Other Resources

Reports

Rural and Remote Education Inquiry Australian Flag

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission report into

Rural and Remote School Education. Final Report Australian Flag

"The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has been conducting Bush Talks since March 1998. This has involved consulting with people in regional, rural and remote Australia about human rights issues. In the talks education has consistently emerged as a major concern for people living in these areas. In response to this concern, the Federal Human Rights Commissioner, Chris Sidoti, is conducting A National Inquiry into Rural and Remote School Education. The Inquiry is examining education from national and human rights perspectives."

"Education Access" National Inquiry into Rural and Regional Education Australian Flag

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, August 2000.

"This report was launched in Griffith on 3 August 2000 by Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti. 'Education Access' recommends ways of improving access to education for school children in rural and remote areas. It is the last of four reports from the National Inquiry."

Rural and Isolated School Students and their Higher Education Choices A re-examination of student location, socioeconomic background, and educational advantage and disadvantage  Australian Flag

"In the 1991 census, 24.3 per cent of Australians were identified as having a rural background. A further 4.5 per cent were identified as coming from isolated areas. Put together, this accounted for 29.8 percent of the Australian population.

In our universities, however, the statistical picture was somewhat skewed from this norm. In 1997, 17.4 per cent of students were identified as having a rural background, and a further 1.8 percent as coming from isolated areas. The combined proportion, 19.2 per cent, reflected a rural and isolated proportional share of the student population that has stayed relatively stable through the 1990s.

A higher education participation rate of barely 19 per cent versus a national population share of nearly 30 per cent should concern all those with an interest in the future development of the intellectual assets and potential of all Australians , regardless of where they live.

That the disproportion is so great despite the development in recent years of a national network of “regional” universities is also noteworthy."

Bush Talks Australian Flag

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

"In March 1998 the Commission began Bush Talks consultations which were endorsed by Mrs Margaret Smith, National President of the Country Women's Association, Mr Gatjil Djerrkura, then Chair of ATSIC, Mr David Dunn, then National President of Australian Rural Youth and Dr Wendy Craik, Executive Director of the National Farmers' Federation.

Launching Bush Talks in Tamworth NSW then House of Representatives Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ian Sinclair said

" Over the past ten years, life for many in the bush has been difficult. On farms, outback properties and in country towns, many are isolated by age, circumstances and distance while community services, family and neighbours are limited. For country Australians, there is a deep-seated feeling of disadvantage against the opportunities available in the cities. I welcome the initiative of the Commission to identify human rights abuses affecting people in rural Australia."

National Framework for Rural and Remote Education (MCEETYA) Australian Flag

"The purpose of the National Framework for Rural and Remote Education is to:

  • provide a framework for the development of nationally agreed policies and support services
  • promote conistency in the development of high quality education service to regional and remote students and their families
  • provide reference points and guidance for non-government pproviders of services abd support for education in rural and remote areas
  • facilitate partnership building between government and non-government providers of services and support related to the provision of education in regional, rural and remote locations"

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Literature Reviews

The Rural School Problem in 1999: A Review and Critique of the Literature (JRRE 1999, Vol. 15, No. 2)

"This article reviews key literature on rural education published in the last 25 years. We provide an overview of the characteristics and conditions of rural schools, followed by a discussion of the current “rural school problem” and how it developed. We then share various authors’ notions of what appropriate rural school improvement projects should (or do) look like. We conclude with a discussion of the key issues, and recommendations for future directions in the field of rural education."

An Annotated and Select Biography on Rural and Remote Education in Australia Australian Flag

Rural and Remote Education Inquiry

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Journals

Journal of Research in Rural Education (JRRE)

"The Journal of Research in Rural Education is a peer-reviewed, open access e-journal publishing original pieces of scholarly research of demonstrable relevance to educational issues within rural settings. JRRE was established in 1982 by the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development. In 2008, JRRE moved to the Center on Rural Education and Communities, located within Penn State University's College of Education, and is edited by Kai A. Schafft with associate editors Jacqueline Edmondson and Thomas Farmer."

