Thursday, August 2, 4:00-4:30, SUB Ballroom B, Theme: Profession

This paper presents an analysis of the role of place in the recruitment and retention of primary teachers through a one- year teacher education programme in the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI is a federated institution covering North and West Scotland. The teacher education programme is delivered locally to small groups of students in seven colleges: with online sessions in the university virtual learning environment, video conferencing and face to face workshops alongside school- based placements. In this paper we present the outcomes of two inter-linked studies. The first programme-based,  where we followed three cohorts of students in Argyll College UHI (2015 - 2018) into their induction year placement and employment as a rural teacher in Argyll and Bute. The research methods were informed by the teacher agency framework (Priestly et al, 2015) underpinning the programme and an ethnographic methodology with data collected from participants at different points in their journey. The outcomes suggested that while the programme gave students the pedagogical skills to teach in small schools (4 -20 pupils) it did not explore the role of place in the curriculum and wider school community. The second study (2017 - 18) worked with the 2015 - 16 graduates in their induction year as a primary teacher and explored through a series of interactive workshops and individual interviews their 'responses' to place and how they taught and lived in rural communities. The outcomes from both studies have informed national practice in initial and continuing teacher education in rural Scotland.

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