Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Health and Leisure Studies

First Advisor

Dr Tom Farrelly

Second Advisor

Dr Maura Coulter


Lecturing can be very much a solo pursuit. While we work as lecturers in a higher education ecology, we generally teach our students alone and there isn’t always systematic feedback on our teaching practice. This study is borne out of a desire to better know and improve my practice as a lecturer in a technological university. I wish to be era-responsive for my students, particularly in the context of the Anthropocene and our global climate crisis. Specifically, I wished to see if a place-based education (PBE) approach was perceptible in the programme I teach. This research is centred on outdoor education (OE). OE is often perceived as ‘merely’ outdoor recreation; this simplification of the domain does not acknowledge the potential depth and richness it holds as an area of study or practice. In this research, I wished to investigate my students perception of my teaching. I was seeking evidence of congruence between my espoused philosophy of OE teaching and my actual teaching practice. This research employed a qualitative methodology using a self-study of practice (S-SP) approach (Pinnegar and Hamilton, 2020) that incorporated the following methods: reflective journaling; critical friendship dialogue; and group interviews. A form of reflexive thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2020) was used to interpret the data. The findings indicate a high degree of congruence between my philosophy and practice but no strong evidence of my students’ perception of PBE in my teaching. However, the findings indicate that my teaching includes aspects of place-responsive pedagogy (Mannion and Lynch, 2015) and the application of a critical pedagogy of place (Gruenewald, 2003). Recommendations from this study include, that S-SP approach might be considered by more of those teaching OE in higher education and that the sector might consider how issues of equality, social justice and climate justice might be brought to bear on Irish OE.


Names, addresses, emails and some sections of the appendices have been redacted in order to preserve participant anonymity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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