Donovan, E. (2014). Place-based education, student writing, and cultural contexts: A case study of building community consciousness in a rural middle school classroom. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
The idea of place extends beyond just the location where people live. Place is a narrative, a story that involves interactions, characters, conflicts, and the rise and flow of humanity. By understanding the importance of place and the connection to the places from which people originate, the people, their motivations, and their strengths and weaknesses begin to take a shape that inspires transformational ideas and actions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of place-based educational practices on rural middle school students' identities and their cultural connections as shown through student writing. This study follows the critical pedagogy of place theoretical framework and works to support the best practices in rural education research. A qualitative case study design was used to conduct this study over eight weeks during the winter of 2014. This study took place in a middle school classroom of 25 students where a collaborative relationship was created between teacher and researcher. The school was located in rural North Carolina. Data sources included interviews, observations, and a collection of student writing. The data was analyzed through thematic and content analysis to better understand the influence of place-based writing practices on student identity and cultural connections as evidenced in their writing.