Summer 2021 - EDUC 100W D100

Selected Questions and Issues in Education (3)

Class Number: 2363

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM



An introduction to a small but representative sample of basic questions and issues in education. Students will examine questions relating to: the concept or idea of education; learning and the learner; teaching and the teacher; and more generally, the broader contexts of education. This course also introduces students to different ways of exploring educational questions and issues from philosophical and critical analysis, to historical and cross-cultural studies, to empirical research. Cannot be taken for credit by students with credit for 300 and 400 level education courses. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


This course will be offered remotely.  Students are expected to be online and available during scheduled class times.

Is there a connection between education and the desire to live a good and meaningful life? If so, what does that look like? And if not, should there be? What is education in the first place, and what does it mean to ‘get’ an education, or to ‘be’ educated? What is schooling? Are schooling and education the same thing? What do education and schooling look like when seen from an evolutionary, a cross-cultural, a historical, and a current perspective? And, what does all this have to do with the goals, or aims, or ‘ends’ of living a life?

This course is aimed at anyone interested in the idea of education, whether or not you are seeking to become a teacher, or whether you are simply curious about what education is in the contemporary world, and what it has been in other times and other places. And, frankly, this course is equally aimed at anyone who has been puzzled, or even frustrated, by their own educational experiences.

We will be applying three lenses to our study of education: an anthropological, an historical, and a personal one. Which is to say, we will be looking at what education has been in our evolution as humans on the planet, what education is or has been in other cultures and other periods, what it is, and has been, in the national context of Canada, as well as what education has been in your own life, and in light of your own experiences. This last aspect, you own experiences, and your own questions, will figure significantly in our explorations.

As this is a “W” course (writing-intensive), it will also involve an opportunity to develop and hone your writing skills. There will be various activities and exercises to support this.

Course Themes/Topics (subject to change in discussion with class):
Human Evolution and Learning; Learning and Schooling across Time and Culture; What is Education ‘for’?; Education and Identity; Education, Learning, Schooling: “Docile Bodies” or “The Practice of Freedom;” Learning and Emotions: What’s ‘love’ got to do with it?; The Indian Residential School System in Canada; Technologies of Learning; Teaching & Learning, or Learning & Teaching; On Psyche, Soul, & Education; Learning, Living & Life.


The primary aim is for students to develop an informed and critical perspective on education that draws on contemporary, historical, and anthropological understandings, and to be able to apply that perspective to one’s own life, hopes, and aspirations.


  • Attendance and Participation in Class 10%
  • Commonplace Book/Writing Journal Activities 15%
  • Small Group Presentation 15%
  • Poster Project 20%
  • Final Comprehensive Portfolio Project 40%



There will be no texts to buy for this course, but there will be readings and other media, which we will access through the SFU Library system, or through various other open-sources. In fact, a key theme of the course will be discussing the very idea of what a ‘text’ is, what reading is, and what dialogue is, in this multi-media, digital, and ‘connected’ world we are said to be living in, and what significance this has for learning, teaching, and education.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).