The Education of the Mathematics Teachers Depending upon the School Level in Which They Would Teach
Before the end of the last century new programs were established for the initial preparation of Mathematics teachers. A Bachelor’s Degree in Basic Education with an Emphasis in Mathematics (LEBEM) was created for future teachers in elementary and lower secondary. For upper secondary, the program became a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics (LM). Those new programs were based on the characterization, identification and differentiation of what was considered particular for teachers in each of those two levels.
Nevertheless, this transformation was not accompanied by a change in the culture of work in the educational institutions that hired the new graduates. Those with the Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics continue to be hired for both lower and upper secondary, and those with the Bachelor’s Degree in Basic Education are hired to teach all subjects in elementary schools.
A Place for Research in Teacher Education
The Mathematics teacher preparation regulations express various positions with respect to the relation between research and teacher education. One of the regulations refers to the need for future teachers to receive preparation in research and consult state of the art Mathematics Education research. In another it is proclaimed that lines of research exist that support the relationship between teaching and research in preparation programs. In the Guidelines (Colombia 1998), research is conceived as “. the place from which knowledge in a disciplinary field is created. This part of professional preparation begins with Master’s degrees and is consolidated in doctorates, where the scientific community of Mathematics educators is developed” (p. 125).
Given this multifaceted view, it is natural to present the relationship between research and teacher education as a theme or challenge that merits public reflection and discussion on the part of the Mathematics teacher education community in order to come to agreements on how to realize what is proposed. This reflection must include the fact that elementary and secondary teachers, except in a very few cases, do not work in conditions in which it is possible for them to generate and develop research projects that might improve their teaching or their students learning.