Placed-Based Learning as a Meaningful Way to Provide Environmental Education

Course Description:

  •  Environmental education is a relatively young, yet well-established, field of study. It has been evolving along with humankind and focuses on our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. It brings us back to our roots and helps us understand our place in this world – and even this universe. Place-based learning is one of the most effective ways to build a conscious, active, and worthwhile life – focusing on creation rather than destruction and allowing all of us a great opportunity to do some good in this world, some good that truly matters. “Think globally, act locally” is the motto of place-based learning, and as you can see in this course, sometimes the simplest of things make the greatest difference. Some say it is too late for salvation, but we believe it’s up to us and our good intentions! 
  • But why should these topics be taught at all? Apart from a gazillion individual personal reasons to wake up each morning and go out to save the world, there’s also an official United Nations programme called Millennium Development Goals. This has targeted 17 societal problems, which should help make preserving our civilization a little bit easier. This list contains problems renowned experts have deemed very important, which by itself is a good first step towards a better world. The most terrifying current theories give our society only a couple of years until we irrevocably destroy the natural world. The less terrifying ones give us just a little bit more time. Doesn’t it seem that we must be doing something wrong? We shall explore these prospects together to see what cam be done, to see whether the natural world is in certain danger, and what we can do about it.
  • The course is designed for teachers. If you are a teacher of anything or anyone, this course is for you. All the methods and topics taught in this course are applicable to all age categories and depend only on your imagination. We believe that teachers are people with a grand quest to be wise partners for our youth, helping them along their way to self-fulfillment. That is why we want to help teachers make the overall learning process more natural and meaningful for everyone.
  • Essentially, the methods taught in this course can be divided into two main sections: inside and outside the classroom. The formal section takes us through the theory behind the methods. Sometimes theory comes prior to experience itself, but this is not a fast rule. The latter part is about experiencing, exploration, playfulness, and the joy of learning.
  • The methods and activities to be tried and learned include questing, exploration, outdoor education, global storylines, how to establish rules and rituals for learning outdoors, learning flow, feedback activities, the art of constructive criticism, role-switching, perceiving group dynamics, the living laboratory, zoom cards, transaction analysis, brainstorming, the taste of democracy, etc.
  • The unique aspect of each group is highlighted in the individual aspects of our different backgrounds, which can provide the other members with immense inspiration. For example, an elementary school teacher may inspire a high school teacher by helping them figure out their individual way of sharing knowledge through the given activities or by collaborating to come up with a completely new activity. And remember that even though the world has limits, imagination knows none.

 Course Objectives:

  • To focus on the topics of global warming, environmental grief, pollution, environmental history, consumerism and poverty, materialism and spirituality, positive psychology, fair trade policy, global economics, systems of government, and why these topics should be taught.
  • Essentially, to get to the bottom of modern society’s problems, comprehending them by experiencing how they are interrelated in order to support an inspired society, rather than one overwhelmed by sorrow.
  • To grasp the concept of place-based learning and interdisciplinary approaches as well as to experience it through exciting, mind-opening activities. 
  • To develop a common way of inclusion, so that the overall learning process returns to a purer form, supporting everyone’s best selves and seeing individuality as a useful feature rather than an obstacle. 
  • To be able to implement these topics and concepts into your lessons and to strengthen the relationship between teachers and students.
  • To visualize the most noble dreams for our common future and find ways to follow them.
  • To get an introduction to futures studies and prognostics in order to implement creative freedom and use it in practice.


Tentative Schedule

DAY 1: 

An introduction to environmental education, learning through play, and team building activities concerned with environmental topics. Getting to know each other.


DAY 2: 

A walk-through of place-based learning from multiple viewpoints, combining theory with practice and sharing individual backgrounds to maximize the effectiveness of unique practical applications.


DAY 3: 

A day full of play. Experiencing a variety of activities to be used both indoors and outdoors, evaluating the differences between the given theory and personal feelings inspired by the activities. Using feedback as a tool to learn above one’s original expectations.


DAY 4: 

Environmental brewmastery. Creating completely new educational activities and trying them out on fellow attendants. Giving feedback, an open discussion on self-betterment, and examining the meaning of place-based education.


DAY 5:

Connecting the intertwined. Continuing Thursday´s activities and enriching the week´s experience with the most successful methodologies for long-term use. Strengthening the bond between the physical and mental worlds by engaging the principles of movement therapy – so we can end the course refreshed in body and mind.

Note: the exact schedule may be adjusted by the trainer based on the participants’ actual needs, knowledge, and skills.

Course Designer:

Bc. Michael Ščigel