Rural meanings of schooling and education: a microethnography from an Ontario community
Blimkie, Melissa M. F.
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The purpose of this microethnography was to explore and describe the rural schooling experiences of one female adolescent who lives in a one industry, non-farming rural village and attends high school in a nearby small town. The pursuit of a post-secondary education usually results in the out-migration of local youth. This study describes and explores: (a) the ways in which the school environment and the interactions between the adolescent participant and her network educators shaped the meanings she ascribed to schooling; (b) the meanings of school curriculum for the adolescent participant; (c) the meanings of academic achievement for the adolescent participant; and (d) the role of the adolescent’s parents in her education at home and at school and the ways in which interactions between the adolescent and her parents shaped the meanings she ascribed to schooling. Data collection took place on site over 12 consecutive weeks and two re-visits which each lasted one week. The methods of data acquisition included participant observation, interviewing, document analyses, and photographs of local places. The adolescent participant’s mother and father and five educators at her high school also participated in this microethnography. Through addressing the specific rural issues and concerns of the rural context in which this microethnography took place this research reveals a deeper understanding of one adolescent’s rural schooling experiences. Implications for future rural schooling practices and research are discussed.