Teacher experience of rurality
Community
Schools
Classroom
Preparing for a rural career
Module 1: Understanding rurality
Module 2: Understanding place
Module 3: Understanding rural teacher identity
Module 4: Working with communities
Module 5: Getting to know rural students' lives
Module 6: Professional experience
menu 4.4.1
menu 4.4.2
menu 4.4.3
menu 4.4.4
Module 7: Advice in getting a job

Field trips

A field trip of several days enables more in-depth involvement in a school and community.  Such trips can be specifically organised by the university to enhance a subject or the teacher educator may wish to access existing programs, such as the NSW Department of Education and Training’s Beyond the Line program.

In order to develop a field trip Teacher Educators should consider the following:

  • What is the key objective of the field trip: to develop familiarity with rural communities? To develop familiarity with educational provision in rural contexts? To show variety of rural locations or to provide a depth of understanding of a single rural location?
  • How many students (what size bus? Or form of transport?) will you take on the field trip?
  • Can schools cope with the intended number of visitors?
  • Can the pre-service teachers engage in “Service Learning” opportunities?
  • Which cultural sites and local industries could be visited as part of the trip?
  • Can students be accommodated within the community – either as a group or through individual billeting of students?
  • What are students required to do on the field trip? Maintain a journal? Conduct a mini-research project?

Development of partnerships with schools and community organisations is necessary to facilitate field trips and schools will require information about the pre-service students and your expectations of the activities they might undertake while on the visit.

Examples of programs for pre-service teachers

  • Beyond the Line takes pre-service teachers in the final or penultimate years of their course on a one-week community visit to a rural area. Whilst the details of the program vary for different trips, in all programs pre-service teachers visit schools and engage with the community in order to gain a deeper personal understanding of their own preparedness to undertake future employment in such areas. 
  • Education Rural Field Trip (University of Western Australia) provides rural education pre-service teachers with an opportunity to go on a six day road trip through the Midwest Region of Western Australia.

Examples of programs for school students

  • Landcare Education field trips offers a number of field trips through the Landcare centre. Trips explore land degradation issues and their solutions.
  • Teaching Farms is a school-based program in Victoria, Australia. It targets middle years students and provides opportunities to build rural and urban partnerships through reciprocal visits.

Resources

Elaine Sharplin, University of Western Australia - Rural and Regional Field Trips

Shirley Richards, University of the Sunshine Coast - Coast to Country Field Trip [Audio only]

Readings

Hudson, P. & Hudson, S. (2008) Changing preservice teachers’ attitudes for teaching in rural schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 33:4, 67-71. Available from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/14465/

This article investigates 17 pre-service teachers’ first experiences of teaching and living in rural areas. These second and third-year pre-service teachers were involved in a five-day rural experience, which included interacting with local communities, living with host families, observing teaching practices, and teaching rural middle-school students.

Munsch, T. R. & Boylan, C.R. (2008). Can a week make a difference? Changing perceptions about teaching and living in rural Alaska. The Rural Educator, (Winter): 14-23. Available from: http://www.ruraleducator.net/archive/29-2/29-2_Munsch.pdf

This article outlines the experiences of 14 pre-service teachers who participated a one-week remote rural practice teaching experiencein Alaska. Responses gathered via pre and post experience questionnaires, reveal the the pre-service teachers’ views about rural teaching and seeking rural appointments.

Sharplin, E. (2010.) A Taste of Country: A pre-service teacher rural field trip, Education in Rural Australia, 20(1): 17-27. Available from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7253/is_1_20/ai_n55386494/

This article outlines the steps and resources that can be used to plan a field trip as well as the rationale for embedding field trips in teacher education programs.