Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching

Steven Semken, Carol Butler Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We teach earth, ecological, and environmental sciences in and about places imbued with meaning by human experience. Scientific understanding is but one of the many types of meanings that can accrue to a given place. People develop emotional attachments to meaningful places. The sense of place, encompassing the meanings and attachments that places hold for people, has been well characterized in environmental psychology. Its components, place attachment and place meaning, can be measured psychometrically. Place-based science teaching focuses on local and regional environments and synthesizes different ways of knowing them, leveraging the senses of place of students and teachers. Place-based teaching has been advocated for its relevance and potential to attract underrepresented groups to science. We posit that sense of place is a measurable learning outcome of place-based science teaching. We developed an Arizona-based, culturally inclusive, meaning-rich introductory geology course, and used published surveys to assess place attachment and meaning in students who took the course. We observed significant gains in student place attachment and place meaning, indicating that these instruments are generalizable and sensitive enough for use in this context. Sense of place should be engaged by teachers of place-based science, and further explored as an assessment measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1057
Number of pages16
JournalScience Education
Volume92
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Fingerprint

Teaching
science
environmental psychology
student
teacher
Sense of Place
learning
experience
Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching. / Semken, Steven; Freeman, Carol Butler.

In: Science Education, Vol. 92, No. 6, 11.2008, p. 1042-1057.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Semken, Steven ; Freeman, Carol Butler. / Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching. In: Science Education. 2008 ; Vol. 92, No. 6. pp. 1042-1057.
@article{a7744e7b602d4801b81b5596ba21ee50,
title = "Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching",
abstract = "We teach earth, ecological, and environmental sciences in and about places imbued with meaning by human experience. Scientific understanding is but one of the many types of meanings that can accrue to a given place. People develop emotional attachments to meaningful places. The sense of place, encompassing the meanings and attachments that places hold for people, has been well characterized in environmental psychology. Its components, place attachment and place meaning, can be measured psychometrically. Place-based science teaching focuses on local and regional environments and synthesizes different ways of knowing them, leveraging the senses of place of students and teachers. Place-based teaching has been advocated for its relevance and potential to attract underrepresented groups to science. We posit that sense of place is a measurable learning outcome of place-based science teaching. We developed an Arizona-based, culturally inclusive, meaning-rich introductory geology course, and used published surveys to assess place attachment and meaning in students who took the course. We observed significant gains in student place attachment and place meaning, indicating that these instruments are generalizable and sensitive enough for use in this context. Sense of place should be engaged by teachers of place-based science, and further explored as an assessment measure.",
author = "Steven Semken and Freeman, {Carol Butler}",
year = "2008",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1002/sce.20279",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "92",
pages = "1042--1057",
journal = "Science Education",
issn = "0036-8326",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching

AU - Semken, Steven

AU - Freeman, Carol Butler

PY - 2008/11

Y1 - 2008/11

N2 - We teach earth, ecological, and environmental sciences in and about places imbued with meaning by human experience. Scientific understanding is but one of the many types of meanings that can accrue to a given place. People develop emotional attachments to meaningful places. The sense of place, encompassing the meanings and attachments that places hold for people, has been well characterized in environmental psychology. Its components, place attachment and place meaning, can be measured psychometrically. Place-based science teaching focuses on local and regional environments and synthesizes different ways of knowing them, leveraging the senses of place of students and teachers. Place-based teaching has been advocated for its relevance and potential to attract underrepresented groups to science. We posit that sense of place is a measurable learning outcome of place-based science teaching. We developed an Arizona-based, culturally inclusive, meaning-rich introductory geology course, and used published surveys to assess place attachment and meaning in students who took the course. We observed significant gains in student place attachment and place meaning, indicating that these instruments are generalizable and sensitive enough for use in this context. Sense of place should be engaged by teachers of place-based science, and further explored as an assessment measure.

AB - We teach earth, ecological, and environmental sciences in and about places imbued with meaning by human experience. Scientific understanding is but one of the many types of meanings that can accrue to a given place. People develop emotional attachments to meaningful places. The sense of place, encompassing the meanings and attachments that places hold for people, has been well characterized in environmental psychology. Its components, place attachment and place meaning, can be measured psychometrically. Place-based science teaching focuses on local and regional environments and synthesizes different ways of knowing them, leveraging the senses of place of students and teachers. Place-based teaching has been advocated for its relevance and potential to attract underrepresented groups to science. We posit that sense of place is a measurable learning outcome of place-based science teaching. We developed an Arizona-based, culturally inclusive, meaning-rich introductory geology course, and used published surveys to assess place attachment and meaning in students who took the course. We observed significant gains in student place attachment and place meaning, indicating that these instruments are generalizable and sensitive enough for use in this context. Sense of place should be engaged by teachers of place-based science, and further explored as an assessment measure.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=55849085701&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=55849085701&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/sce.20279

DO - 10.1002/sce.20279

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:55849085701

VL - 92

SP - 1042

EP - 1057

JO - Science Education

JF - Science Education

SN - 0036-8326

IS - 6

ER -