Once the different curricular decrees have been published, it is time, in this course, to debate and make reform proposals for the improvement of the teaching profession, according to the title of the document for debate that the Ministry of Education and Professional Training published, in January 2022. He suggests addressing in depth 24 proposals with the aim of advancing in education in coherence with the development of the new curricular proposal. Although the article is written from my perspective as a teacher and researcher in mathematics education, it is clear that many questions are equally valid in similar areas of knowledge.
From my point of view, there is a fundamental issue that should permeate any proposal on teacher training. Thus, assuming that the teacher is a rational and reflective professional, and not a technician who applies didactic recipes learned in training courses, we must design teacher training as a continuous and permanent process that begins with access to school as a student. and that develops throughout his life as a teacher.
This continuity in professional development would necessarily have to be reflected in the educational administration (state and regional), and in the guidelines and programs that are developed for the initial (bachelor’s and master’s degrees) and permanent training of teachers.
It is common for access to the teaching profession and permanent teacher training to be assigned to one ministry or council, while initial training and educational research belong to another. This administrative separation hinders and causes, in most cases, a poor interaction of initial training and research in teacher training with permanent training. The possible collaborations are given more by the will and agreement of the professionals involved, than by the policy of the educational administrations. Paradoxically, a ministry or council pays for research projects on education (including teacher training), whose results are little or not considered in professional development, since this is included in another ministry or council. This is so, even, in administrations of the same government (national or autonomous) that do not adjust, among them, the pedagogical perspectives and assessment criteria on the teaching career and professional development.
Research related to initial teacher training indicates that students who enter these centers have certain conceptions and beliefs about mathematics, about its teaching and learning, and implicitly have a teacher model. This, as a consequence of their time as students in primary and secondary schools. Generally, these ideas are not adjusted or contrary to what the curricular proposals indicate. In addition, they are very stable and resistant to change, which is why they continue to maintain them, for the most part, when they finish their training period.
Consequently, what is stated in the previous paragraph should be a mandatory reference for teachers in training to learn to teach mathematics. In addition, it must be taken into account that the mathematical knowledge they must learn is specific mathematical knowledge for teaching, which has already been extensively studied within the Spanish Society for Research in Mathematics Education, and not only within it. We remember the opening sentence of this article that tells us that knowing mathematics is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a good mathematics teacher.
Traditionally, initial training programs in primary insist on repeating the mathematical knowledge already given in the school stage, justifying it in the deficient mathematical knowledge that those who enter the school carry with them. To this is added, as a complement, information on some teaching resources. In initial secondary education, where graduates or graduates enter, there is more emphasis on information on the use of didactic resources (technological and manipulative), assuming that teachers will apply these proposals when they access the classrooms of schools. In both cases, the research concludes that these programs do not work and that these novice teachers, when they access teaching practice, take into account their experience and memories as learners more than what they were able to learn in the initial training centers.
For this reason, it is necessary to analyze in depth the training processes (theoretical and practical), providing knowledge, resources and specific tasks to organize initial and ongoing training within the framework of the professional skills described in the curricular proposals. The objective of the training is to provide teachers with the knowledge and resources to program, describe, explain, interpret, design and manage professional actions to promote the learning of primary and secondary students.
In this way, in order to develop good practices within the framework of inclusive mathematics, acquiring these professional skills implies being able to design specific tasks and manage classrooms where problem solving and mathematical modelling, technological environments, didactic resources and transversal activities, the interaction between affective and cognitive factors, among other curricular recommendations. Obviously, a redesign of the training programs in each area of knowledge is necessary and, specifically, of the teaching practices with suitability criteria from the didactics of mathematics and theoretical frameworks of reference for reflection on the practice itself.
For access to the teaching profession, it is necessary to articulate institutional spaces that promote reflection from the teaching practice based on the problematization of specific aspects of the teaching of mathematics. This, regardless of the model used. In addition, it would be convenient to identify support centers and tutors, constituting teaching units that allow beginning teachers to benefit from the collaboration between practicing teachers and teacher trainers. The selection processes must therefore ensure that the synergy between knowing and doing (the logo and the praxis) is conceived in an integral way and not as isolated parts.
Finally, if we want permanent training to respond to the real needs of teachers, it must be conceived from references to specific teaching skills and from action/reflection/action processes that allow them to analyze their professional practice, taking into account theoretical models. /practical reference. The articulation of communities of practice (groups of teachers of different levels sharing improvement goals and resources) would be useful as a context for professional development. Likewise, institutional support would be necessary to develop its task and to promote direct communication between research and practice, which would favor the contexts of educational innovation.
Taking these recommendations into account, the theoretical/practical and administrative continuum would be established between initial training, access to the teaching procession and professional development, since all of them would be articulated from a common perspective and within the framework of a collaborative network. between teachers in training, experts and researchers in education.
Lorenzo J. Blanco Nieto He is a retired professor from the University of Mathematics Didactics at the University of Extremadura and former president of the Spanish Society for Research in Mathematics Education. He has coordinated the book Contributions to the development of the curriculum from research in mathematics education”
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