Blog Post #3 – Critical Summary

Two significant influences on the development of my character, personality, and intellect were my family and physical environment. When I was eight years old (1978), we moved from thick in the city, to eighty barren acres of prairie. It quickly became a farm brimming with every  ‘pet’ animal known to childkind – cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats and barn kittens galore! Outside of the traditional education received at Clavet School, I lived a life rich in the harvests of a ‘place-based curriculum’. My community consisted of loving, supportive and moral people, companionable animals and a wide-open prairie playground.

             In a conventional school setting, a place-based curriculum is a vibrant approach to education that takes students out into the communities, to learn, to do and to grow as human beings. In a rural environment, this might be an outing to a local dairy; in an urban environment, it may be a walk down to the neighborhood bakery. It can connect curriculum outcomes for many strands of social studies, science, math, health, literature and art. Its pedagogy provides students the opportunity to learn subject matter in tangible living ways, to understand the places they live in, and how to contribute to their communities.Moreover, they often begin a lifelong stewardship for the land (Sobel 2012).

            This paper is a critical summary of ‘place-based curriculum’ as positioned by education writer David Sobel.  David is a co-director of the Center for Place-Based Education at the Antioch New England Institute. He has published numerous books including Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators (2008), Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities (2004), and Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education (1996)

            One critique of traditional product curriculum has been its absence of recognizing context in the delivery of education; such as environment, demographics, socio-economic conditions, and the like. To strengthen and enhance the discussion of place-based curriculum, I will examine indigenous land-based curriculum, and “Reality Pedagogy” by Dr. Christopher Emdin, as these broaden the definition of “place-based curriculum.”

I will flesh out the definitions and ties between indigenous land-based curriculum and place based curriculum. I’ll introduce the subtleties of Emdin’s work, that I feel would enhance the creating and planning of a unit of place-based curriculum. If I can find the resources, I’ll tie it up with a couple critical opinions, if any, of the practice. 


Sobel, David, et al. “Look, Don’t Touch.” Orion Magazine, 2012,

Tyler's take on curriculum

Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Think about: 

(a) The ways in which I may have experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling – It’s been 32 years since highschool. I can’t recall that education experience. This education experience at the UofR, I see that assessment is quite similar – primarily completed through writing research papers. The practical part of the program mixed with the theoretical speaks to Tyler’s assertion regarding organization. There’s definitely a ‘program’ or ‘pathway’, and an attention to a mandatory selection of content.

(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible. The experience in internship made me acutely aware of the importance of optics between teachers and within sight of administration. This being the hidden curriculum spoken to in the article, “The focus on pre-specified goals may lead both educators and learners to overlook learning that is occurring as a result of their interactions, but which is not listed as an objective.” In the education of a teacher at the post secondary level, I don’t feel there is proper time allocated to ensuring the “principles on which to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of individual students and differentiate the general principles … to meet individual cases.” My experience in the 1980’s was an education devoid of the arts education, one geared towards a curriculum “largely imported from technological and industrial settings.

(c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible. It provides direction for the majority who requiring a template. It certainly maintains the status quo. I think it could allow for vocational education, as everything needs an order, a system, and organization with a larger social goal in mind.

ECS 210 blog

How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’

I’ve never written a blog post in my entire 49.10 years of living. I assume its an exercise in writing. Here are the highlights of what I’ve learned from the article: Kumashiro defines common sense origins in our adherence to tradition, professionalism, morality, and normalcy. What everyone ‘should know’. In brief, true common sense verses structure/obedience ~ status quo is a necessity in large societies. Common sense is assumptions, expectations, and values. It gives us a sense of comfort ~ especially in experiencing the repetition.

It has become normal for us to experience oppression without realizing that we are doing so, especially when oppression is masked by or couched in concepts that make us think that this is the way things are suppose to be.

‘Good teaching’ was something already learned in the years in public school system. What a sad, interesting, telling way to define such an important training. He pulls this altogether with a story regarding his first teaching gig, over in Nepal. He makes correlations to Western education – how its set up (times, seasons), the origin of material taught and who is at the origin. And how it marginalizes certain people, groups – all in the name of common sense.

Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

In the article, I found snippets pertaining to answers in my head – such as:

Common sense is often skewed. It is defined by the education we receive. Education derived via self-interests and via the status quo. Common sense tends to create environments where there is discrimination, harassment, physical and verbal violence etc. Oppressions are glaring, but ignored for comfort which in turn develops common sense. Common sense does not often tell us that the status quo is quite oppressive. The insistence that we “use our common sense” is really an insistence that we view things as some in society have traditionally viewed things and want to continue viewing things. Common sense perpetuates status quo values – continues to privilege only certain perspectives, practices, values, and groups of people. Oppression – often without realizing that they are doing so.

I liked this article as it defined common sense in a way I hadn’t thought of before. Everyone, in a sense, has a differne tdefinition of common sense – different experiences, religions, environments etc… all contribute to the ‘build’ of a person’s ‘common sense’

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