This journal has recently become an online journal. A catalogue of back issues is able to be freely accessed online.

Of particular interest is Vol. 18 No. 3, Winter 2003. This special edition focuses on Rural and Regional education in Australia. All articles from this edition are able to be downloaded directly from the JRRE website.

"The editors (Geoff Danaher, Beverley Moriarty, and Patrick Alan Danaher) of this special issue have chosen to draw attention to the rural/urban dualism and to provide a critique of its consequences in terms of our conceptualization of societies in general and of education in particular. They argue that this dualism is, in effect, a modernist/essentialist distinction. It is also seen that such binaries are flawed in practice: it is easy to say what is urban and what is rural, but a lot of geography and humanity exists in between and beyond. (Just where does the outback start in Australia?). This flawed binary between urban and rural also positions the rural as the negative (poor, unsophisticated, undeveloped) corollary of the urban (rich, sophisticated, developed). For me, there are echoes here of the equally problematic binary of developed/developing nations (Evans, 2003)."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Teachers

Attracting and Retaining Teachers in Rural Areas (US) ERIC Digest

"The American Association of School Administrators (1999) has observed that the main problem of rural school districts is attracting and keeping quality teachers. The rural teacher shortage affects all subject areas but particularly math, science, and special education. This Digest examines the problem from a legislative and policy perspective. It suggests strategies to address the problem, noting sample programs from several states."

Teacher Collegiality in a Remote Australian School (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3) Australian Flag

"Teachers’ lives and teachers’ work remain important areas of educational research today, particularly given the influence of school-based management and the significance of shared leadership in schools. Almost nowhere do the two research fields intersect more closely than in the remote school setting, where teacher turnover is high and the recruitment of experienced teachers is difficult. This article investigates the realities of teachers living and working together in a small school located in a remote, northern Australian, Aboriginal community. It highlights environmental conditions that can be challenging for teachers, both new and recent graduates and those with experience. The research draws attention to collegial community building in a geographically remote location, particularly the development of material and emotional support systems, as a means of managing some of these challenges."

Transient Teachers: Mixed Messages of Schooling in Regional Australia (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3)Australian Flag

"This article explores the transience and mobility of teachers working in an isolated community: a secondary school in regional Australia. Drawing on parent, student, and teacher interviews, we ask: how should we understand these teacher commitments to schooling and how does this influence parents’ and students’ commitments and understandings of the “outside” value of their community? Responses to these questions are theorized utilizing the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu. Drawing on this work we argue that, even though teachers in this context are the bearers of highly prized capitals, they act more as gatekeepers than as their distributors and/or challengers. While we conclude that teachers may need to address their mobility and the messages this conveys in order to make a difference in such schools and communities, we also acknowledge that there are complexities related to staff residing in the community given its treatment of outsiders."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Children/young people

Roads less travelled: New pathways for 'at risk' young people in rural and regional TAFEs Australian Flag

"The project has been undertaken following the re-arrangements of post-compulsory education and training undertaken in Victoria as a result of the recent Ministerial Review (Kirby 2000). The recommendations of the Kirby Review focused on integrating educational sectors as well as integrating education and industry sectors; providing educational options for all students; and enhancing the provision of pathways support for students. The project examines initiatives in TAFE institutes in regional Victoria that aim to enhance access, participation and outcomes for young people who are most 'at risk' of labour market and educational disadvantage. It draws on the experience of Victoria’s nine regional TAFE institutes to identify key factors in supporting good practice and program development for disadvantaged young people, and identifies systemic frameworks that increase the capacity of TAFE to respond to the needs of young peopartnerships and networks, and state-wide policy and program initiatives."

