The growing gap between colombian education policy, official claims and classroom realities: insights from mathematics teachers' conceptions of beginning algebra and its teaching purpose

  • Cecilia Agudelo-ValderramaEmail author


Since 1994 when the General Law of Education was issued, educational authorities have been claiming that Colombia has embarked on an educational revolution [‘La revolución educativa’ (n.d.). From the Colombian Ministry of Education website: Retrieved 23 Nov 2004] where schools have curricular autonomy, and are to improve the quality of education by attending to the needs of the communities they serve. Teachers are urged to engage in a continuous process of constructing the curriculum which is to be anchored in the fundamental aim of educating critical citizens. The findings of this study carried out with the participation of 13 mathematics teachers with a range of teaching experiences and from different schools in Bogotá, show a totally different picture. Instead, for the teaching of school algebra, teachers emphasised the purpose of training pupils in the manipulation of symbolic expressions, as the prerequisite knowledge for the next school mathematics level and ultimately for the External Examination. I offer explanations for the identified gap and argue for the crucial need to create conditions for change at the education systemic level and for the actual empowerment of teachers.

Key Words

mathematics teachers' attitudes beliefs conceptions possibilities and barriers of change in mathematics teaching school algebra teaching social and cultural issues 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.F. of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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