Professional Development Programs for In-Service Teachers
Professional development programs in the four countries are usually short courses of from a few days to a semester, or participation in special events such as specialized summer schools, seminars and conferences.
In Colombia there have been several plans for “permanent” professional development and diploma programs called “Specializations”. The Specialization programs have been losing ground to graduate programs. However, there still are about ten Specialization programs that last two or three semesters.
Venezuela has continuous professional development programs that do not lead to an academic degree given by universities or professional associations. The programs that do lead to an academic degree are called “specialization”, “master’s” or “doctorate” in mathematics education.
In the Dominican Republic teacher professional development is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. However, the Ministry charges the National Institute of Teacher Preparation and Development with its implementation. Universities in turn often are awarded contracts to provide the actual services. A special modality of professional development that has been offered is called “diploma” in teaching mathematics. It involves courses of six months with eight hours a day of study.
In Costa Rica professional development for both elementary and secondary teachers in offered by universities, professional schools, foundations and, especially, the Ministry of Education. Since 2011, the Ministry has been involved particularly in professional development in mathematics. The work has been significantly transformed by using blended (hybrid) courses that involves both face-to-face and online sessions, as well as, completely online Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC).