Distance teaching in small rural primary schools: a participatory action research project

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The aim of the study is to identify and examine the distance teaching practices of four teachers in three small, rural primary schools in Finland – small in the sense that the schools consists of between 20–50 pupils and between 3–12 teachers. The schools have experienced a decline in pupil numbers, thus, they are not able to employ teachers full-time. The participating teachers imagined distance education as one solution to extend the classroom and faculty. Practice architectures is used as a theoretical and analytical framework to answer the question ‘What cultural, material, and social discourses constitute the development of the practice around distance education in small, rural primary schools?’ The data consists of interviews with and video blogs by the teachers recorded during 2016–2017. The implications are that cultural-discursive, material-economic, and social-political arrangements surrounding distance education are intertwined in small schools. Architectural arrangements enabled flexible solutions when developing distance education. The same arrangements proved to be material and cultural constraints as the teachers had many responsibilities in their everyday practice and support from the faculty was sometimes lacking. The teachers felt constrained by the technology and communicating with pupils at a distance meant they had to develop new teaching strategies.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1–15
JournalEducational Action Research
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • participatory action research
  • distance education
  • virtual learning environments
  • primary schools
  • Practice Architectures

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