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Additional Considerations

The Structure of Mathematics Teacher Preparation in Colombia

Near the end of the last century a policy on the structure of professional knowledge for teaching (Decree 272 of 1998) proposed that there are four nuclei of pedagogical knowledge (educability, teachability, the historical and epistemological structure of pedagogy, and social and educational realities). The curricular approaches for the initial preparation of Mathematics teachers in various programs were molded from those nuclei. Nevertheless, in 2008 it was recognized that those nuclei did not offer a satisfactory referent into which the educational reflections and actions of teachers could be fully and coherently situated (Bautista and Salazar 2008).

This is verified by identifying that the majority of initial teacher preparation programs contain a structure in which one usually finds Mathematics courses, courses on curricular knowledge and knowledge about teaching mathematical content (in which practical knowledge is included), courses that develop general pedagogical knowledge, and courses centered on aspects of communication (reading, writing and speaking). Eventually, there may also be Physics or Computer Science courses; this in programs that are preparing teachers for Mathematics and another discipline.

In general terms, for example, the Mathematics courses include Calculus, Arithmetic and Algebra, Geometry, and Probability and Statistics. The course(s) on curricular knowledge and knowledge about teaching may include a consideration of the thinking or mathematical systems presented in the Guidelines and Curricular Standards (Colombia 1998, 2006). Another possibility is courses that take a look at research in Mathematics Education.

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