Reviewing The Rural Lens in Education Policy and Practice


  • Andrew Wallace Charles Sturt University
  • Colin Boylan Charles Sturt University



It is interesting to reflect upon past conversations and to explore their implications for current practice. That is the point of the current paper, which looks back at our progress towards adopting a rural lens to drive policy - to develop initiatives for rural education based upon rural needs, rather than apparent metro-centric political decision making and policy development.

In the recent keynote address Wallace and Boylan (2007) argued for a re-evaluation of the ways in which we, as educators, engage with conversations around rural education. Central to that discussion was a simple metaphor, that of a rural lens (Corbett & Mulcahy, 2006). The rural lens is a way of reconceptualising or rethinking our current practices. It is a way that allows us to ask hard educational questions that refocus the attention of decision makers specifically on rural education policy and practice. It came from a concern that so much of our policy making and practice is reactive, coming from a city-based often deficit view of the rural landscape. In such a regime rural educators and communities do themselves a great dis-service, and end up with strategies that do not reflect the unique conditions of rural areas. In short, the keynote paper called for a re-examination of our thinking from a rural perspective, rather than from the typical metro-centric or bureaucratic perspective. It did this by documenting the nature of change within rural communities, and the changing nature of rural economics and sociologies within emerging national and global environmental and socio-economic parameters (Wallace & Boylan, 2007). It developed around many of the deficit models that seem to pervade current rural education policy making, with roots extending way back to the thinking of Turney, Sinclair & Cairns (1980) in the late 1970‘s.




How to Cite

Wallace, A., & Boylan, C. (2009). Reviewing The Rural Lens in Education Policy and Practice. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 19(2), 23–30.

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