In education, during the late 20th Century (and in music education scholarship, beginning in the early 21st Century) an explicit place-conscious, also called place-based, teaching emerged in scholarship. However it was already a part of teaching practice before this body of scholarship emerged. For instance, the Foxfire educational movement emerged in the 1960s as a way for students to learn about natural and cultural history of Appalachia, and taking students outdoors. https://www.foxfire.org/education/
Outdoor education programs, such as Foxfire, provided one major precursor for place-conscious education. Other educators working on problems within democratic education, indigenous education, environmental education, and critical pedagogy constructed place-conscious educational theory as a critical approach to education in specifics. This is, I think most readers would agree, inherently radical in today’s educational climate, where students spend so many hours linked to educational technology’s screens, and high-stakes standardized testing to support national government policies and corporate profit margins.
In music education (and likely in education in general), two strains of place-conscious education arose. Stauffer’s place-conscious music education centers the social aspects of place. https://hugoribeiro.com.br/area-restrita/Regelski_Gates-Music_education_for_changing_times.pdf#page=190 This approach emphasizes the narratives people make within places, and sees places as socially constructed. Socially speaking, this approach looks not only at schools as places of meaning-making, but also local meanings and stories that include various ways people make, curate, learn, and hear music. In contrast, Bates’s place-conscious music education considers the social, but also the aspects of “land” that are included in much outdoor and indigenous place-conscious theory beyond music education scholarship. http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Bates12_2.pdf Bates argues that music educators begin “knowing and caring for the ground we live on, re-discovering a sense of place, and reclaiming and cultivating sustainable and sustaining values, dispositions, and behaviors.”
Both of these perspectives have influenced my own pedagogy; but Bates’s ideas have been more influential for cultivating eco-literate music pedagogy. http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Shevock19_1.pdf I also draw on 1920’s-40s music educator and philosopher Satis Coleman, whose environmental philosophy for music education emphasized the spiritual elements of nature, non-human musics, repurposing materials to make instruments in the classroom, challenging efficiency narratives, connecting to non-Western musics and storytelling, and considering evolutionary theory’s insights into teaching and learning music. Through this, I believe, we can draw together the social and ecological perspectives on place-consciousness, and offer our students a holistic, locally meaningful, grounded, and inspiring music education.