Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Educating for Belonging: Place-based Education for Middle School Students
by Metzger, Nancy, M.A., Prescott College, 2013, 121; 1538942
Abstract (Summary)

This case study examines the effect of a yearlong place-based educational project on a single class of middle school students aged 11-14 at a public charter school in Santa Rosa, California. Of particular interest in this case study was the development of the concepts of belonging and place through the perceptual lens of the middle school student and through the vehicle of place-based education. This study utilizes qualitative methods including participant observation, interviews and pre and post surveys. The findings of this study suggest that the outdoor environment was very engaging for learning. Students reported that the development of a sense of place spurred from repeated visits to the nature preserve over long periods of time. These students indicated that a sense of belonging emerged to the preserve because of the stewardship aspect of the place-based educational project. Students felt a sense of stewardship toward the land after the project, and that sense of stewardship characterized a feeling of belonging. Cosmology was also a factor in understanding how these young adults came to define what it means to feel a sense of belonging to their local natural place.

Keywords: place-based education, sense of belonging, sense of place, stewardship, cosmology or new cosmology, community action, alienation or isolation, ecopsychology, biophilia hypothesis, placelessness, and constructivist curriculum-culture model.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Santo, Beverly
Commitee: Dhruv, Suzanne, Santo, Beverly, Sharp, Lloyd
School: Prescott College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Education, Educational psychology
Keywords: Ecopsychology, Environmental education, Place-based education, Sense of belonging, Sense of place, Service learning
Publication Number: 1538942
ISBN: 9781303132650
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