English, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-25-2014


Jank, Rachel. "Student Engagement and Action in Classroom and Community: Place-Based Education and Social Action for the High-Achieving Student." MA thesis.
UNL Digital Commons. 25 April 2014. 1-86.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Robert Brooke. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Rachel Jank


This paper briefly discusses the work done in a college-preparatory, Senior English class to combat the disengagement present in many educational institutions. This disconnect does not allow for learning retention and, therefore, does not allow for students to apply the moment of learning to life outside of the secondary classroom. The work I do is based off of Jessica Singer Early, Bruce Bigelow, Linda Christensen, and many other master teachers who work with the educational designs of Place Consciousness and Social Action within their respective classrooms. The theories of John Dewey and Paulo Freire suggest that a non-traditional style of education – one that is participatory and more democratic in nature – can allow greater student ownership, engagement, and critical thinking. These theories also direct my curricular choices. I work to combine those theories and practices with the high standards set by the state in which I live, the dual credit program connected to the class, and the expectations of the administration in my school. A genuine experience within a community can engage a student in the learning of writing and reading skills, which will in turn allow for true learning retention to occur.

Advisor: Robert Brooke