By Way of Closing
The transformations and curricular changes over the years in Venezuela have resulted in positive results in quantitative terms, but not necessarily with respect to the quality of education. Reality reflects a sustained deterioration in the mathematical preparation of teachers. This is more noticeable with Elementary teachers as compared to Secondary teachers, but is evident in student achievement at both levels. Also, it has not been possible to repair the dichotomy that exists between preparation in disciplinary content and preparation for teaching that content, and there remains a separation of theory and practice. In fact, these problems may have deepened. Equally, the duality teacher-researcher is not evident in initial teacher preparation where research is dealt with at a mainly theoretical level.
Continuing preparation is presented mainly in graduate programs that can lead either to an academic degree or a certificate, both of which are valid for salary increases. However, there has been little impact on the mathematical and pedagogical knowledge of the teachers. Consequently, there has been little impact in their professional practice, and in improving the teaching and learning of Mathematics. Moreover, no agenda for Mathematics Education research that is the product of those programs exists that could orient the determination of the key elements that currently affect the teaching of Mathematics. Such an agenda, should be oriented to a new conceptualization of continuing Mathematics teacher preparation that overcomes the idea of training and is focused on the creation of a culture of continuous learning.
Nevertheless, the Venezuelan Mathematics Education community has manifested concerns and in the universities there are those who are taking certain actions to improve the prevailing situation. Among those actions the revision of the curricular designs for Mathematics teacher preparation should be highlighted. Here are some of the questions that are being asked. What should be the preparation of Secondary Mathematics teachers and Elementary teachers? What should be the preparation that Secondary Mathematics teachers and Elementary teachers receive in psychopedagogy, sociology, philosophy, etc.? How do you offer an integral preparation, avoiding the fragmentation between Mathematics and the teaching of Mathematics? How can there be a stronger link in teacher preparation between theory and practice? All of these concerns are up for discussion and are concerns of those preparing the future Mathematics teacher educators.
Fortunately, certain favorable conditions do exist, mentioned above in this document, that if handled properly, could lead to actions that tend to overcome flaws and lead the preparation of Mathematics teachers down more promising paths. However, here we want to make it clear that the results of any change that is undertaken, whether it be in the conception that is held concerning initial and continuing preparation, the content of that preparation, the curricular orientations, etc., will depend in good measure on what we, the teachers of Mathematics, think and do.