The Where of Teaching and Learning (WoTL) Study

The Where of Teaching and Learning: an ethnographic survey of practices from the field

You are invited to join a study around where learning and teaching occur. Very little is known about how educators decide where learning experiences occur. This project aims to shed light on decision making processes of educators, experiences of learners, and the relevance of considering where when planning learning.

Lheidli T’enneh hubeh keyoh whuts’odelhti. Nts’ezla hubeh yun ts’uwhut’i, ts’uzt’en ink’ez ts’unuwhulyeh. (I respectfully acknowledge the unceded, ancestral lands of the Lheidli T’enneh. On whose land we live, work and play.)

***Currently only available in School District 91 and School District 57

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Land Acknowledgement and Cultural Safety 

UNBC's Traditional Territory Acknowledgement:

Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have walked gently on the diverse traditional territories where the University of Northern British Columbia community is grateful to live, work, learn, and play. We are committed to building and nurturing relationships with Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge their traditional lands, and we thank them for their hospitality. The Prince George campus is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, part of the Dakelh (Carrier) peoples' territory.

School District 91 Land Acknowledgement

We are grateful to live, work, and play on the unceded, ancestral territories of fourteen First Nations Representing the Dakelh, Nedut'en, and Wet'suwet'en peoples. We are working diligently towards creating equity for our learners through conscious acts of Reconciliation. 

Thank you to Leona Prince

Northern Health Indigenous Health

First Nations Health Authority

Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility:

Hart Banack's commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility

Christy McHarg's commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility

First Nations Education Steering Committee

First Peoples Principles of Learning

How to Get Involved: 

Find out more information about this study: Prerecorded Information Session

Survey: Take our online survey (10-15 minutes)

For Teachers (K-12)

Teachers who wish to be a part of the study will participate in one or more of the following data collection events:

  1. Complete an online survey (10-15 minutes, one time, plus reviewing consent information letter).  
  2. Partake in a 30-60-minute open-ended interview (in-person or online, one-time). Indicate in online survey your interest in participating.
  3. Track where you taught, using the Day Reconstruction Method, over 10 school days (two-weeks) for approximately 15 minutes after each school day, using an online recording tool (total time =150 minutes, on-going over two weeks). Indicate in online survey your interest in participating.
  4. Host a researcher to join your class for 1 half-day in-person observation (2-3 hours). Indicate in online survey your interest in participating.

During in-person interviews, snacks and a drink will be provided. If you participate in the online survey and at least ONE other data collection event listed above, you will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to a local coffee shop. Even if you decide to withdraw later, you will still receive the gift certificate


Non-teachers include: children & youth, family members, pre-service teachers, school administrators, and community stakeholders.

Those who wish to be part of the study must participate in the online survey, and then can opt to participate in a Focus Group.

  1. Complete an online survey (10-15 minutes, one-time plus reviewing consent/assent information letter).  
  2. Partake in a Focus Group (1.5 hours) (in-person or online, one-time). Indicate in online survey your interest in participating.

For in-person participants in the Focus Group, snacks and a drink will be provided. If you attend the Focus Group online, no food or drink will be provided. You may decide to withdraw from the study at any point and your data will be removed. There are no consequences for withdrawing.

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WoTL Study Details: 

We want to learn more about where learning is happening (classrooms, school ground, gym, online, etc.). This study examines where teaching and learning occur by following teaching and learning in the K-12 school system, and choices around where learning experiences are situated. In this project, where means where learning is occurring, for example: the classroom, the gym, the schoolyard, the computer lab, etc. We are interested in hearing stories from teachers and non-teachers about how they perceive where aspects of the learning they either plan or participate in. The project aims to shed light on how distinct where choices may impact learning, health and wellness, connections to the natural world, and life experience.     



Educators continue to prioritize what is learned (curriculum), who/how learning happens (pedagogy), and the when learning is appropriate (subject disciplines and grades). In response to the insistence around where learning and teaching take place, this study aspires to create an inventory of evidence for where learning actually happens in B.C. K-12 schools. This project represents the first comprehensive review on the where of teaching and learning in Canada. 

Research Questions: 

Where is learning occurring?

Sub Research Questions:

  1. How are decisions around where learning occurs taken?
  2. How are experiences and engagements in distinct where learning contexts expressed?
  3. How do participants make sense of knowing in distinct where contexts?
  4. What relationships exist between curricular and pedagogical choices in relation to where decisions?
  5. What affordances do distinct where contexts offer teaching and learning?
  6. How are decisions around where learning occurs assessed and evaluated with respect to the quality of the learning and the learning aims?

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COVID-19 Research Safety Plan

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Consent and Assent Forms 

If you take the online survey, you must complete a consent/assent form which can be found below. If you have any questions please click here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I share the WoTL website link with with other SD91 educators? 

A: Yes, please share the link and steer them towards the research team, if they have questions. 

Q: Are you looking at if teaching is taking place outside of the classroom?  Would you include online spaces as well? 

A:  The use of “where” is meant to be broad and include many different physical, emotional and other senses.  “Where” includes: school building and rooms (classrooms, libraries, gymnasiums, computer labs, etc)., virtual sites (websites, Zoom, Teams, etc.), feelings (daydreaming, moods, etc.), memories, and books, films and music (which are often described as moving one to another place).  We can even be in two “wheres” at once (e.g. in the computer lab and visiting a website or in a Zoom call) But this is just a sample list.  There are many other “wheres”, and we hope this project helps to reveal them.   

Q: What is going to be done with the research/data once you are done with the study?

A: This is the first phase of the project.  Eventually, we would like to extend the study to include all of British Columbia.  For now, once the data from the SD 91 study has been gathered, it will be analyzed and connected to existing research and theory in the area of “where” learning and teaching occur.  Two papers will be developed.  One will be a scholarly paper, which will be submitted to an academic journal and conference, and the other will be directly towards practitioners and published in a local teacher journal and presented at a B.C. teacher conference.  SD 91 will also be contacted about hosting a presentation.  If you wish to stay involved with WoTL, you can 1) follow us on social media (see Quick Links) or 2) indicate interest in the Online Survey (you are asked to provide an email address if you wish to stay informed). 

Q: What made you choose SD91 instead of SD57 or any other school district?

A: SD#91 has long-standing connections with the UNBC School of Education.  As the project was developing, Hart Banack was talking with colleagues in SD#91 and they expressed interest in being involved.  So, a research relationship was born!   

Q: Do you hope to look at including post-secondary schools in this study? 

A:  WoTL focuses on K-12 teachers, but has opportunities for others to get involved and share their “where” stories.  When you begin the survey, there are various options to indicate how you identity your role in relation to the survey. If the pre-determined roles do not make sense to you, you can enter a role of your choice. 

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About the Researchers

Dr. Hartley Banack

Dr. Hartley Banack is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Northern British Columbia. His emerging research program brings together his training and expertise in critical pedagogy, environmental education, outdoor learning, social justice, and teacher education. 

Christy McHarg

Christy Mcharg is a student at UNBC who is completing her masters and a research assistant on this project.

Contact Information

For more information please contact Dr. Hartley Banack at: or 250-960-5317. 

If you have any concerns or complaints about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, contact the UNBC Office of Research at 2509606735 or by e-mail at

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