Place-based education: A transformative activist stance

Christine A. Coughlin, Susan A. Kirch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ethnography presented by van Eijck and Roth focuses on the activities of people involved in a government funded internship program in conservation and restoration, which was offered by a 'multidisciplinary research center' through a local First Nation adult education center. The internship was designed, in partnership with a local non-profit conservation society (OceanHealth), to appeal to First Nation men and women considering career change, returning to school, or re-entering the work place. The primary aim of the internship was to 'provide authentic science for diverse student populations (and their teachers), with particular attention to the needs of students from First Nations, to become scientifically literate to the extent that it prepares them for participating in public debates, community decision-making, and personal living consistent with long-term environmentally sustainable forms of life'. The authors report that at least one of the two interns was not interested in science and a WSÁNEC elder expressed dissatisfaction with the efforts to establish the nature park and its current approved uses. Van Eijck and Roth argue that the divergence between the project aims and the goals of the participants are a result of how 'place' is viewed in place-based education and that disagreements like these can be resolved if place is theorized as chronotope. There are many interesting ideas raised and directions taken in the article by van Eijck and Roth. After several discussions during the review process, we decided to focus our forum response on the meaning of 'place' in place-based education, the utility of theorizing place as a chronotope, the implications for teaching-learning ('education'), and musings on what remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-921
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Cultural-historical activity theory
  • Place-based education
  • Transformative activist stance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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