Master’s Degree Programs in Education

Castrillon and Solis (2009) identified 79 Master’s Degree programs concentrated in five cities: Bogota, Medellin, Manizales, Cali and Bucaramanga. Of this total only 10 (13 %) offer Mathematics Education.

It should be emphasized that academic programs at the graduate level are subject to national regulations. The regulations establish the goals of specialization, Master’s and doctoral programs; present some of the features of such academic programs; and indicate that Master’s Degree programs shall have two modalities: one focused on teaching and the other on research.

When the institutional contexts in which the programs are developed and the curricular structures that they propose are examined, it is possible to identify at least three types of programs:

  • • Those that arise in Faculties or Institutes of Education. Their common component is philosophical, pedagogical and educational development, articulated with a conceptual and research-based foundation in Mathematics Education. That foundation is in turn based on Didactics of Mathematics with the historical-epistemological, sociocultural and cognitive characteristics. These are much like what is often called a Master’s in Education with an Emphasis in Mathematics Education.
  • • Programs that emerge in Faculties or Departments of Science. These programs have as their main reference a disciplinary preparation in Mathematics. That disciplinary preparation is articulated with a foundation in relation to education, teaching and curriculum, as well as research. This type of program has some of the features of a Master’s in Mathematics Teaching.

• Those whose curricular structure is organized in relation to the foundations of Mathematics Education as a field of research. They establish their curricular focus in the foundations of Didactics of Mathematics, cognition, curriculum, a sociocultural focus and evaluation, all articulated with a research component. These can be called Master’s in Mathematics Education.

The development of academic Master’s Degree programs has also generated changes in some universities. While some have opted to replacement specialization programs with Master’s focused on teaching, others have decided to preserve the specialization programs articulated with Master’s programs or conserve/promote the research Master’s. There is obviously an absence of a general structure for the functioning of teacher preparation programs at the graduate level.

Also, the academic community of Mathematics educators, has been moving forward with a broad debate on the meanings, scope and limitations in the implementation of Master’s programs focused on teaching. Indeed, in so far as these programs have among their purposes the improvement of the professional practices of Mathematics teachers and their research component mobilizes the praxis in relation to their teaching practices, research groups are faced with the need to structure theoretical and methodological approaches that address the practice of teaching and the professional development of teachers of Mathematics.

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