14 SES 05 A, Schooling in Rural/Urban Context II
Parallel Paper Session
Education is seen a vehicle for supporting sustainability in rural and regional contexts, with research pointing to the fact that sustainable community development requires a depth of human, social, cultural and economic capital (McSwan, 2003). In terms of human capital, the issue of building a sustainable education workforce in such locations is often problematic and as such, a focus on better understanding the knowledges and dispositions required for successful transition to teaching in rural and remote locations is warranted.
Much research exists in rural and remote education, from a community development perspective (Halsey, 2005; McEwan, 1999; McSwan, 2003; Shaplin, 2002; Yarrow, Ballantyne, Hansford, Herschell & Millwater, 1999), primarily focused on retaining qualified educators. More recently, the focus has been on gaining greater insights into the requisite knowledges that can be developed through pre-service teacher education in order to better prepare teachers for the realities of practice in rural and remote contexts across Australia (Reid, Green, White, Cooper, Lock & Hastings, 2008). However there is a dearth of research concerning the preparation of educators for rural and remote locations across global contexts and it is this aspect that this research project addresses in terms of developing broader transnational understandings.
Attracting and retaining teachers in rural and regional contexts remains an area of concern across Australiaas well as internationally. Various studies point to the fact that pre-service teachers are under-informed about rural and remote teaching (Halsey, 2005; McEwan, 1999; Shaplin, 2002; Yarrow, Ballantyne, Hansford, Herschell & Millwater, 1999). Indeed, it is clear that many preservice teachers rely on narrow, stereotypical images of teaching in rural contexts that are at best vague and dichotomous perspectives. For many these stereotypical images reflect an idyllic lifestyle while on the other hand, for others the imagery is vividly horrifying from both the professional and the social perspective. Therefore attracting teachers to rural and remote locations requires targeted intervention during pre-service teacher education to challenge these taken-for-granted grand narratives in order to create the possibility of practice in such locations as professionally and personally rewarding.
At a regional Australian university, in the Faculty of Education where the vision is to prepare global educators for contemporary learning contexts, many enrolled students reside overseas and therefore the notion of preparing graduates for rural and remote contexts extends beyond Australia’s shores. As such, the scope of this project includes preparing educators for rural and remote contexts globally, drawing on a rural social space conceptual framework (Reid, Green, White, Cooper, Lock & Hastings, 2008), used to understand what forms of knowledge are required to equip beginning teachers in preparing for teaching in such communities. The project reported in this paper focuses on sites in Australian contexts as well as rural and remote contexts in the following countries: South Africa, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Canada, Switzerland and New Zealand, thereby generating a global focus.
Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd ed.). London: Falmer Press. McEwan, P. J. (1999). Recruitment of rural teachers in developing countries: An economic analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15(8), 849-859. Noble, K. & Henderson, R. (2008). Engaging with Images and Stories: Using a Learning Circle Approach to Develop Agency of Beginning “At-risk” Preservice Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education Vol 33, 1. Yarrow, A., Ballantyne, R., Hansford, B., Herschell, P., & Millwater, J. (1999). Teaching in rural and remote schools: a literature review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15(1), 1-13. Halsey, J. (2005). Preservice country teaching in Australia: What’s happening – what needs to happen? A report on the size, scope and issues of pre-service country teaching placement programs in teacher education in Australia. Rural Education Forum (REFA), Flinders University. 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 at Australian Association for Research in Education, Brisbane.
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