A deeper relationship to home

Exploring place-responsive education in schools, universities and communities

Date published: 2016-03-08 12:00:00 AM

Everyone recognizes that our world is rapidly changing. But we struggle to reliably predict how local communities will adapt to the many changes they face, now and in years to come. One researcher is working on a teaching model he aims to make responsive to the changing social and ecological aspects of community life.

“Place-responsive education,” explains Lakehead University’s David Greenwood, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Education, is a pedagogical approach that incorporates both local experiences and community issues within the broad perspective of global change.

Greenwood leads the Centre for Place and Sustainability Studies in Education. The Centre encourages collaborative new partnerships and closer ties between researchers and communities in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. It also supports a wide range of research, education and action initiatives, both regionally and around the world.

Most schools and universities, Greenwood argues, continue to promote a placeless approach to learning that often works against the intimate knowledge required to properly care for the places we live, both now and in the long run.

This research—together with the international dimension of the Centre Greenwood directs—are helping guide local and regional communities in responding and adapting to interconnected sustainability challenges like climate change and economic stability.

How else is SSHRC supporting research into new ways and new models of learning? Take a look at how we are Imagining Canada’s Future.