Place-Based Education features exploration of the local community and natural surroundings through hands-on experiences involving discovery, inquiry and problem-solving, all of which develop students’ skills and abilities. Students work on real-world issues that they identify, or on needs identified by teachers, students, parents, residents, and other local partners during community meetings.
Research shows that students in schools and classrooms who use the needs of their communities as a platform for learning score higher on standardized tests, tend to improve their overall GPA, stay in school longer, and receive higher-than-average scholarship awards.
Students in classrooms that feature Place-Based Education also demonstrate higher motivation to achieve individual potential compared to their peers in other classrooms. Teachers report fewer discipline problems, better attendance, deeper civic engagement, and more responsible behavior in both school and community settings.
Students in community-based environmental study programs spend more time outdoors, develop more attachment to where they live, and exhibit greater environmental stewardship.
The hands-on learning and exposure to various professional disciplines that young people gain in Place-Based Education often jump-start their thinking about a new set of career opportunities. Further, the deeper awareness of where they live can lead students to acquire a new appreciation of place that can last a lifetime – possibly inspiring young people to remain in Michigan in the future.
The teaching and learning that takes place through the GLSI is aligned with the Common Core Standards, Grade Level and High School Content Expectations.
Further Reading: Student Gains from Place-Based Education, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center