Preservice teachers' perceptions of teaching in communities of Northwestern Ontario
Master of Education
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This mixed-method study examined the perceptions of preservice teachers about teaching in Northwestern Ontario, and how these perceptions influence their decisions to apply for teaching positions within the area through the use of a longitudinal survey design. The purpose for this study was to explore what factors preservice teachers utilized when deciding where to apply for teaching positions, and what the government, universities, and school boards can do to attract teachers to Northern schools. The sample population ^=57) included 46 females and 11 males. 60% of the sample population had never lived in a rural community; 61% had never lived in a northern community; and 84% have never lived in an Aboriginal community. The present study found that, while many preservice teachers found Thunder Bay an enjoyable city in which to live, they felt unprepared to teach in Northern communities. The study also indicated that participants felt that there was too much emphasis on Aboriginal Education, to the detriment of multicultural education, as many of them planned to return to their homes in Southern Ontario. The present study found that university courses had serious implications for students' decisions to teach in particular areas. Students developed schemata based on familiar stories, and the attitudes of professors, whether they spoke negatively or positively about teaching in Northern communities.