“The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place” by David A. Gruenewald


Taking the position that “critical pedagogy” and “place-based education” are mutually supportive educational traditions, this author argues for a conscious synthesis that blends the two discourses into a critical pedagogy of place. An analysis of critical pedagogy is presented that emphasizes the spatial aspects of social experience. This examination also asserts the general absence of ecological thinking demonstrated in critical social analysis concerned exclusively with human relationships. Next, a discussion of ecological place-based education is offered. Finally, a critical pedagogy of place is defined. This pedagogy seeks the twin objectives of decolonization and “reinhabitation” through synthesizing critical and place-based approaches. A critical pedagogy of place challenges all educators to reflect on the relationship between the kind of education they pursue and the kind of places we inhabit and leave behind for future generations.