Graduate Research Paper (UNI Access Only)
Education, Rural; Authorship--Study and teaching--Iowa;
This whole process began with the decision on a research topic. I had considered a few ideas that included English textbooks or grammar instruction. But I had a habit (which started in undergrad) of picking topics that were not typically covered. I wanted to do something unique, different, and something that would relate more closely to my own experiences and teaching. A convergence of ideas slowly connected: a professor mentioning an essay by Paul Gruchow about what we teach rural students, reading James Hosic’s 1917 report that described rural students as essentially devoid of all intellect/culture, reading another of Gruchow’s essays regarding seeing writing in one’s own place for a creative nonfiction class. All of these things got me thinking about rural students’ place, not only in the world, but in the world of writing. Could students from small towns - the same small towns with closed or consolidated schools, dwindling church congregations, fewer jobs, fewer college-educated citizens, and an overall unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule of pragmatism in the form of a stable job with a decent wage - aspire to be writers? Surely - based on my own experience and others - there were talented writers in these small schools. Surely the next great journalist, poet, author, playwright, or blogger could come from an alphabet soup-lettered school.
After positive feedback from instructors and peers alike, I took the plunge and dug into my research. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go: do rural students feel like writing is a viable career or hobby? I added the hobby portion because it opened up my view on the subject. Students, especially those I planned to interview, may not want to become writers full time, but
they may see writing differently as a hobby. Further, in my own teaching practice, getting students to see the value and importance of writing would be a better investment of my time and yield better results as opposed to just focusing on the career aspect of it.
Year of Submission
Master of Arts
Department of Languages and Literatures
1 PDF file (43 pages)
©2021 Anthony T. "Skip" Olson
Olson, Anthony T. Skip, "It's hard to lose: Embracing a place-based mindset and reculturing rural areas and students" (2021). Graduate Research Papers. 2082.