Teacher Preparation for Elementary Education

Historically, the Normal Schools had the responsibility to prepare teachers to orient educational processes (not only in Mathematics) for children in Elementary Education and, fundamentally, education at that level in rural areas. This responsibility dates from the 19th century, with the construction of the first Normal Schools for teacher preparation (Normal Schools for Males) that were charged with bringing basic literacy to the children of the country, particularly in rural areas.

Throughout their nearly two centuries of existence, the Normal Schools experienced various changes that were basically changes in educational public policy. Among the most important milestones were: (i) the moment, in the middle of the 19th century, when Normal Schools were recognized as institutions of pedagogical knowledge; (ii) in the second half of the 19th century, at which time the first Normal Schools for Females were created; (iii) the beginning of the 20th century, a time in which it was recognized that there was a need for a rural preparation for the populations living in the countryside, and an industrial and commercial preparation for those living in the cities, and, as a consequence, such preparation was considered in the Normal Schools, and Rural Normal Schools were created that were charged with preparing teachers for rural elementary schools; (iv) the emergence of the first Faculties of Education in country’s universities, some of which were the result of the transformation of existing Normal Schools,[1] and the consequent limiting of the role of Normal Schools to the preparation of teachers for Elementary Schools; (v) the reconfiguration, at the end of the 20th century, of the Normal Schools into Upper Normal Schools, with the charge to prepare Preschool and Elementary teachers; (vi) the creation, at the beginning of the new century, of programs to prepare teachers for Upper Secondary schools offered by Upper Normal Schools in collaboration with universities that have Faculties of Education, and with the objective of promoting a more profound knowledge of an area that had been part of Elementary Education[2]; (vii) by the end of the first decade of the century, the agreements between the Normal Schools and the universities concerning Upper Secondary Education had been dismantled so that universities are no longer collaborating with the Upper Normal Schools so that the preparation of elementary teachers is much like the preparation in technical schools.

  • [1] Thus the Feminine Pedagogical Institute in Bogota, became the National Pedagogical Universityin Bogota, and the Male Normal School in Tunja became the Pedagogical and TechnologicalUniversity in Tunja.
  • [2] Along these lines, and for a few years, some universities that offer programs for the initialpreparation of Mathematics teachers supported the creation of programs for Upper SecondaryMathematics in Normal Schools whose graduates were then given a Bachelor’s Degree by theuniversity.
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