The Power of Place-Based Learning Experiences on Student Engagement, Writing Achievement, and Community Perception

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Date
2022-06-27
Keywords
Place-based learning, action research, student engagement, writing achievement, community perception
Authors
Bolduc, Danielle
Description
An abstract of the dissertation of Danielle Bolduc for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning, and Community Presented on Date: June 27, 2022 Title: The Power of Place-Based Learning Experiences on Student Engagement, Writing Achievement, and Community Perception Abstract approved: Name: Marcel Lebrun Dissertation Committee Chair The purpose of this mixed methodology action research was to determine if a place-based learning experience would lead to changes in student engagement, writing achievement, and community perception. Specifically, this study attempted to answer the following questions: What impact does a place-based learning experience have on student engagement within a writing workshop? What impact does a place-based learning experience have on student achievement within a writing workshop? What influence does a place-based learning experience have on the community's perception of the school? This action research study took place in a rural elementary school located in central New Hampshire. There were 61 fourth graders and three teachers that participated in this study. A community survey was also distributed which included 94 parents/guardians, 23 community members, and 11 staff members. ii There were eight findings in this study. The first finding showed 89% of students strongly or somewhat agreed that choosing their own writing topics contributed to engagement. The second theme revealed by examining student open response questions, classroom observations, and teacher interviews was that writing set in a social context increases student engagement. In the area of writing achievement, 100% of the teacher participants strongly agree or somewhat agree that they noticed an improvement in student writing achievement since the implementation of place-based learning. Overall student growth increased 1.56 points from 3.82 to 5.38 on the pre- and post-writing assessment. A matched pair t-test was used to determine if the difference between the average pre-writing score and post-writing score was significant. The p value = .026, which is statistically significant. As for the influence of a place-based learning experience on community perception, five themes emerged: creativity and innovation, inspires a new generation of learners, connection to the community, encourages hands on learning, and conjures pride in the local community.
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