Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transformative Education and Social Change

Committee Chairperson

John M. Elmore, Ph.D.


The current state of American education is one that is often defined as being standardized, with students of varying needs, abilities, and backgrounds being consistently measured by a “one size fits all” approach. Students of various learning styles and incredibly diverse cultures are being assessed on content that is foreign, and often not relatable to them; thereby leading to a loss of engagement in the learning process and the inability to see themselves as contributing members of a democratic society. The overall purpose of this action research project is to help adolescents develop a greater understanding of civic matters and to become more engaged within their local community. This societal aim will be supported with the aid of place-based learning within the secondary level classroom; where teachers incorporate the local community into their curriculum to provide a more meaningful and relatable content to their students. Along with an analysis of what role education has in a democratic society and the challenges that plague our current education system, this work will present a professional development workshop series for secondary level teachers in developing methods of place based learning to combat the pedagogical uniformity found too often today. In addition, a method of evaluating the effectiveness of this proposed workshop will be presented in an effort to identify areas of growth and improvement.