The " Journey to Becoming" Pre - Service T eachers' Experiences and Understandings of Rural School Practicum in a South African Context

Tabitha Grace Mukeredzi
2016 Global Education Review  
That rural schools suffer from issues of "hard to staff" and "harder to stay" has been well documented in extant literature. However, the literature seems to indicate inadequate teacher preparation for work in rural schools. Literature also demonstrates that teaching in rural settings ostensibly requires relevant knowledge and, skills to cope with various eventualities, and complexities in those contexts. One way to cope with these complexities is for teacher education programmes to adequately
more » ... repare pre-service teachers for work in rural environments. This paper reports the experiences and understandings of 15 Bachelor of Education student teachers who took part in a four-week residential teaching practice whilst living alongside the community in a rural South African setting. The researcher sought to understand their experiences and conceptions of rural school teaching during their professional "journeys to becoming" professionals through this form of residential practicum in a rural setting. The pre-service teachers' daily reflective journals and audio-taped collaborative reflection sessions constitute the data of evolving constructions of the value of this rural residential practicum towards their understanding of rurality, rural teaching and rural life as they develop as teachers. The paper illustrates that exposure to rurality in teacher preparation promotes better understanding of rural issues and pedagogy, dispelling myths and misconceptions and, broadening students' career prospects in these settings which may ultimately foster interest in country teaching
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