Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to examine three phenomena, 1.) the classroom struggles and successes of students and teachers participating in a place- and community-based curriculum; 2). students personal geographies: their experiences, perspectives and interpretations of their homes, school, community and city; and 3.) interactions between community-based curriculum and students' geographies. This study goes to the intersection of place-based curriculum and students' geographies to explore the interactions that exist between these phenomena. Grounded in critical spatial, feminist standpoint, and constructivist theories, this study draws upon scholarship in Children's Geographies, place- and community-based education, and critical spatial studies. The Second Tuesday Project (STP), a community-based research and service project at Jefferson Center High School, a public, urban high school in a large Midwestern city, is the focus of the curriculum study. Students in the Human Services Course participated in the STP which required they study a community issue/problem by volunteering at a related community organization and using more traditional research methods. Qualitative research focused on three strands: 1.) a STP curriculum study, 2.) case studies of students' geographies, and 3.) analysis of interactions between the STP and students' geographies. Data collection included participant-observation in the Human Services Course, interviews with teachers and students, and focus group sessions with participating students. Curriculum study highlighted a program struggling with identifying, articulating and sharing its overarching goals and objectives but also a program creatively and successfully breaking down logistical barriers between the school and the broader community. Students' geographies highlighted issues of race, class, and diversity through their very rich and complex experiences of place. Interactions between the curriculum and students' geographies varied: from significant changes to students' sense of place to little or no influence at all. Causes for the variation were primarily issues with the quality of curriculum, field experiences, or student engagement and preparedness. Implications for educators include the need for clear curricular goals and objectives and flexible approaches to integrating classroom and community learning contexts. The study also demonstrates the pedagogical potential of Children's Geographies theories and methods.'


Place-based education--United States, Education, Secondary--Social aspects, Human ecology--Social aspects, Place attachment, Adolescence--Social aspects

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Noll, Elizabeth

Second Committee Member

Zancanella, Don

Third Committee Member

Meyer, Lois

Fourth Committee Member

Greenwood, David