Innovation through Necessity: Investigating Teaching Practices in Rural Schools




Currie, Caitlin Alexandra

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Rural schools are a historic and contemporary feature of the Canadian educational landscape. They offer a unique learning and teaching experiences for students as well as the opportunity for researchers to investigate alternative organizational and instructional models. Despite their prevalence, rural schools remain relatively under-researched within a Canadian context with little agreement concerning the influence of teaching practices within rural contexts on student achievement. The purpose of this research is to (a) review some of the empirical research literature on teaching practices in rural schools and (b) discuss common features of teaching practices within rural schools such as multi-grade classrooms, team teaching and teacher collaboration, and educators filling multiple roles such as teaching principals; investigate if and what kind of specialized training is needed for rural educators; and, examine the impact of these teaching practices in rural schools on student engagement and academic achievement. Investigating teaching practices in rural schools gives researchers, educators, and policy makers the opportunity to explore the applicability of these practices outside the rural context.



rural education, rural schools, multi-age classrooms, teaching principals, rural teacher training, rural student achievement