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  6.  — Students and their place

Students and their place

Relational learning can support and enhance students’ connections with their communities and environments, both present and future. These connections with place can help students apply their learning to real-world situations and prepare for future success.

Relational learning that focuses on students and their place is about creating immersive learning experiences that locate students in their communities and environments, providing valuable opportunities to apply their learning to real-world scenarios. This might include work-integrated learning and community-based learning, and other models of place-based pedagogies.

At the core is a commitment to engagement and authenticity of the learning experience to support communication, inquiry skills and ways of interacting in that context. In doing so, students gain a better understanding of themselves and their place in the world.

Image of Tamaki Makaurau, credit to John Davies

Small steps

Some small, practical strategies for developing students’ relationships with place can include:

  • Encouraging students to choose assessments and research topics that are meaningful and relevant to them and their surroundings.
  • Developing active, participatory and collaborative learning experiences within teaching practice.
  • Using real-world scenarios and information for learning opportunities.
  • Offering opportunities for reflection and support for self-assessment.
  • Providing mentorship and guidance for student learning experiences.
  • Promoting collaboration and community building in place-based learning.1
  • Asking your students to draft a short (100-word) summary of how they view ‘place’ from their perspective – ask them to discuss these in small groups and then discuss the similarities and differences between their summaries.
  • Getting students to research the different histories associated with the ‘places’ they are completing their work-based, or community-based learning in.

Students and place in practice

Page updated 22/02/2023 (minor edit)

  1. Devine, Jessica, L., Bourgault, Kristen, S. & Schwartz, Ruth, N. “Using the online capstone experience to support authentic learning”. TechTrends 64 (2020): 606-615.
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