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Rural Education and Sustainability in a National Curriculum Philip Roberts, Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics. University of Canberra,

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Presentation on theme: "Rural Education and Sustainability in a National Curriculum Philip Roberts, Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics. University of Canberra,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rural Education and Sustainability in a National Curriculum Philip Roberts, Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics. University of Canberra, A.C.T, Australia

2 Conflicting values ‘I was bailed up on the main street, with people all around, and absolutely abused by a students father because of the greenie bullshit I was apparently teaching his son. He was absolutely wild, I thought he was going to punch me.’ Source: murray/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/ /young-men-burn-copies-of-the-guide-to-the- murray/

3 From ego-centric to eco-centric Paul Clarke (2012) up-foundation.org up-foundation.org New ways of thinking and knowing for innovative forms of action ‘there is little evidence of new concepts of sustainability in the Australian syllabus’ (Skamp, 2010, p.10) Sustainability education = genuine professional learning (Leonard 2013)

4 National Goals of Schooling: From Social Justice to Excellence & Equity Adelaide declaration 1.7 – have an understanding of, and concern for, stewardship of the natural environment, and the knowledge and skills to contribute to ecologically sustainable development Melbourne Declaration pg. 14 – In addition, a focus on environmental sustainability will be integrated across the curriculum

5 Sustainability in the AC Sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life. Sustainable patterns of living meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Actions to improve sustainability are both individual and collective endeavours shared across local and global communities. They necessitate a renewed and balanced approach to the way humans interact with each other and the environment. Education for sustainability develops the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living. It enables individuals and communities to reflect on ways of interpreting and engaging with the world. Sustainability education is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action. Actions that support more sustainable patterns of living require consideration of environmental, social, cultural and economic systems and their interdependence.

6 Somerville & Green (2013) ‘the most exciting and innovative sustainability education initiatives are emerging at the grassroots community level, but do not appear in the formal curriculum of school education’ p. 73. ‘They typically involve place and community-based experiential pedagogies shaped within and by the communities and places in which they arise’ p.74 ‘in the school system … relied on … the dedication of particular visionary teachers to contribute over and above their normal teaching work’ p.74 Storyline analysis: – Region-based spatial framework – Place-based focus – Philosophical foundations – Scarcity of funding and resources – Partnerships – Innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

7 Green & Reid (2004) Relationship between education and rural- regional sustainability. Education as situated practice. Teacher education as renewal, education as representation, and staffing ‘special forever’ project. Relationship between Quality Teaching & rural-regional sustainability. What is education for? What skills & understandings do teachers need?

8 Any warm body? Who staff’s these schools? What schooling do they imagine? What is their professional self-efficacy measured against? staffing rural schools involves four components: – the economic, that is making rural teaching economically attractive; – the social, offsetting or compensating for social isolation; professionalism, – that rural teaching is a distinctive professional- teaching activity; – and rural difference, recognition that the rural is a distinct educational context (Roberts, 2005).

9 RRRTECRRRTEC.net.au Need to prepare rural and regional teachers to be: – community ready, – school ready, and – classroom ready. The development of a conceptual framework design that emphasised the importance of understanding place. five themes were identified and formed the basis of a set of curriculum modules – Experiencing rurality – Community Readiness – Whole school focus – Student learning and the classroom – Professional experience and advice for working in rural/regional settings

10 ‘the way we imagine space has effects…’ –Massey 2005:4 ‘space is fundamental in any form of communal life; space is fundamental in any exercise of power’ –Foucault 1984:252

11 The truth is that centralization is the best form of educational rule for a young country with a vast hinterland. It ensures that the children of the rural pioneer receive as good an education as the children of the banker or artisan in the city. –Browne 1927:xvii-xviii The truth is that centralization is the best form of educational rule for a young country with a vast hinterland. It ensures that the children of the rural pioneer receive as good an education as the children of the banker or artisan in the city. –Browne 1927:xvii-xviii John Glover. Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point oil on canvas

12 Conceptualizing rurality 3 theoretical frames – Functional (land use & life linked to land) – Political-economic (social production) – Social (culture & values) Cloke 2006 Three-fold model of (rural) space – Rural locality – Formal representations of the rural – Everyday lives of the rural Halfacree 2006 Generative Theory of Rurality – Rurality as context – Forces (Space, place & time) – Agencies (Movement, systems, will) – Resources (Situated, material & Psychosocial) Balfour, Mitchell & Molestone 2008

13 The multiplicity of rural places and perceptions of the rural remind us of the forces that have become otherwise invisible and that inevitably place matters. –Reid, Green et al 2010

14 Howley & Howley rural community types – Durable-Agrarian – Resource extraction – Suburbanizing Each has particular equity challenges and opportunities

