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The challenge of "ruralizing" teacher preparation programs is to teach teachers to think with sufficient critical intent to violate professional norms that have been unhealthy for rural schools and communities. Universities are institutions with cosmopolitan rather than local purposes. Over the centuries, the mission of higher education has shifted from serving society as a whole to serving individuals. At the same time, philosophy has almost disappeared as a field of study, supplanted by an emphasis on the development of expertise. As it prepares students for the myriad professions, the university diffuses technical rationality as the most "useful" form of mind and virtually abandons forms of rationality characteristic of philosophy, thereby subverting both intellect and feeling. The work of the mind has been restricted to the path of economic instrumentalism, advancing scientific and industrial "progress" and, most recently, the global economy. Underlying these developments are assumptions about the desirability of large size, efficiency, technological progress, and unlimited consumption--assumptions that have helped to create many social and environmental problems and to undermine rural community life. The absence of philosophy from professional preparation is particularly bothersome in the case of teacher education. Properly educative experiences develop character, and character development depends upon ethical action in the local sphere. Teacher educators who would build a program that resonates with their rural locale must honor the local genius that shapes character and must also embrace values of sustainability, social justice, and democracy. These mutually reinforcing ideas form the basis of an education that cultivates civic virtue--a major shift in thinking about the public purpose of education. Contains 28 references. (SV)

Descriptors: College Role, Democratic Values, Educational Philosophy, Educational Principles, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Postmodernism, Professional Education, Relevance (Education), Role of Education, Rural Education, School Community Relationship, Teacher Education, Universities, Values

Autor: Theobald, Paul; Howley, Craig


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