Sustainable futures for rural education: Changing preservice teachers’ attitudes for teaching in rural schools
Interim Citation: Oringinally supplied with 'In Press' paper. Published paper deposited and replaced on this record.
Australia continues to face teaching shortages in rural schools. Indeed, preservice teachers may be reluctant to apply for rural teaching positions, particularly as most have had no rural teaching experiences. What may motivate non-rural preservice teachers to seek employment in rural schools? This study investigates 17 preservice teachers’ first experiences of teaching and living in rural areas. These second and third-year preservice teachers were involved in a five-day rural experience, which included interacting with local communities, living with host families, observing teaching practices, and teaching rural middle-school students. These self-nominated preservice teachers were placed in a variety of rural schools centred around a feeder high school. This qualitative study used a narrative inquiry to explain participants’ experiences. Data from written transcripts before their rural placements and reflections on their teaching and rural experiences indicated very significant attitudinal changes for teaching in rural areas and dispelled misconceptions about rural living and teaching. Non-rural universities can contribute towards motivating their preservice teachers to seek employment in rural areas. Providing these preservice teachers with a rural experience can create attitudinal changes for teaching and living in rural areas.