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Every candidate for the teaching profession must go through a process of initial training. This is a preparation stage that occurs in all countries of the region, although the processes differ in terms of the criteria for selecting candidates, the duration of studies, curricular proposals, relevance and quality of this training experience. The Latin American context reflects this marked diversity of initial training models, which should not mean diversity in terms of quality.
We believe certain initial teacher training elements should be universal, due to their nature as fundamental conditions to ensure quality. These include: rigorous admission processes to initial training, a framework of teaching skills articulated according to national curricula, and practical experiences for future teachers to apply their learning and reflect critically with mentors. In addition, it’s important to have systems of accreditation and quality regulation of the training institutions to ensure compliance with the essential aspects of initial teacher training.
After several months of work and meetings, the members of the Latin American Coalition for Excellence in Teaching present the following statement, which reflects our vision of the elements that encompass quality initial teacher training. We seek to facilitate a regional consensus on the key factors that ensure adequate initial teacher preparation. We make a series of recommendations, based on the study and experience of the members of the Coalition in order to strengthen initial teacher training programs in the region.
This declaration has four general dimensions on how to improve the quality of initial teacher training in Latin America and the Caribbean. An initial training system must have the following components:
- A unified guiding framework that establishes the fundamental principles under which the training institutions operate.
- Recruitment mechanisms and merit-based selection to attract outstanding candidates. Each country must have a national policy for teacher recruitment and selection mechanisms.
- A framework of teaching skills that effectively works and serves as a reference for initial training.
- Teaching practices as an essential component of training that must take into account the needs of different countries in the region, as well as the singularities of each training institution.