The "voice" of rural, women teachers

Year: 1994

Author: Cocklin, Barry, Mitchell, Jane, Gurtner, Jenny

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

What are the connections that teachers make between their biographies and (1) the reasons why they became teachers; (2) their current perspectives on education and schooling; and (3) their classroom practice?

Drawing on the biographies of three women working in a rural school, this research explores the extent to which gender and rural location are dimensions that impact upon these women's careers, teaching knowledge and teaching practice. Through a series of in-depth interviews, this research considers the way in which these teachers construct and interpret their own careers and practices and how their lives as teachers both constitute and are constituted by the social and cultural context in which they are located. The different ages of the women in this study provide interesting points for comparison of their perspectives and practices.

Most research studies related to gender and teaching are conducted in urban environments. This study acknowledges the particularities of a rural location and background and the interaction between this and gender with respect to the values and perspectives held by the women in this study. Likewise there has been considerable research interest in the way in which children experience gender relations in the classroom and how their ways of knowing and thinking are gendered. In a similar way this research begins to locate some of the contextual details that are part of these teachers' histories, and considers the extent to which their subjectivities, social practices, knowledge and relationships, particularly with respect to teaching, are gendered.