Getting Kids Ready for School in Rural America

Children are born curious, ready to grow, ready to learn, and ready to express their needs and feelings (Miller, 1992). They are born hungry not only for food but also for interaction. It is through interactions with others and with the environment that children learn the language, habits, and expectations of those around them... Unfortunately, not all children have equal opportunities to be born healthy, to explore what is around them, to express themselves to caring adults, and to receive appropriate nutrition and health care ... People in rural areas, where scarcity of local resources and greater geographic distance between people and services are most common, face perhaps the greatest challenge in addressing these issues. Fortunately, many rural people are used to calling on one another for help and information, seeing service providers fill multiple roles, and sharing limited resources. Collaboration within and among rural communities is an important strategy for helping children succeed.

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Technology

Does Geography Shape the Nature of an Educational Innovation? (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3) Australian Flag

"This article examines some of the social, technical, and economic issues encountered in the implementation of an educational technology at an Australian regional university. Reference is made to the implementation of the videoconferencing network at Central Queensland University (CQU). In late 1996 when the implementation process was completed the videoconferencing network was unique in universities within Australia. The article, which is based on current doctoral research, explores the reasons for the development of this videoconferencing network and its effect on academic teaching in the videoconferencing environment. The implications of this study for understanding geographical influence on educational innovations are also considered. The geographical isolation of the campuses at CQU helped to shape a unique teaching model using the interactive videoconferencing network."

A Digital Divide in Rural and Regional Australia? Australian Flag

"In the last four years, Australians have increasingly taken up use of the Internet, to the point where they are one of the highest user populations in the world, third after Sweden and the United States.

Research in both Australia and the United States suggests that inequalities exist in Internet access according to income, education and age. In the United States, race and ethnicity also have an impact on Internet access (similar research on these factors has yet to be undertaken in Australia).

Living in rural or regional areas of Australia does not in itself determine Internet access, but there remains a regional dimension to the digital divide."

Distance Education in Rural Public Schools

"With technology becoming more and more user friendly, educators have been using computers, IETV, and the Internet to teach students in new and interesting ways. Rural schools benefit from distance education in the fact that it allows those schools to give students the same opportunities as larger, more urban schools. Students were allowed to participate in more complex and diverse subjects. In some instances, those subjects were taught from other public schools or from regional universities. Drawbacks such as technical difficulties and fear of technology by educators and community members hindered the widespread use of distance education. The hypothesis that there was an improvement in academic achievement for rural school students who learned through distance education was accepted."

Impact of the Internet on Learning and Teaching

"There have been many technological dawns in the last 30 years, during which the desktop computer and the Internet have been developed; but there have been similar dawns throughout the 20th Century - film, radio, records, broadcast television, audiotape, videotape, programmed learning machines, etc. Each time enthusiasts have announced the transformation or even the end of the school/college/university. In fact, the impact on the bulk of teaching and learning has been minimal. Developments in paper/printing technologies have had far more influence, with the consequence that face-to-face discussion and paper resources still dominate public education. Audio-visual media have been treated more as an icing-on-the-cake than as something at the very heart of learning -- and likewise their long-suffering support services (though the new media, particularly video, have fared somewhat better in the development of corporate training programs). In fact, there is debate in the instructional design literature about whether there are any unique attributes of media that can promote improved learning [see, e.g., Kozma, R. B. (1994)]. Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate, Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19]."

Web-based Learning Design: Planning for Diversity

"The increasingly prevalence of distance learning in the work and learning place requires attention to assumptions about Web-based learning environments and how they support a variety of learners. Fluent technological skills do not insure success in online learning. This paper examines issues of culture and learning orientation as they may relate to approaches to design."

Site Facilitation of Distance Education via Compressed Video in Rural Schools: A Case Study

"Distance education delivered via broadband networks and sophisticated electronic technologies is one innovation often recommended for helping rural schools and their communities provide students with curricula and educational opportunities necessary for success in a global economy. This case study explored how eight rural Virginia school systems with little prior experience involving these technologies implemented a regional telecommunications network (SVCC-TN, part of Net.Work.Virginia)."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Mathematics Education

Mathematics Achievement in Rural Schools. ERIC Digest

"Rural communities need an infrastructure of good mathematics knowledge, according to some observers. Moses and Cobb (2001), in particular, argue that mathematical knowledge will, in the new century, figure as a path to political and cultural power, much as the capacity to read and write served in the 19th and 20th centuries.

