The Secondary Education Program with a Major in Mathematics and Physics

To analyze the components of the preparation in Mathematics Education with an Emphasis in Physics and Mathematics the four Institutions of Higher Education that had about 82 % of the enrollment from 2006 to 2009 were chosen.

Below the courses are classified into the following six thematic strands:

1. General Education: Philosophy, Art, Introduction to University Life, Ethics and other general courses at each IES.

2. Content Courses: Letters, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Languages, Technology, Physics, Arts, Electives.

3. Mathematics Content Courses.

4. Pedagogical Courses: Pedagogical Theories, General Teaching Methods, Guidance and Counseling, Psychopedagogy, Planning, Psychology.

  • 5. Mathematics Teaching Methods.
  • 6. Student Teaching.

After analyzing these programs and reviewing other offerings that were not part of the report and that contributed very little to the national enrollment for this Emphasis it can be affirmed that:

  • (a) The programs include the majority of the contents of basic Mathematics that are taught in Secondary schools: Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, Statistics and notions of Infinitesimal Calculus.
  • (b) Mathematics teaching methods are concentrated in one course or in another case are presented as “Mathematic Teaching and Student Teaching”.
  • (c) The History of Mathematics is only found in two of the programs studied. In another, the history of Mathematics is integrated into a course on the History of Physics.
  • (d) These programs do not include technology as a specific strand. Only 2 % of the credits in the programs are related to technology topics and in no case is there a specific course on technology applied to Mathematics.
  • (e) Student Teaching is present in different academic periods in the programs, but one of the programs does not include Student Teaching.

It is important to note that recently standards for the initial preparation of teachers have been established. They have been published by the MESCYT in a document called Plan for Reformulation of Teacher Preparation (Vincent 2010). To operationalize the standards 10 dimensions have been established: Curricular structure, general preparation, content preparation, pedagogical preparation (theory and practice), pedagogical content preparation, entry level profiles, organizational structure and management capacity, teaching and support personnel, infrastructure, learning services and resources, and evaluation systems. In addition to the “dimensions” there are 47 “criteria”, 191 “quality indicators” and 263 “items of evidence” (p. 137). The new programs should include a system of supervised student teaching and internships, with common parameters, clear indications of the organization and distribution of academic loads. Along the same lines, it is worth pointing out that the Ministry of Education (MINERD) is offering opportunities to prepare young people who are interested in being a part of the education system as teachers.

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