As part of my beat here at Education Week, I cover rural school issues. I’m relatively new to this subject, and over the past month or so, I’ve been gathering as much information as possible about the challenges that rural schools face and ways to overcome them. This afternoon, I attended a Webinar put on by the Rural Schools and Community Trust called Engaging Students and Revitalizing Communities through Place-based Learning, which seemed particularly suited to share with you all.
Here’s an article about place-based learning--what it is and some examples--from the Rural Schools and Community Trust’s Web site. The Webinar was basically about how place-based learning, or expanding the classroom to include the students’ community and surrounding environment, can motivate and engage students by providing them with opportunities for hands-on learning and emphasizing the relevancy of what they are learning. This is presented as an idea firmly rooted in the rural schools community, but I think it has implications for all districts. Helping students learn by studying the history, culture, and environment of their own community seems like it would not only engage students, but also build a strong relationship between schools and the outside community (which, by the way, seems to be a running theme on Motivation Matters lately).
Do you have any examples of this happening in your school or district? And if so, have those efforts been successful?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.