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Different places, different faces: Linking pre-service education with rural education

Project Title

Different Places, Different Faces: Linking Pre-Service Education with Rural Education

Project Coordinator

Dr Sandra Frid

Period

2006-2007

Funding Agency SiMERR WA

Background

Early mathematics, science, ICT, and literacy learning can be motivating, engaging, and rich in conceptual meanings and related skills if children's interests and local cultural and environmental contexts are used to focus curriculum planning that caters for diverse levels of achievement and diverse learning needs. In regional, rural and remote schools, context and student diversity are of particular importance because often the students are in mixed-year level classrooms and, depending on the location, they have limited direct experiences beyond their local geographical, social and cultural environments. These unique settings offer opportunities for locally-developed curricula that meet the learning needs of the local student cohort. At the same time they provide avenues by which pre-service teachers can learn about the professionally stimulating, rich, and rewarding opportunities available in regional, rural and remote schools.

Description

The main part of this project documented the development of early years/primary curricula in a remote goldfields school and a rural wheatbelt school. Specifically, it first examined teaching and that is developed from principles for multi-age learning environments, the integration of technology, different learning styles, and integration across curriculum learning areas. The theme-based, learner-focused approach used in the two distinct environments provided a wide array of examples of student learning activities in mathematics, science, ICT and literacy that captured the essence of student interests, learning styles, and contextual relevance. Examples included: curriculum development for young aboriginal students guided by a 'mathematics through movement' approach; a student chosen theme, The Man from Snowy River, serving as a focus for science investigations into energy, water and transport; a mathematics shape and measurement project using quilting and input from the local community 'quilters'; and student-written stories about local history and events. Examples were then shared with pre-service education students to broaden their awareness and knowledge about educational opportunities and experiences in rural and remote schools.

Benefits to Rural and Regional Education

This project shows that the many-faceted opportunities, challenges, and rewards inherent in teaching in rural schools can serve as catalysts for professional growth. In this way, teaching in regional, rural or remote locations, particularly for teachers in their initial years of employment, is not seen as 'survival'. Instead, it is an opportunity to develop personal and professional knowledge of aspects of Australia's unique and diverse communities, while at the same time developing professional capacities in curriculum development, teaching and assessment, classroom environments and management, and community partnerships can be harnessed to develop effective, efficient and rewarding learning and teaching practices.

Contact Dr Sandra Frid

 

 

 

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