Faculty who teach social work students in both rural Appalachian colleges and urban settings often notice differences in how these students approach learning and respond to the classroom environment and university setting. There is limited research on how Appalachian college students experience higher education and how they perceive the benefits of a college degree. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of social work faculty members at three Appalachian and three Midwestern universities, who have taught rural Appalachian students, as well as students from urban areas. Findings indicated that faculty mostly viewed Appalachian students as being different from urban students. Appalachian social work students often focused on the practical aspects of learning, but like many urban students they were intuitive, creative, and adept at problem-solving and critical thinking. Rural students were more inclined to benefit from practice methods oriented toward rural practice. Implications for practice are discussed with an emphasis on faculty members being aware of Appalachian culture and, in turn, directing their teaching style and methods to possible learning differences.

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Social Work Commons



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