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Costa Rica: The Preparation of Mathematics Teachers

Yuri Morales-Lopez

Abstract This chapter begins with a brief description of the Costa Rican education system and the stages of its historical evolution and ends with a consideration of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and main challenges currently faced by Costa Rica in its quest to improve the quality of Mathematics Education. The initial preparation of Mathematics teachers for elementary and secondary education will be described with an indication of the main characteristics of the institutions that provide the preparation and the corresponding programs of study. Elements of continuing professional development in the country will be mentioned and a review of Mathematics Education research in Costa Rica will indicate an important strength in possibilities for improving the teaching of Mathematics in this country. A profound reform of the school Mathematics curriculum approved in 2012 will also be described. It is a curriculum that utilized results from important international research and experiences in Mathematical Education with national goals to build higher cognitive capacities in this discipline. The new curriculum and its implementation (in an ambitious and bold project) has significantly affected the teaching practice in Costa Rica classrooms and the in-service professional development of teachers of Mathematics, and, also has served as an obligatory reference for change in initial preparation programs (that the majority of universities preparing teachers have begun to incorporate). In particular, the close connection between the development and success of this educational reform, and the national research efforts in Mathematics Education and the relevant international backing that the process has received will be highlighted.

This chapter is based on the article: Alfaro et al. (2013). La formacion inicial y continua de docentes de matematicas en Costa Rica. Cuadernos de Investigation y Formation en Education Matematica, 8 (Special issue), 131-179, available at article/view/12225. Authorized by Editor-in-Chief

Y. Morales-Lopez (H)

Escuela de Matematica, Universidad Nacional, Apt. 86-3000,

Heredia, Costa Rica

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 39

A. Ruiz (ed.), Mathematics Teacher Preparation in Central America and the Caribbean, SpringerBriefs in Education,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44177-1_3

Keywords Teacher preparation • Mathematics • Mathematics education • Education Curriculum • Costa Rica

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