This study focused upon a sequence of three inquiry assignments with pre-service teachers (PSTs) in English language arts in an advanced composition and theory methods course. Place conscious and critical literacy scholars argue for a deeper understanding of rural lifeways and note the deficit or lesser than assumptions associated with rural communities and the need to develop a critical rural literacy to address the specific needs of rural educators as well as address the long-standing stereotypes. This study’s purpose was to determine if these inquiry tools can be used to teach PSTs a critical literacy that can be applied in rural contexts. This qualitative study used a critical action research methodology within a bounded system, or a case study of an individual course in one semester. Data collected from the methods course included assignment artifacts, reflections, and interview transcripts. The participants included five white female PSTs in ELA. Data analysis determined four predominant themes emerging from the assignment artifacts: self-knowledge, multiple expert sources, local sources, and critical problem-based inquiries. These themes represent PST’s understanding of effective inquiry tools that can lead to a critical rural literacy.
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Understanding Rural Communities: Crafting Local Inquiries as Praxis for Pre-Service ELA Students in Teaching Composition.
The Rural Educator, 44(2), 1-13.