Deepening our attachment to nature through place-based education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


It is now some time since the human community was asked to think globally and act locally in order to urge people to take actions in their own cities, towns and villages to combat social and environmental degradation. This challenge continues into the 21st Century where issues such as climate change and globalisation have come to be defined as “messy” or “super-wicked” because of their enormity and complexity. These terms are designed to capture the fact that time is running out, central authorities and multiple stakeholders are often entrenched in their views, unable to agree how to coordinate action, and the general public will hold different views on what to do because their values will be conflicted. The end result is stalemate. The enormity of such problems can leave educators frustrated and puzzled about how to respond in meaningful ways. In this paper I argue that experiential outdoor educators are well placed to make significant contributions to super-wicked problems because they understand the importance of interdisciplinary teaching and learning. I describe the emerging concept of Place-Based Education where local schools and communities are the starting points for encouraging active citizenship with our pupils and students. I suggest three different teaching strategies to develop place-responsiveness in our pupils and students designed to deepen their understanding of the place they live in. This means that there are many points of intervention but each teaching response will be place specific as it adapts to the uniqueness of each place. For these reasons I provide no prescription about how to do Place-Based Education and the strategies I suggest are designed for two reasons. The first is to encourage those who are new to Place-Based Education to go out and try it for themselves. The second is to provide some theoretical background to support those already engaged in Place-Based Education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOutdoor Adventure Education in Finland
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogical and Didactic Perspectives
EditorsSeppo J. A. Karppinen, Maarit Marttila, Anita Saaranen-Kauppinen
PublisherHumanistinen ammattikorkeakoulu (Humak).
ISBN (Electronic)9789524563598
ISBN (Print)9789524563581
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHumak University of Applied Sciences Publicationa
ISSN (Print)2343-0664
ISSN (Electronic)2343-0672


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