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

Module 1: Understanding rurality

Focus: Considering the diversity of the concept of ‘rurality’

Outcomes

  1. Know and understand the diverse distinctions between definitions of metropolitan, rural and regional communities as they relate to educational policy, resourcing and experience.
  2. Know, understand and appreciate how community change and renewal impacts upon rural and regional education.
  3. Know and understand historical and contemporary issues and policies related to educational provision, specifically with regard to the employment and retention of teachers in rural and regional contexts.

Topics

Key readings

Allen, T. & Malloy, W. (2007). Teacher retention in a teacher resiliency-building rural school. The Rural Educator, Winter: 19-27. Available from: http://www.ruraleducator.net/archive/28-2/28-2_Malloy.pdf

Arnold, M. L. Biscoe, B., et al. (2007). How the government defines "rural" has implications for education policies and practices. Issues & Answers. REL 2007-2010, Regional Education Laboratory Southwest. Available from: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?projectID=72

Atkin, C. (2003). Rural communities: Human and symbolic capital development, fields apart. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, 33(4): 507-518

Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2011). Families in regional, rural and remote Australia - Factsheet, March, Commonwealth of Australia. Available from: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/factssheets/2011/fs201103.html

Boylan, C. & Wallace, A. (2001). Attracting pre-service students to rural schools. Paper presented at the NZARE Conference, Christchurch, NZ

Brennan, M. (2005). Putting rurality on the educational agenda: Work towards a theoretical framework. Education in Rural Australia, 15(2): 11-20 

Carrington, K. & Marshall, N. (2008). Building multicultural social capital in regional Australia. Rural Society, 18(2): 117-130

Evans, T. (2003). Beating around the bush: Reflections on the theme, Journal of Research in Rural Education, 18(3): 170-172. Available from: http://www.jrre.psu.edu/articles/v18,n3,p170-172,Evans.pdf

Faircloth, S. C. (2009). Re-visioning the future of education for Native youth in rural schools and communities. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 24(9). Available from: http://www.jrre.psu.edu/articles/24-9.pdf

Hall, G. & Scheltens, M. (2005). Beyond the drought: Towards a broader understanding of rural disadvantage. Rural Society, 15(2): 347-356

Halsey, R. J. (2009). Youth exodus and rural communities: Valorising learning for choice. Education in Rural Australia, 19(3): 1-11

Lock, G., Reid, J., Green, B., Cooper, M., Hastings, W. & White, S. (2009). Researching rural-regional (teacher) education in Australia, Education in Rural Australia, 19(2): 35-48

Lockie, S. & Bourke, L. Eds. (2001). Rurality bites: The social and environmental transformation of rural Australia. Annandale, NSW: Pluto Press 

McGrail, M. R., Jones, R., Robinson, A., Rickard, C.M., Burley, M. & Drysdale, M. (2005). The planning of rural health research: rurality and rural population issues. Rural and Remote Health, 5. Available from: http://www.rrh.org.au/publishedarticles/article_print_426.pdf

Neal, S. & Walters. S. (2008). Rural be/longing and rural social organizations: Conviviality and community-making in the English countryside. Sociology, 42(2): 279-297

Plunkett, M. & Dyson, M. (2011). Becoming a teacher and staying one: Examining the complex ecologies associated with educating and retaining new teachers in rural Australia. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(1): 32-47

Sharplin, E. (2002). Rural retreat or outback hell: Expectations of rural and remote teaching. Issues in Educational Research, 12. Available from: http://www.iier.org.au/iier12/sharplin.html

Stevens, K. (2009). Perceptions of educational opportunities in small schools in rural Australia and Canada. Rural Society, 19(2): 118-126

Key resources

Some suggested activities

These activities are designed to be used by teacher educators with their students in tutorial workshops. 

Activity 
In small groups share and discuss the following;

Activity 

Compare and contrast the following photographs below in terms of the images of country life portrayed.

How do these images portray different aspects of rural/regional life? Can you find other images on the internet, that shows more accurately your understanding of rural/regional life.

Activity 
Dr Elaine Sharplin (2002) did a study of pre-service teachers perceptions of country life and discovered that most either saw it as ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’.

Reading

See: Sharplin, E. (2002). Rural retreat or outback hell: Expectations of rural and remote teaching. Issues in Educational Research,12. Available from: http://www.iier.org.au/iier12/sharplin.html

What are your feelings about rural teaching? What are the implications of taking a 'heaven' or 'hell' view in terms of meeting the needs of all rural and regional students and staffing rural schools?

Activity 
Discuss in small groups this statement:

Largely rural communities have seen an urban agenda rolled out across the countryside, with issues of equity and access, rather than appropriateness, dominating the discourse. It is as if rural society is to be judged in terms of a deficit discourse (dominated by the  desire to make them like us) rather than a diversity discourse (recognition and value of difference) (Atkin, 2003, p. 515).

Reading

See: Atkin, C. (2003). Rural communities: Human and symbolic capital development, fields apart. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, 33(4): 507-518. Available from: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a713657667~frm=titlelink

Activity

Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2011). Families in regional, rural and remote Australia - Factsheet, March, Commonwealth of Australia. Available from: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/factssheets/2011/fs201103.html

“[T]here is no essential rural or metropolitan, but a concept of rural or metropolitan based on a continuum in regard to population numbers, accessibility of services, attitudes and values” (McGrail et. al. 2005, p. 22).

Reading

See: McGrail, M. R., Jones, R., Robinson, A., Rickard, C.M., Burley, M., and Drysdale, M. (2005). The planning of rural health research: rurality and rural population issues. Rural and Remote Health 5. Available from: http://www.rrh.org.au/publishedarticles/article_print_426.pdf

Activity

ABC Heywire. (2008). Voices from the country. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75xL4f2N1Og

Activity

Recent Rains Article

Source: Colac Herald. (May 25, 2007). On the street - The Colac Herald asked grade six pupils what the recent rain meant to them, p.8.