Developing Youth Agency Through Place-Based Education: Challenges and Opportunities

Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Place-based education – an approach to learning which engages young people in meaningful investigations taking place in their local community – shows great promise in advancing the concept of childhoodnature. Through sustained and thoughtful engagement with the natural and social worlds of which they are a part, young people can be supported in the development of agency, or the ability to make a difference in the world. This Chapter argues that place-based education projects can best realize this potential by building on culturally and ecologically responsive experiences informed by a fusion of David Greenwood’s framing of place consciousness and Steven Fesmire’s articulation of ecological and moral imagination. Specific program design recommendations are then made to ensure age-appropriate youth leadership of the work, support continuous development of skills and dispositions, nurture interest and commitment through maintaining connection to place, and foster depth of engagement through the enhanced interest that comes about through meaningful participation in the world.


Place-based education Agency Moral imagination Ecological imagination 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Missouri Botanical GardenSt. LouisUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Bob Stevenson
    • 1
  • Gregory Mannion
    • 2
  • Snowy Evans
    • 3
  1. 1.The Cairns Institute and College of Arts, Society and EducationJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK
  3. 3.College of Arts, Society & EducationJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia

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