Education and Rural Community Connections: Identifying and Promoting Key Opportunities for Sustainability

By Zhanna Barchuk and Mary Jane Harkins.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rural communities in Canada are facing both external and internal forces that challenge their sustainability. In many rural areas, both communities and schools are facing the threat of a declining population and a downturn in economic conditions. One promising direction for the revitalization and survival of communities lies in creating mutually beneficial partnerships with schools. This paper provides an overview of a project that was designed to build interconnections among universities, schools, and communities. Preservice teachers studying at a university in an urban area were given an opportunity to complete a teaching placement in a rural area. Using a collaborative approach, student teachers, school staff, and members of community organizations were engaged in developing and implementing localized curriculum units based on identified community strengths and challenges. Findings demonstrate the many benefits of universities, schools, and community members working together to promote social and economic sustainability in rural areas.

Keywords: Rural, Communities, Education, Economic Sustainability, Social Sustainability

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.23-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 489.099KB).

Zhanna Barchuk

Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Zhanna Barchuk is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education in Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with research interests in sustainability, globalization, and teacher education. Prior to coming to the Mount, she was an international baccalaureate geography teacher at SEK International School in Quito, Ecuador.

Dr. Mary Jane Harkins

Director of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Mary Jane Harkins is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education in Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her research interests include teacher education, education for sustainable development, and inclusive education. Prior to coming to the Mount, Dr. Harkins was a school board administrator with the Tri County Regional School Board, Yarmouth.