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 2: Understanding place

Focus: Understanding the diversity and complexity of regional and rural communities

Outcomes

  1. Know and understand the rural social space model and the implications for rural and regional education.
  2. Know and understand the distinctions between different rural and regional places.
  3. Know, understand and appreciate the concept of ‘place consciousness’.

Topics

Key readings 

d'Plesse, P. (1992). Redefining remoteness in the post industrial society. Education in Rural Australia, 2(1): 1-6.

Flora, J. L. (1998). Social capital and communities of place. Rural Sociology, 63 (4): 481–506. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1549-0831.1998.tb00689.x/abstract

Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). Foundations of place: A multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3): 619-654. Available from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3699447

Liepins, R. (2000). Exploring rurality through 'community': Discourses, practices and spaces shaping Australian and New Zealand rural 'communities'. Journal of Rural Studies, 16: 325-341.

McConaghy, C. (2006). Schooling the dust belt. Education in Rural Australia, 16(1): 39-45.

Queensland Government. (2000). Welcoming and inducting new principals and school staff in rural and remote communities. Education Queensland: Brisbane, QLD. Available from: http://education.qld.gov.au/ruralandremote/doc/inducting_new_principals.doc

Redman, K. (1991). Rurality: "From the inside looking out", Education in Rural Australia, 1(2): 7-16. 

Reid, J., Green, B., White, S., Cooper, M., Lock, G. & Hastings, W. (2008). New ground in teacher education for rural and regional Australia? Regenerating Rural Social Space. Paper presented as the Australian Association for Research in Education International Education Conference, Brisbane, 30 November - 4 December. Available from: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Regenerating+rural+social+space%3F+Teacher+education+for+rural-regional...-a0243121709

Sher, J. P. & Sher, K.R. (1994). Beyond the conventional wisdom: Rural development as if Australia's rural people and communities really mattered. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 10(1): 2-43. Available from: http://www.jrre.psu.edu/articles/v10,n1,p2-43,Sher.pdf

Some suggested activities

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

Activity

Discuss in small groups this question...
Do you think all rural places are the same?
Investigate via the web a number of rural places in your State/Territory to compare.

Activity

In Module 6 - Mode: Simulations, you will find two rural places to explore further. One Bilby - a virtual place created on-line by Dr Karen Le Rossignol (Deakin University) , and the other Giraween Flat a hypothetical place created by Jan Page (Charles Sturt University).

Activity

Discuss the following phrase...

What we know, we may choose to care for. What we fail to recognize, we certainly won’t (Pyle, 2001, p.18 ).

Now further consider this quote from the work of David Greenwood (nee Gruenwald) on place consciousness.

The point of becoming more conscious of places in education is to extend our notions of pedagogy and accountability outward toward places. Thus extended, pedagogy becomes more relevant to the lived experience of students and teachers, and accountability is reconceptualised so that places matter to educators, students, and citizens in tangible ways. Place-conscious education, therefore, aims to work against the isolation of schooling’s discourses and practices from the living world outside the increasingly placeless institution of schooling. Furthermore, it aims to enlist teachers and students in the firsthand experience of local life and in the political process of understanding and shaping what happens there (Gruenwald, 2003, p. 621).

Reading

See: Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). Foundations of place: A multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3): 619-654. Available from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3699447

Activity
Below is the conceptual model to describe a Rural Social Space

Choose a rural community in your State and find out as much as you can about;

  1. the economy
  2. the geography
  3. the demography

Questions you might consider when exploring this place....

What types of work are there in the town? What are the main industries? What are the leisure past times? What is the history of the community? What is the physical landscape like? What is the transport system like? What significant landmarks are near by? What are the opportunities in this place? What are the challenges?

More about the model

Rural social space is not a generalised or universal concept – it is the particular set of events, or practices, performed in a particular place over time, that have produced the ‘place’ that is experienced in the present. The model conceptualises rural social space in terms of the practices that are produced in and through the interrelationship of these factors in any particular place. It is the set of relationships, actions and meanings that are produced in and through the daily practice of people in a particular place and time.

Map the ‘rural social space’ of a rural place. What have you learnt about the place that surprises you? How do you feel about this place taking a closer look at it?

Reading

See: Reid, J., Green, B., White, S., Cooper, M., Lock, G. & Hastings, W. (2008). New ground in teacher education for rural and regional Australia? Regenerating Rural Social Space. Paper presented as the Australian Association for Research in Education International Education Conference, Brisbane, 30 November - 4 December. Available from: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Regenerating+rural+social+space%3F+Teacher+education+for+rural-regional...-a0243121709