The ten teachers/authors who participate in this book are part of the Nebraska Writing Project's Rural Voices, Country Schools program. This program enables these teachers to discuss their experiences in teaching in rural school districts. While the book primarily focuses on K-12th grade studies, there are some passages pertaining to Undergraduate studies as well. The book is broken into three sections: Place-Conscious Writing and Active Learning/ Place-Conscious Writing and Local Knowledge/ and Place-Conscious Writing and Regional Citizenship. The primary focus of "Rural Voices" is the study of "place-conscious education," which was formed by former teachers, critics, and reformers, such as, Theobald, Berry, Critchfield, Gruchow, Jackson, Dewey, Goodlad, Fullan and Olson. These predecessors are referenced throughout the book, however, it is this constant referencing, that at times, keeps the reader distanced from the current groups' immediate project.
The ideal audience for this book is any teacher interested in "place-conscious" studies. Brooke (the editor) states that "place-conscious education...is schooling that focuses on the necessary relations--cultural, natural, agricultural--that shape a given place and its human communities" (6). The idea is that if teachers can teach their students about their immediate surroundings and connect it to their learning, that students will become more engaged in their studies. Furthermore, there is a belief that this type of learning will "develop a richer sense of citizenship and civic action" (6). While the book focuses on rural school districts and Creative Writing teachers, there is enough substance in the book to carry over to any teacher in any subject. It seems as though the idea of "place-conscious" learning, on many levels, can be applied generally anywhere.
(Jo's review at Amazon)