: 2008 (published July 2009)
Place-based education (PBE) is not an overly familiar term in the New Zealand education context but it has a rapidly developing profile within the United States and parts of Canada, mainly as an outreach of the environmentalist movement. At the practical level "place-based education" sets out to answer two fundamental questions: "What is this place?" and "What is our relationship with it?"
It is hypothesized that the New Zealand education system (including its students, teachers, learning institutions and curriculum) is seriously remiss in not providing adequate structured opportunities for all New Zealanders to have a consistent and long-term ontological identification with what Geoff Park (1996, p. 323) refers to as "the two cosmologies – the two landscapes" that co-exist in New Zealand.
This article explores some of the theories and practices embedded in a place-based education for Aotearoa New Zealand and recommends a set of principles for advancing the practice. Areas of research are suggested as appropriate starting points for tertiary institutions.