Education Publications

“Where love prevails”: Student resilience and resistance in precarious spaces

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Rural Teacher Education: Connecting Land and People

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020. Growing concerns about school-based mental health (SBMH) in Canada have led to questions concerning howpolicymakers and educators can developmental health competencies. Coincidental to this movement has been the emergence of a discourse of community and citizenship, emphasizing active, bottom-up decisionmaking 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.

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