Thinking About First Year Retention in Teacher Education

Three Students in a Regional University and their Metaphors of Survival


  • Robyn Henderson University of Southern Queensland
  • Karen Noble University of Southern Queensland



first year retention, teacher education, regional universities, social support, learning circle


In Australian faculties of education, retention and progression issues are paramount within the current neo-liberal climate which emphasises student degree completions. This is particularly the case in regional universities, where many students – often the first in their families to attend university – are from rural, regional and low socio-economic communities. This paper draws on data generated during a project that provided support for first year teacher education students in a regional university. Using critical discourse analysis, it describes and analyses the metaphors used by a small group of pre-service teachers as they talked in interviews about their transition into university and the strategies they used to “survive” their first attempts at study in a tertiary institution. The metaphors provide insights into the pre-service teachers’ perceived need for social support alongside traditionally-offered academic support. The data suggest that a rethinking of support offerings might be necessary to ensure that teacher education caters for pre-service teachers who feel dislocated from their home and community roots.




How to Cite

Henderson, R., & Noble, K. (2013). Thinking About First Year Retention in Teacher Education: Three Students in a Regional University and their Metaphors of Survival. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 23(2), 65–76.

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