Toward a place-based pedagogy in an online pre-service teacher education course

Year: 2015

Author: Maxwell, Jacinta, Salton, Yvonne, Burke, Katie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The notion that online study is a placeless endeavour, that where students learn doesn’t matter, is being challenged via a second-year teacher education course. Focussed on the Australian History and Geography Curricula, the course is designed to facilitate understanding of curriculum and pedagogies relevant to these disciplines in a place-responsive manner. Inquiry pedagogy, conceptual learning, and integration of core and elective content are integral to the Humanities subjects of the Australian Curriculum and are consequently reflected in the course. These focus areas are complemented by a valuing of places as important contexts within which pre-service teachers (and their future students) can engage in learning experiences. In order to address multiple goals of the course-development team, including modelling pedagogy, promoting the pedagogical potential of places, and reinforcing the value of ‘informal’ learning contexts, the team developed a course that required students to venture into their communities to complete learning activities and assessment items. This paper reports the results of the course team’s collective reflections upon the principles driving the development of the course, the theory underpinning decision making, and implications of place-based education for students and educators within the course.