Bhutan Blog: Paro Place-Based Education Workshop

Photo: All the workshop participants in the Paro place-based education workshop with the Paro skyline in the background.

We conducted our first of two place-based education workshops at the Hotel Holiday Home in Paro, Bhutan from January 11-13, 2013. Twenty-seven teachers came to participate. Most were from Paro or Thimphu and taught primary or secondary students. Two teachers came from central Bhutan from the Chendebji and Namgay Choling Community Primary Schools. Wangchuk came from the Ministry of Education’s Department of Curriculum Research and Development as a representative of the Ministry.Over the three days of the workshop, teachers learned about what place-based education is and how to do it in their own classrooms. Day 1 of the workshop was focused on an introduction to place-based education with a lens towards exploring place through mapping. Day 2 was led by Dr. Doug Wachob and gave the teachers an opportunity to practice the enduring understanding that “science is a verb”. During this day with Doug, teachers completed and presented research projects on topics such as: insect and plant diversity and abundance around the Hotel Holiday Home, fuel use by vehicles in Paro, preferred heating sources, and water quality of the Pachu River. Day 3 gave the teachers the opportunity to apply their learnings about place-based education through planning what they will implement in their schools. Each day of the workshop was sprinkled with outdoor games and activities to build a community of learners and to model activities for connecting to place.At the conclusion of the workshop all participants reported that the workshop had been a very valuable experience and several said it had been the best professional development program that they had attended and that they would like to see more. All participants are required to complete an implementation reflection assignment due in May 2013 about what place-based projects or in-service trainings that they have implemented and how those projects or trainings went.Our Teton Science Schools team was thrilled with the success. We begin the Thimphu place-based education workshop today (January 15) and look forward to sharing place-based education with more Bhutanese educators.

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