Summer 2023 - EDUC 718 G011

Landscapes of Practitioner Inquiry (5)

Class Number: 3466

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    Acceptance into the MEd in Educational Practice program.



Explores the landscapes of practitioner inquiry, including its histories, affiliated paradigms and approaches, as well as ethical considerations.


EDUC 718 G011 Landscapes of Practitioner Inquiry
MEd in Educational Practice, Cohort LM54
(Online Place- and Nature-Based Experiential Learning)


Summer 2023 • Mark Fettes •

This course, the first of three in the MEd in Educational Practice, explores the landscapes of practitioner inquiry, including its histories, affiliated paradigms and approaches, as well as ethical considerations. While the general orientation to inquiry will be familiar to you from your Graduate Diploma in Education program, we will be diving more deeply into the dispositions, worldviews, paradigmatic assumptions, and approaches that characterize diverse forms of practitioner inquiry, including (but not limited to) the self-study of practice, living inquiry, arts-based research, action-oriented research, and transformative inquiry.

Since this is also (unusually) a cohort gathered around a common theme, we will also be exploring the nature of inquiry in conversation with the natural or more-than-human world. You’ll be asked to bring your own favourite readings and stories of personal experiences to enrich our shared and evolving understanding of how nature and place shape and guide our personal journeys and teaching practices.

The central purpose of this course is to support you in developing an inquiry project into your own place- and nature-based practice, to be conducted in the following term and written up in the third term of the program. This sounds more linear than it really is: inquiry begins on the first day of the program, or in fact has already begun, and there is plenty of room for surprises and unexpected turns on the way. However, there is considerable value in the process of choosing and refining the focus of your inquiry in this first term, as you look both into your own experience and the questions and challenges it poses and into what the educational literature has to say about the issues you have encountered.

As a diverse and far-flung group of educators, we will be meeting online on Tuesday evenings, starting on May 2, with a break in late June-early July and a short intensive stretch from July 4-6. Here is a tentative outline of the themes for each class:

May 2, 4:30-8:30 p.m. — Diving into practitioner inquiry
May 9, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Inquiry in the midst of life
May 16, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Inquiry in place and with nature
May 23, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Learning from others’ inquiry journeys
May 30, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Ethics of inquiry
June 6, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Planning inquiry (1)
June 13, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Planning inquiry (2)
June 20, 4:30-8:30 p.m.  — Writing as inquiry
July 4-6, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. — Moving forward in a community of inquiry


Course Goals

  • Develop an inquiry plan that reflects your interests and passions and that will guide your practice in Semester 2 (when you carry out your inquiry) (see below for more information on the inquiry plan);
  • Continue to develop academic reading and writing skills foundational to university study;
  • Develop a grounding in practitioner inquiry within the landscape of educational research;
  • Critically reflect on the social, political and educational contexts of inquiry, especially as these relate to place- and nature-based education, and how these shape research methods and ethics;
  • Extend and deepen your thinking about the ways in which human understanding and pedagogical practice can be shaped and guided by nature and place, and how practices of inquiry can deepen such relationships;
  • Create a generative community of teacher-learners in spite of the constraints and limits of online learning, and be alive to changes and shifts we may need to make during the course and the program to support this community and individual participants.

What is an Inquiry Plan?

An inquiry plan in the vein of practitioner research asks you to focus upon an area in your own educational practice that you wish to explore, deepen and/or question. Such a plan has several interlocking components and each of these will be a focus of your work in the course:

  • A topic, problem or issue to explore;
  • A rationale and background to the issue that is anchored in current contexts and your practice setting;
  • Theories and thinkers that frame and extend the issue you are exploring (this is your literature review);
  • A plan for data collection and analysis;
  • Attention to ethics and research relationships.



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.