Transitioning from university to teaching in schools located in rural and remote settings
This paper reports the findings of research which focused on fourth year pre-service teachers’ perceptions of the issue of their transition from pre-service university student to in-service teaching, specifically in rural and remote settings. The results of a survey which focused on students’ perceived levels of readiness and comfort when considering teaching in a rural or remote school as a first posting are presented. Background data were collected revealing that the majority of the pre-service teachers (n=39) identified their hometown as rural and/or as a small city within a 400 km radius from the regional University. Analysis of data indicated 32 of the participants wanted to teach in a rural school, two wanted to move closer to the coast and five were unsure. Leximancer text-mining software was employed to examine the responses to five questions including: how they would describe themselves as a teacher; what differences existed between rural and urban teaching; what their ideas were regarding what constituted good rural teaching; and what may be the difficulties in rural teaching. The last section of the results provides a profile of the number of preservice teachers (PSTs) intending to teach in rural settings. The findings confirmed previous research that suggested that many teachers in rural settings originate from small rural and remote communities. The concepts and themes emerging from the analysis of the open ended survey data are presented as the major findings. Implications of the research include recommendations that pre-service teacher education programs could be more responsive to student needs, resulting in greater preparation for teachers entering the teaching profession in rural and remote settings.
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