Finding Space for a Place-Based Education

David. A Gruenewald has been referenced within the readings of this course, particularly in the area of place-based learning and the indigenous people. As indigenous people have been exposed to western educational practices, they have simultaneously been exposed to a fraudulent education system. Marker (2006) shares Gruenewald’s statement on this system of education as being “founded on a way of knowing that distances and isolates students from engaging with both community and the local ecosystem” (p.483). Marker goes on to describe schools as privileging “a form of knowledge that presumes the cultural neutrality of science and technology, [while] indigenous ecological understandings are dismissed as exotic, but irrelevant distraction” (p.483).

As a possible research topic, I would like to explore place-based knowledge/ “education” more deeply and believe that Gruenewald’s article “The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place” would be a good place to begin. As the theme of place-based education is further inquired upon, I would like to consider how to connect this research to teachers and their practices within an institutionalized learning environment. Furthermore, I would like to be able to bring practical tools and wisdom to provide the unfamiliar educator with a cultural sensitivity compass.



Gruenewald, David A., “The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place”, Educational Researcher, Vol.32(4), 2003, 3-12.

Marker, Michael, “After the Makah Whale Hunt: Indigenous Knowledge and Limits to Multicultural Discourse“, Urban Education, Vol. 41(5), 2006, 482-505.

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