Bush Tracks: Journeys in the development of rural pedagogies

Year: 2005

Author: McConaghy, Cathryn, Hardy, Joy, Lloyd, Lynley, Jenkins, Kathy, Noone, Genevieve

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The academic and social achievements of students in rural schools are very uneven and often absenteeism and suspension rates are high. Factors such as globalisation, economic restructuring, unemployment, youth suicide and family trauma, drought and environmental change (see Bourke & Lockie 2001) also impact on rural schooling and add further challenges to good teaching and learning in rural schools. As complex processes involving cognitive, contextual and affective understandings, rural pedagogies need to be situated within rural contexts (McConaghy & Burnett 2002). How do rural teachers respond to the challenges in rural communities and schools that make quality learning for all students a difficult task? What pedagogies do beginning rural teachers use, why and with what effects? What images do beginning teachers have of 'the good teacher' and 'the good student' in rural schools and what are the obstacles to becoming these? What professional learning communities are available to beginning teachers in rural schools, and how effective are they in supporting beginning teachers to work through their identity issues and pedagogical challenges? Our case study and survey data provides valuable information about the lived experiences of rural teachers in relation to their journeys in pedagogy for teacher professional learning programs.