15 Place ‘place is space filled up by people, practices, objects and representations’ – Gieryn (2000) P.465 ‘The point of becoming more conscious of places in education is to extend our notions of pedagogy and accountability outward toward places. Thus extended, pedagogy becomes more relevant to the lived experience of students and teachers, and accountability is reconceptualised so that places matter to educators, students, and citizens in tangible ways. Place- conscious education, therefore, aims to work against the isolation of schooling’s discourses and practices from the living world outside the increasingly placeless institution of schooling.’ - Gruenwald (2003) p. 621 ‘Bourdieu viewed individual lives as taking place within social and physical spaces that are connected to cultural and symbolic capital’ - Reed-Danahay (2005) P.132

16 Curriculum & Pedagogy Placelessness Performativity and place Assumptions of (rural) (in)equity Relationship between Curriculum & Pedagogy Cosmopolitanism & erasure A place conscious curriculum

17 A cosmopolitan nation ‘the cosmopolitan child is not born but made, and that schooling is the central site of this production’ (Popkewitz, 2008 p.3). Metro-centric, cosmopolitan values (Popkewitz 2008, Corbett 2010) Curriculum as policy (Rizvi & Lingard 2010, Luke et al 2013) Policy dominated by human capital ideas Neoliberal social imaginery – Standardisation, regulation, accountability & choice – Placeless

18 Curriculum ‘relevance’ or ‘acceptability’ Commonwealth Schools Commission, 1987; McKenzie, Harrold & Sturman, 1996; HREOC, 2000 Country Areas Program Learning to leave (Corbett 2007) AC – Year by Year – Local history to high stakes – No local studies – Choice of texts Local studies were: ‘unnecessary in an essential learning curriculum and will free up time for the essentials’ (ACARA, 2010, p.157).

19 ‘What we know, we may choose to care for. What we fail to recognize, we certainly won’t’ –Pyle, 2001, p.18. ‘Curriculum that does not challenge the standard syllabus and conditions in society informs studnets that knowledge and the world are fixed and are fine the way they are, with no role for students to play in transforming them and no need to change. – Shor 1992, P. 12.

20 Somerville, M., Plunkett, M., & Dyson, M. (2010). New teachers learning in rural and regional Australia. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 38(1), – In-depth interviews with 15 beginning primary teachers in Vic (and some survey data) – Place a central concept. – To explore how teachers learn about place and community. – New teachers knew their new ‘place’ and therefore took community for granted. – Teachers primary understanding of place was their classroom. – Classrooms as places that are produced. Somerville, M. & Rennie, J. (2012). Mobilising community? Place, identity formation and new teachers’ learning, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 33(2), – In-depth interviews with 35 new primary teachers over 3 years. – Place again a main theme and same aim. – Funds of knowledge ideas. – School and community taken for granted or separated. The ‘self’ or the ‘other’ – Attitudes to community became more fixed over time

21 Two ways of Being Place-conscious (Rural) schools are different Locate their practice in place Situated curriculum Curriculum as pedagogy Quality related to place Positive language Optimistic language Positive about profession Placeless All schools are the same Practice reflects imagined cosmopolitan norms. Bureaucratic approach Separating curriculum & pedagogy Quality is placeless Negative language Limited opportunity Negative about profession

22 NST8 ‘of course we’re totally isolated here, pretty much all inexperienced and it’s hard to get teachers … and the kids face lots of challenges, there are big literacy issues and getting to school for a whole week is pretty tough for most of them’ ‘we can’t change that, we’ve just got to work with it’ ‘they’re [sic] really got into that, it was so good to see and work they produced was fantastic, well beyond what I hoped when I started’

23 A Curriculum Hierarchy, with stratified access

24 Our views of equity don’t fully account for what’s happening. Identified equity categories used by the NSW DEC There is no overwhelming pattern to this distribution by equity category

25 Spatially differentiated access & Achievement Weighted subject enrolments by ASGS (remoteness) and achievement bands. NSW HSC English.

26 Some options are removed Distance education reinforces knowledge and views of elsewhere The little grey dots are secondary departments where students didn’t access Advanced English in 2012

27 Towards Place-based Education Roberts, Caffery, Spriggs (UC) Green & Rafferty (CSU) & MDBA. Some questions: – How is sustainability understood by different communities? – What are communities doing in relation to sustainability? – How is sustainability positioned in the curriculum & how does this relate to community views? – How is place knowledge incorporated in the curriculum? Method – Mapping as Method – Spatial analysis of views – Collaborative Action Research as Curriculum

28 When we separate curriculum & pedagogy we separate people from places. Sustainability connects people to places, for our collective futures


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