Thursday, August 2, 4:30-5:00, SUB Ballroom C, Theme: Practice

The purpose of this presentation is to highlight pedagogical innovations developed by secondary English teachers across different rural contexts in the state of Montana. Drawing upon Teacher Action Research methodologies, these presentations, in addition to offering snapshots of the curricula developed, explain the processes whereby teachers identified issues in rural education, set about investigating these issues, and then developed and implemented curricula to address them. All of these projects address issues of equity, representation, and critical place-based pedagogies. Outcomes include increased student engagement and achievement--both in the new and the traditional curricula--as well as improved school-community relations. Across these projects, the teachers demonstrate how drawing on rural funds of knowledge makes space for them to innovate and personalize their curriculum for 21st century rural youth. Thus, a key significance of this work is that these teachers and students are building narratives of current-day ruralities that help reshape deficit-oriented renderings of rural peoples, schools, communities, and ways of life. In these ways, this presentation provides the audience with a range of ways to see and imagine the nexus of theory and practice involving rural education, including how social justice literacy education might happen within rural contexts.