Place-Based Education: Out of the classroom into the community

Fostering horizontal connectedness to the local community and the wider world

  • Cinzia Zadra Libera Università di Bolzano


This article presents the results of qualitative research aimed at exploring students’ learning experiences outside the school walls, and recognising the multiplicity of places where learning can take place through a network of connections between schools and the local community. The theoretical framework we refer to is that of Place-Based Education (PBE) which recognises the territory and community as an integral part of the curriculum as a means of reducing the isolation of school discourse and practice from the outside world. The research involved the collection and analysis of data from school curricula and from narrative interviews with secondary school students, undertaken to investigate their beliefs and perceptions about experiences in out-of-school learning contexts with respect to social and personal development dimensions. Horizontal connections highlight the possibility of opening up and transforming the school by moving it in the direction of an educational network, a third multiple space in which pro-social and pro-active competences are developed.