Professor John Halsey is working to make rural towns a chosen destination for outstanding teachers. He hopes to create a culture shift amongst teachers to bring rural education back to being a viable career choice.
In many communities, the struggle of getting teachers to come to small rural schools sounds a death knell, as parents drift away, forced to seek education options elsewhere.
Professor Halsey is hoping to create a culture shift amongst teachers to bring rural education back to being a viable career choice.
“Many people look at rural areas as the place where you begin your career as a teacher or a leader, but not a place where outstanding teachers have their careers,” Professor Halsey said.
“Curriculum development and delivery in rural areas requires particularly skilled teachers who can manage anything that comes their way.
“We are encouraging an extended rural placement for final year teaching students to highlight the benefits of working in these communities. Doing so over a longer time enables them to settle in and begin to appreciate the lifestyle differences in smaller communities and hopefully helps them identify rural teaching as a viable career choice.”
Research by Professor Halsey into the challenges faced by educational leaders in regional Australia has resulted in the introduction of a specialist masters degree program focusing on rural communities and contexts.
“Changing the culture around rural teaching isn’t going to be a simple task, but our future may well depend on it,” Professor Halsey said.