Exploring Place and Practicing Justice : Preparing Pre - Service Teachers for Success in Rural Schools

Abstract

this investigation. All correspondence should be directed to Amy Price Azano, School of Education, 303 War Memorial Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061 (azano@vt.edu). The Journal of Research in Rural Education is published by the Center on Rural Education and Communities, College of Education, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. ISSN 1551-0670 rural students (Jimerson, 2005). Recruiting and retaining highly qualifi ed teachers also remains a challenge for rural schools, due in part to the lack of community amenities, geographic and professional isolation, lower salaries, and higher poverty rates (Miller, 2012). Finding strategies to mitigate these challenges, such as student loan forgiveness and housing (Lowe, 2006), has proven to be complicated, especially when rural communities typically lack amenities that are more readily available in less remote or more affl uent places (e.g., community services or recreation facilities). While community closeness, small rural class sizes, and other attributes of rural communities are often noted as advantages for working in a rural school, realities of rural life can serve as barriers for recruiting highly qualifi ed teachers (Barley & Brigham, 2008; Monk, 2007). Regardless, these efforts to recruit teachers rarely address preparing novice teachers for success in rural classrooms. Efforts to recruit teachers to work in rural schools are futile if those teachers are not adequately prepared to provide instruction that meets the needs of the students. Staffi ng classrooms with ill-prepared teachers is detrimental to students and novice teachers. Moreover, these teachers will have to be replaced, exacerbating the problem of staffi ng schools by creating a revolving door at the head of the classroom. Barley and Brigham (2008) cite fi ve key strategies for preparing teachers for success in rural schools, but only one of these strategies, multiple-subject certifi cation, directly relates to efforts that can be addressed by a teacher preparation program. The remaining strategies, such as access to teacher preparation programs, are aimed Rural education advocates have argued for decades that rural students represent a forgotten minority (Pankratz, 1975), and that preparing teachers to meet the needs of rural learners marginalized by poverty and geographic isolation takes differentiated, specialized training (Robinson, 1954). The 1944 White House Charter of Education for Rural Children (Dawson & Hubbard, 1944) represents a government tome of rural statistics, recommendations, and program ideas, in which Eleanor Roosevelt points out the obvious disparities between rural and “modern” schools. The charter proclaims that every rural child deserves teachers “who are educated to deal effectively with the problems peculiar to rural schools” (p. 30). Some seventy years later, however, these timeworn frustrations and examples of continued inequities and injustices illustrated by contemporary rural education researchers persist (e.g., Azano, 2011; Abel & Sewell, 1999; Budge, 2006; Burton & Johnson, 2010; Mathis, 2003), such as the continued lag of college completion between rural and nonrural students (Gibbs, 1998; Provasnik et al., 2007) or the ways in which educational policy discriminates against This article examines efforts made by a teacher preparation program to provide pre-service teachers with an introduction to the rural context, strategies for place-based pedagogy, and a fi eld experience in rural schools. The study explores the infl uence of these efforts, along with how students’ sense of place and educational upbringing, might be related to pre-service teachers’ perceptions of preparedness for teaching in a rural school. The struggle to recruit and retain highly qualifi ed teachers in rural schools is ubiquitous in the literature on rural education, but there is limited research on preparing preservice teachers for rural schools. We draw on critical and sociocultural theories to understand the experiences of four teacher candidates as they negotiate their personal histories, expectations, and experiences in rural teaching contexts. While exposure to rural life has been credited with increasing the likelihood for teaching in rural schools, we suggest that exposure is only one aspect of preparing successful rural teachers. Citation: Azano, A. P., & Stewart, T. T. (2015). Journal of Research in Rural Education, 30(9), 1-12. Amy Price Azano Trevor Thomas Stewart Virginia Tech Journal of Research in Rural Education, 2015, 30(9)

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@inproceedings{Justice2015ExploringPA, title={Exploring Place and Practicing Justice : Preparing Pre - Service Teachers for Success in Rural Schools}, author={P D Justice}, year={2015} }