Influencing Pre-service Teachers' Intentions to Teach in Rural Locations
Keywords:Remote and rural education, sustainability, vocational identity, targeted intervention, preservice preparation
Education is seen as a vehicle for supporting sustainability in rural and regional contexts, but attracting and retaining teachers in rural and regional contexts remains an area of concern across Australia as well as internationally. Therefore attracting teachers to rural and remote locations requires targeted intervention during pre-service teacher education. Ninety-nine students enrolled in a Bachelor of Education program offered by the University of Queensland participated in this study. A mixed method approach was used to capture the ways in which the sample of pre-service teachers understood their experiences of 'being, knowing and doing' (Gee, 1996) teaching in rural and remote contexts. The outcomes of this study provide insights into the effectiveness of initial exposure to a targeted online intervention, in terms of challenging pre-existing perceptions of practice in such contexts and the possibilities of accepting a rural and remote teaching position upon graduation. Graduates entering the workforce can find themselves working in contexts of which they have limited experience. As such, preparatory university programs of study need to reflect these changes and ensure that degree programs that are offered do indeed meet the ever-changing needs of the students that enrol, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to create a stable vocational identity and to understand the opportunities and challenges that choosing to practice in rural and remote contexts affords.
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