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Starting where your feet are

Professor Wally Penetito shares his thoughts on where to start with curriculum design.

He says:

  • start where your feet are
  • connect to the people who belong.

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    Place-based education is really an excuse to begin where my feet are, if you like. That's part of the cliché of place-based education, begin where your feet are - where you're standing. Get to know this place first, and then spread out into the world. That's kind of really been my main motivation and inspiration for place-based education.

    This is my message to teachers and educators everywhere. We need to start where our feet are, but never let it stay there. That's the beginning point only. Everything else moves out from that. It's kind of like, sort of a basic principle of education, about begin with stuff you know, and then move into the unknown. It's kind of like good sense. That's how I see it.

    Place-based education there's no limits to it. I don't know what might count as a limit to it, to what might be a curriculum for it, if you like. It comes down to what does place-based education mean? It is about that knowing where your feet are. But it's also how you get to know – that's a really important part of the agenda as well for place-based education.

    It's how you get to know, and that's about pedagogy and that's about knowing what it is that our ancestors, what the people that we belong to, how they tell their stories. The way in which they impart that history. It isn't just about books. In fact the books are very much what you move to later on, when you get some earlier understandings that come from relationships with people. And a big part of that, in the Māori world anyway, is through storytelling, through pepeha, through kōrero, through being on a marae and exchanging views about what’s going on there, and the histories that belong to that place.


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