Re-inhabiting place in contemporary rural communities: Moving toward a critical pedagogy of place

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Cultural Studies of Science Education



Heather Zimmerman and Jennifer Weible’s (Cult Stud Sci Educ, 2016) use of place-based pedagogy in high school science education honors their participants’ lived experiences and the rural communities from which they come. They raise an unresolved tension in their findings: Why did the youth in their study, who clearly learned a lot about the local watershed, not feel empowered or knowledgeable enough to propose collective, action-oriented strategies to address the poor quality of the water? We use this tension as a focus point of our response, drawing on one author’s (Huffling’s) biography and David Gruenewald’s (Educ Res 32:3–12, 2003. doi:10.3102/0013189X032004003) critical pedagogy of place to re-imagine the curriculum that Zimmerman and Weible describe. We provide strategies that align with Gruenewald’s (2003) constructs of decolonization and reinhabitation that could promote youths’ collective empowerment.


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