All quotes in this post come from Place- and Community-Based Education in Schools written by Gregory A. Smith and David Sobel.

“What place- and community-based education seeks to achieve is a greater balance between the human and non human. Ideally providing a new way to foster the sets of understanding and patterns of behavior essential to create a society that is both socially just and ecologically sustainable” (21).

In my opinion, there are many positive attributes to place- and community-based education (PCBE). With that being said, I’d like to take a moment to discuss why I am so excited about the Service Learning aspect of it. Service Learning “…has sought to involve young people in work explicitly aimed at enhancing community and social conditions” (26) and that is definitely something to be celebrated. When I served with NCCC, Service Learning is a very large component of the program. I learned from experience the awe-inspiring impacts you can have on yourself and your community through service. I have never felt so inspired. Working to better our community helped me realize my passion and it affirmed my decision to become an educator. I am excited to help my students to do the same for themselves; because everyone deserves to recognize their dream.

Something that worries me about PCBE, is the idea of being responsible for ensuring that students become a positive asset for society. In a common idea of education, if a student doesn’t do well in a class then that is their responsibility. They are the ones who receive the bad grade and they are the only ones who that effects. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how passionate and/or informed the teacher is; sometimes students can be given all of the things necessary to be successful and choose to not utilize them. With (PCBE), not only will their lack of retention and utilization of the knowledge be a loss for the individual–it will mean that the community itself is impacted in a negative way. While I think that PCBE is a great approach for education, one has to realize the amount of responsibility that is put on the educator. While it is true that the success of the students isn’t always correlated with the educator’s ability to do their job effectively, I think that I would put a lot of pressure on myself knowing that someone in my classroom could impact society in a positive way if I show them how.

Before taking the steps to implement PCBE, I would like to know more about the expectations for the educator throughout the process. What are the standards? It’s true that “some educators will be more adventurous than others and more tolerant of uncertainty and confusion… For others, small steps will be much more appropriate” (72). So what I am curious about, is how do we set standards for something that can’t be the same for every classroom?

I think that PCBE, is how education should be approached. To leave out aspects of the program is to potentially sacrifice the community around us. “… It’s easy to believe that the important work of American culture happens not in the country’s small towns and cities but in the large urban centers of the East and West coasts. When schools reinforce this message by ignoring the communities where students live, it is not surprising that out-migration has become [a] problem” (44). I think we should focus on our surroundings and how to better them. If we focus on the big picture… Development of the individual will follow.

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