Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Place-based education is a philosophical orientation to teaching and learning that emphasizes the study of geographic context, particularly the local community, as a focus of elementary, secondary, and higher education. Its lasting contribution to contemporary Western education is the requisite community study unit in elementary school, which only hints at the potential for place-based education in schools. This entry looks at the idea's development and current status. The study of place can trace its philosophical roots back to Aristotle's notion of topos, which refers to feelings of belongingness that are evoked by the “where” dimension of a person's relationship to the spaces he or she inhabits. This ancient Greek concept points to place-based education's disciplinary lineage—psychology and geography—which together frame its perceptual and spatial roots. Place-based educators are interested in spaces, not solely in and of themselves, but also as natural and cultural spheres to which humans assign meaning and ...