Extending the knowledge base for (rural) teacher educators
AbstractThis paper, and its position within this special issue, seeks to contribute to the growing discussion and debates about the importance of adding the 'rural' to all matters 'education'. Advocating that indeed rurality is everybody's business, not just for those who live in rural places. The central argument of 'adding the rural' is that in its absence, 'a metro-urban normative approach' (Green, 2013) remains the dominant position thereby marginalising and silencing those who live beyond the city. In this paper I seek to contribute further to the debate and explore the notion of 'adding the rural' to teacher educators' knowledge base and their professional learning. I thus examine the 'good theoretical tools' (Corbett, 2016) that all teacher educators might need to equip themselves with, in order to be inclusive of rural students' needs. To think through this question I revisit and draw from the growing rural education literature and recent rural studies, identifying three emerging themes: Namely 'funds of knowledge' (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992); 'rural social space' (Reid, Green, Cooper, Hastings, Lock &White, 2010) and 'place consciousness' (Gruenwald, 2003). These three unfold as key theoretical tools, for all teacher educators to utilise. The themes offer a form of trialectical thinking for teacher educators, opening new spaces to explore the preparation of teachers. The triad is consistent with the notion of 'third or hybrid spaces' (Zeichner, 2010) which can move us away from unhelpful rural-urban binaries and towards a more activist, generative and transformative response for teacher education and the broader rural education research community to consider.
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