What is the baseline of mathematical knowledge among students in the rural United States? Poverty in nonmetropolitan areas exceeds that in metropolitan areas (Jolliffe, 2002), and, for this reason, one might reasonably suspect that mathematics achievement in rural schools is depressed as compared to the national average. Is this really the case? This Digest assesses the best evidence available and concludes with recommendations for further action, based in part on conclusions reached by a national effort to develop new research about mathematics education in rural places."

Interdisciplinary Research for Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Rural Schools: Considerations for Creating a Mathematics and Vocational Education Research Agenda

As a former executive assistant to a state superintendent of schools and a vice-chair of a state rural development council, I found few sIn fact, discipline-oriented “turf” issues consumed enormous amounts of energy when seeking to build partnerships that could best serve rural schools and their communities.

For example, historically vocational education has been important to preparing citizens in rural areas for a lifetime of work in predominantly blue-collar occupations. Academics were usually associated with those few students in public schools that anticipated a career in some profession, usually outside the rural community. Today, however, rural communities are becoming less dependent on natural resource-based economies. Preparing for life’s work requires higher levels of achievement in core academic skills such as mathematics, especially if students desire preparation for technician-level (previously “vocational”) skills.

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Science Education

Science Education Reform in Rural America: A Snapshot

"Since the early 1990s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has directed increased resources toward improving mathematics, science, and technology education in public schools across the country. Initially, NSF grant activity focused on systemic change and targeted programs in states with the Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI) and large urban school districts with the Urban Systemic Initiative (USI) program. Then in 1994, NSF turned its attention to rural school districts and established the Rural Systemic Initiatives (RSI). As program leaders established and developed their RSIs, they set the stage for emerging questions about reform strategies used in the earlier SSI and USI programs and the extent to which those strategies were adaptable to the rural setting. The evolving RSIs, while benefiting from the developing body of knowledge about reform, also identified where strategies successful in other settings fell short as a result of the rural environment and its unique characteristics."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Special Education

Supervision of Special Education Instruction in Rural Public School Districts: A Grounded Theory

"The grounded theory presented in this study describes how the supervision of special education instruction occurs in public elementary schools in rural settings. Grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was employed in this study. Nine elementary schools in three rural districts in the state of Virginia participated in the study. Interview data were collected from 34 participants, including special and general education teachers, principals, and directors of special education. Observations were made in the schools and documents pertaining to the supervision process were collected"

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Vocational Education

Vocational Education and Training in Rural Schools: Education for the Community Australian Flag

"Rural high schools have expanded their programs in recent years to include vocational education and training (VET) courses (Chiswell et al forthcoming). While VET in schools programs were established primarily to address the needs of Year 11 and 12 students, there has been an unexpected interest and participation by adults in these programs in Tasmanian rural schools. This suggests that the schools are filling a previously unmet need in small rural communities"

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Higher Education

Future Directions: A Model for Educational Partnerships in Australia (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3) Australian Flag

"Educators are typically people who have much to offer their profession as well as the communities in which they work. This article analyzes the strategies used to develop a university postgraduate education program that involved input from stakeholders representing different educational systems in regional and rural Australia. The results indicate that professional goals can be achieved when people from regional or rural schooling systems and universities form strategic partnerships. The findings support the recommendation that empirically tested models of collaboration be used to guide the joint efforts of partners from different organizations. It is also recommended that partners formally evaluate their processes in order to contribute theoretically to existing models of collaboration and to other approaches less extensively researched. While this approach is likely to benefit people living in regional and rural parts of Australia, it could also be applied beyond the regional Australian context."

Rural and Isolated School Students and their Higher Education Choices A re-examination of student location, socioeconomic background, and educational advantage and disadvantage Australian Flag

"In the 1991 census, 24.3 per cent of Australians were identified as having a rural background. A further 4.5 per cent were identified as coming from isolated areas. Put together, this accounted for 29.8 percent of the Australian population.

