Paper No. 244-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM
ENDS NOT MEANS: THE AXIOLOGY* OF PLACE-BASED EDUCATION (Invited Presentation)
Valuing a sense of place gives direction to education. Interpreting places though multiple lenses—geological, historical, literary—binds people to the lands they inhabit and, ideally, fosters membership in a community. This twin notion of attachment—to landscape and community—is an “end” in its own right, much more than a “means” for improving academic achievement. Broadly conceived, a sense of place may encompass not only a geographic location but also a state of mind. The present, in the mind's eye of a geoscientist, is a valued place in geologic time: the moment of exercising responsibility for the future of particular places. Excellent curricula that develop a sense of place develop vivid, coherent depictions whether through the humanities, the fine arts, or the sciences. Such curricula interpret landscapes and communities as strata of intersecting stories that contribute to the learner’s identity. Appreciating the value of a sense of place leads to the configuration of subjects as means to achieve socially valued ends and brings into question the value of the aims of standards-based education presumed independent of place.
*Axiology: the study of what things have value.