Education in Rural Australia Vol 14, No 2 (2004)

Volume 13 (2) 2003sized

Journal Papers

Beyond The Agricultural Paradigm in Regional and Rural Australia: Building Capacity to Create a Preferred Future

Janelle Allison, Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation, The University of Queensland Jock Douglas, Wyoming, via Roma


Regional and rural Australia is undergoing significant change. Among the drivers for change are: (1) an emerging discourse on nature that challenges the agricultural centric view which has dominated regional and rural Australia; (2) transforming agricultural landscapes, which are increasingly multifunctional and complex; and (3) a search for a contemporary bush identity which is relevant and inclusive and which accommodates the diversity of views about rural Australia. The paper describes two illustrative initiatives: the Australian Landcare Management System (ALMS); and the Roma Bush Gardens Project (RBG). These initiatives have been developed to assist individuals and communities to learn – to develop awareness and understanding of the dimensions of change now effecting significant impact on rural landscapes. These initiatives provide examples of the basis to chart a new course, and to create and build individual and broader community capacity to enable regional communities to engage strategically with change and to consider an ‘unknown’ or new future through the promotion of environment and educational learnings.

Social Entrepreneurship and Partnerships with Regional and Remote Schools

Bernadette Walker­Gibbs, Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, Central Queensland University


This paper explores how notions of social entrepreneurship have inspired me to engage in innovative partnerships with two small rural schools in Central Queensland, Australia. I seek to explore practical ways in which to help rural schools contribute to the transformation of their schools, considering that we are now in an information­based society operating in a postmodern world where change happens quickly and continually. The paper explores the mapping of the journeys undertaken both by the schools and by myself as a university lecturer, and analyses how the concept of social entrepreneurship is used to empower schools with these changes. I examine the two partnerships with local schools more closely in terms of helping the participants – myself included – become social entrepreneurs by deploying innovative problem solving strategies that can provide ways forward to help us to begin to revolutionise the regional and rural education ‘industry’ and in the process engage regional and rural communities.

Multilingualism and Local­Global Identities: Japanese Language Education In Rural Australia

Barbara Hartley, The University of Queensland


The purpose of this article is to examine the value accruing to a regional area in Australia from the location of an undergraduate Japanese language education program in a university in that area. The focus is on the manner in which the inclusion of such a program enhances the sustainability of the area. Sustainability is here defined as the resilience demonstrated by social subjects in the absence of the full range of services available in more densely populated and resource advantaged areas. Such resilience implies an ongoing capacity on the part of subjects to contribute productively to social and economic networks in the area. The discussion includes two cases of graduates of the program under review. On the basis of these cases, the argument is advanced that local regional and rural area access to a tertiary sector second language program offers a unique and valuable strategic dimension to the personal and professional development of social agents in regional areas and to the sustainability of these areas generally.

Adult Literacy Teachers in Central Queensland: A Discursive Positioning of Teachers, Policies and Funding in Regional, Rural and Remote Communities

R. E. (Bobby) Harreveld, Division of Teaching and Learning Services, Central Queensland University


The sociocultural markers of adult literacy teachers’ identities are significant for understanding the nature of teaching which is constructed through, and contingent upon, diverse geographical and systemic spaces – at once a dilemma and a strategy in promoting education in regional areas. This article reports on one aspect of the work of a cohort of 23 adult literacy teachers living in regional, rural and remote areas of Central Queensland. Discourse theory is used to frame the conceptualisation of one particular teacher’s discursive positioning of her work. The article concludes that the relationships between adults positioned as teachers and students can become a community resource with the potential for rural engagement and for transformation of social and economic capital in such communities.

Beyond the Divide: Individual, Institutional and Community Capacity Building in a Western Australian Regional Context

John Smyth, Texas State University, San Marcos Barry Down, School of Education, Murdoch University


This paper describes the early beginnings and some preliminary theorising of the complexities involved in obtaining a clearer understanding of schooling for young adolescents in regional and rural settings. We explain how our thinking is developing around ways to approach some case study schools and their communities that are advancing on the idea of learning as a form of regional and rural engagement. The central theoretical construct is how educational ‘capacity building’ that engages young people works against the prevailing trend of increasing numbers of young people leaving school prematurely. This construct is illustrated by reference to the complex and diverse situations and needs of young people in the Kwinana/Rockingham area of the Fremantle/Peel Education District in Western Australia.

A Principal’s Perspective on Multi-­literacies in an Australian Show Community: Implications for Learning as Rural Engagement

Catherine Fullerton, Queensland School for Travelling Show Children Geoff Danaher, Faculty of Informatics and Communication, Central Queensland University Beverly Moriarty, Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, Central Queensland University Patrick Alan Danaher, Division of Teaching and Learning Services, Central Queensland University


The mobile community that owns and operates ‘sideshow alley’ in Australia’s agricultural show circuits has traditionally been marginalised in terms of formal education provision. However, the establishment of the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children in 2000 reflected the aspirations of show people and sympathetic educators that education for mobile groups can be enacted differently. This different educational enactment is explored through the conceptual lens of a ‘multiliteracies’ framework (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000), which is used to identify and value the complex and diverse forms of sense ­making that the show people deploy. This paper focuses on the perspective of the Principal of the school, who was one of the interviewees in the research reported here and also the lead author of this paper. Analysis of these data indicates that formal learning that embraces and enhances multiliteracies is one significant strategy for promoting education productively – and potentially transformatively – in such communities.