Rural Teacher Education
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Growing concerns about school-based mental health (SBMH) in Canada have led to questions concerning how policymakers and educators can develop mental health competencies. Coincidental to this movement has been the emergence of a discourse of community and citizenship, emphasizing active, bottom-up decision-making and self-governance. However, in the rural context, in particular, the ability to engage as a community of citizens is too often thwarted by policies that privilege economic interests over the wellness of those affected—as in the case of school closures, which is our focus here. We adopt Jean Baker Miller’s (Toward a new psychology of women. Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1976) Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) to examine the experiences of a community in a rural area through the closure of a school. We theorize that meaningful participation is critical to building resilience through examining how students in a downtown medium-size city’s high school independently responded to the threatened closure of their school—with their own unique brand of organization and resistance. In rural districts where the community is part of the fabric of the curriculum itself, school closures can limit a community’s ability to build the “mental health” capital—or resilience—needed to sustain its inhabitants. We argue that in the process changes to place can contribute to mental health vulnerability and reduction in well-being.
Citation of this paper:
Cristall, F., Rodger, S. & Hibbert, K. (2020) Where love prevails: Student resilience and resistance in precarious places. In D. Gereluk & M. Corbett (Eds.), Rural Teacher Education: Connecting Land and People, London: Springer.