With UVM's strong reputation as an environmental university, we routinely attract students who hold a clear interest in environmental education, outdoor education, service learning, and experiential education.
In many cases, students’ interests are paired with concerns about sustainability and social justice. Some choose formal teaching as a pathway, seeking teacher licensure and a career as a classroom teacher. Others pursue roles outside of the formal classroom as park interpreters, museum educators, or ropes course instructors.
Regardless of their interests, all are committed to a type of education that adapts to local conditions and fosters learning in the context of particular places, cultures, and communities.
Place-based education is an approach to teaching and learning grounded in the local environment, its various narratives, and the lived experience of students. It is rooted in the idea that the local environment – complete with its natural and human histories, economic and social issues, and political and ecological dynamics – can provide a robust and integrative context for teaching and learning.
Much of the power of this approach stems from the fact that participants are immersed in the social-ecological system they are studying, thus providing many opportunities for active engagement and deepening connections to people and places in the local community and environment.
Place-based education is an important pedagogical approach to understanding the past while fostering a more sustainable future. Preparing educators to use place-based pedagogy in their future lives and professionals is at the root of this proposed certificate.