While there is a significant body of educational literature addressing the character and needs of rural communities in the Appalachian and southern regions of the US, there is a need for a better understanding of rural communities outside of this region. Existing literature focused on US rurality revolves around four main themes: the rural idyllic, isolation and deficits, rural identity, and community. The voices, experiences, and needs of future teachers of the Northern Great Plains are missing from this dominant narrative and this study begins to address this gap. This qualitative study is based on data collected from 16 semi-structured interviews with students enrolled in a pre-service teacher preparation program about their experiences growing up and living in rural Northern Plains communities. Interview transcripts were transcribed, coded, and compared to the themes of the existing literature. The analysis resulted in several stable themes similar to the prevailing narratives on rural communities, with specific and nuanced differences. Specifically, participants held a nostalgic rather than idyllic view of their communities, internalized an agrarian identity even if they did not lead an agrarian lifestyle, and described communal ties as essential to their distinct lifestyle. Future research on Northern Plains rurality should seek to include non-white and Native American participants and perspectives.
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Moore, J. D.,
Yoho, L. M.
There’s Land between Us: Rurality in the Northern Great Plains.
The Rural Educator, 44(2), 44-54.