Through the Avondale/Oakland University Partnership, learners of all ages are participating in cutting edge instructional design, meaningful conversations, and opening the doors to countless opportunities, many outside of the traditional modes of teaching/learning. As Oakland University's EED 305 course is offered on-site, the community of learners at Auburn Elementary are engaged in a empowering practice: place-based education.Place-based education is a teaching model that seeks to motivate students to learn by leveraging and strengthening their connection to the places they know; their own communities. Pre-service teachers are invited to facilitate dialogues with students, and together, explore the strengths and challenges facing their community. As these groups explore and identify issues, the pre-service teachers act as "guides on the side", empowering the elementary-aged students to ask questions, research, and realize that their thoughts and ideas are valued. Throughout this learning process, the group comes to identify the strengths and challenges facing their communities. Continued conversations with their pre-service teachers and experiences help elementary aged students learn to trust their voice, create positive change in their communities, and learn the core curriculum that is embedded in each of the projects. As each individual engages, they come to realize and trust that their circle of influence and leadership goes beyond the walls of their classroom.
Idea No. 253