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Welcome to the second edition of the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education (AIJRE) for 2015. We are pleased to offer our readers a range of articles to stimulate discussion and creative thinking around the issues facing rural and remote learners, educators and institutions broadly grouped into areas related to relationships, overcoming isolation and curriculum.

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Learner agency and assessment for learning in a regional New Zealand high school

Jennifer Charteris

Assessment for Learning (AfL) pedagogies can have a significant impact on student learning and achievement. This paper reports on data from a study of four teachers and 48 student participants within a regional high school. An inquiry approach to teacher professional learning is explored through an AfL lens, in particular, how teacher feedback for professional learning can be nuanced and dialogic. The research draws from one reflective dialogue interview where a teacher explores student voice data to consider her learners’ perceptions of how they learn and of the classroom learning practices of feedback, feedforward and self-assessment. The paper addresses learner agency as an important aspect of curriculum implementation for teachers and assessment for learning for students.

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Preparing pre-service teachers for rural appointments

Kathy Jenkins, Linley Cornish

Pre-service teachers need to be prepared to teach in both rural and urban contexts. Preparation to teach multi-grade classes in rural schools is excellent preparation for teaching any class, including urban single-grade classes. Based on our previous research and experience, we designed a unit to prepare our pre-service teachers for the issues they may face in their employment and especially in rural schools, including multi-grade teaching, coping with isolation, working as a casual teacher, and communicating with parents and caregivers. There are significant issues that are distinct in rural and urban contexts, including how metrocentric departmental policies can emphasise the rural/urban divide.

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