Repository logo

Knowing Place: Examining the Integration of Place-Based Learning in K-12 Formal Education



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title






Degree Level



This study examines place-based education and its potential for engaging students and creating more socially-just learning environments that prepare students to think critically and participate in building a better future for themselves and the communities in which they live. It was initiated to contribute to a growing body of research on how place-based education philosophies and processes contribute to facilitating high-quality learning experiences that are socially and ecologically just, as well as to inform improved teaching practice and policy within our public education institutions in order to ensure that classroom environments, instructional methods, and learning content are reflective of and responsive to the diverse worldviews and experiences of all students. To explore this focus, I used a semi-structured interview format to gain the perspectives of five teacher participants, all residing in Saskatchewan, who use place-based philosophies and methods. I focused on participants’ perspectives of the benefits, processes, barriers, and possibilities for broad incorporation of place-based education in order to determine how place-based learning can be integrated into K-12 formal education. I transcribed interviews verbatim and used inductive coding to organize data into themes. My findings indicate that the teacher participants view place-based education as offering many significant benefits to students, their communities, and themselves, as educators. They believe that, in addition to creating engaging, motivating, and student-centered environments that promote high standards of student growth and learning, place-based education contributes to healthier and more socially and environmentally just classrooms and communities. Despite some barriers associated with facilitating place-based education, such as financial constraints, time limitations, and other institutional norms and structures imposed upon K-12 classrooms, every participant noted a fervent belief in the possibilities and benefits of the broad incorporation of place-based learning within K-12 formal education. They described examples of how place-based education can be taken up in every classroom as a means to engage all students in meaningful learning to an end of healthier students who imagine and work to realize not only their own potential, but also that of the communities in which they live. The results of this study contribute to the body of research on place-based education, much of which focuses on rationales for its implementation, by detailing specific guidelines and processes for its effective facilitation. The results offer practical considerations for educators and education policy-makers who wish to adopt and advocate for place-based education philosophies and praxes.



place-based education, land-based education, community-based education, critical pedagogy, experiential education, social justice in education, ecological justice in education, student engagement, democratic education



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Foundations


Educational Foundations


Part Of