In our universities, however, the statistical picture was somewhat skewed from this norm. In 1997, 17.4 per cent of students were identified as having a rural background, and a further 1.8 percent as coming from isolated areas. The combined proportion, 19.2 per cent, reflected a rural and isolated proportional share of the student population that has stayed relatively stable through the 1990s."

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Planning/Policy

Planning Schools for Rural Communities

"As the condition of America’s public school buildings gains national and state attention, education planners and policy makers have an opportunity to confront a growing problem—using old, dilapidated and technology-poor facilities to provide a world class education that prepares students to compete in our increasingly global society. Rural educators, especially, want to see the interest in bricks and mortar result in schools that serve rural communities well in the 21st century. To do this, new facility and local school improvement agendas need to be aligned with issues critical for sustaining the integral relationship between the school and its community."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Research

Situating and Interrogating Contemporary Australian Rural Education Research (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3) Australian Flag

"his opening article in this special issue about Australian rural education research develops three key points. First, the Australian literature reflects the complexities of defining the terms regional, rural, and remote, with many definitions deriving from a fixed and disabling urban-rural binary. That literature also contains a number of success stories of educational innovations in rural Australia. Second, the conceptual and methodological resources underpinning the Australian literature need to be interrogated to ensure that they avoid deficit constructions of rural Australia in favor of more productive understandings that recognize and value rural educational innovations. Third, the articles in this collection provide points of potential dialogue between American and Australia rural education researchers committed to mapping and celebrating diversity and innovation."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Disadvantages

Australian rural students face severe disadvantage Australian Flag

"It is almost two years since the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission released a report into education in rural and remote Australia, concluding that country children suffered “substantial disadvantage” that amounted to “discrimination”. Yet virtually nothing has improved. Recently, the study’s author, former Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti, told the World Socialist Web Site he was “greatly disappointed” that “not much” had changed."

A Digital Divide in Rural and Regional Australia? Australian Flag

"In the last four years, Australians have increasingly taken up use of the Internet, to the point where they are one of the highest user populations in the world, third after Sweden and the United States.

Research in both Australia and the United States suggests that inequalities exist in Internet access according to income, education and age. In the United States, race and ethnicity also have an impact on Internet access (similar research on these factors has yet to be undertaken in Australia).

Living in rural or regional areas of Australia does not in itself determine Internet access, but there remains a regional dimension to the digital divide."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Organisations

About Research and Learning in Regional Australia

"Research and Learning in Regional Australia (formerly the Centre for Research and Learning in Regional Australia, or CRLRA) was established in January 1997, and is situated within the University of Tasmania. As our name suggests, Research and Learning in Regional Australia conducts research into the process and outcomes of learning in regional communities throughout Australia, including the social and economic implications of change for learners, trainers, industries, businesses, funding bodies, policy makers and local communities."

 

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top

Other

Space Invaders and Pedagogical Innovators: Regional Educational Understandings from Australian Occupational Travelers (JRRE, 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3) Australian Flag

"Australian occupational Travelers such as circus and fairground people often enter territories normally occupied by permanent residents. This article examines the ways in which these Travelers act as “space invaders,” disrupting the boundaries between urban and rural, and as pedagogical innovators, when they develop pioneering approaches to their education. The findings indicate the efficacy of the concepts of multidimensionality, fluidity, and instability in analyzing and understanding the dynamics that occur between the occupational Travelers and permanent residents. The findings also demonstrate possibilities for educational provision that have been achieved for the children of one group of Australian occupational Travelers."

Innovative Approaches in Rural Education

"Rural areas of the United States are uniquely characterized yet each one is affected in some measure by our country's continued economic and demographic restructuring. As telecommunications advance at a rapid pace, our rural public school systems must take advantage of new and exciting teaching methodologies and tools which are used as supplements to teacher supply, fostering motivation, and curriculum development. Several of these current techniques include distance learning, experiential education, and computer networking. These "links" with outside resources hold the key to a student's academic success and future livelihood."

Click here to go to the top of the page.Top