Méxican Normalista Teachers as a Resource for Bilingual Education in the United States: Connecting Two Models of Teachers Preparation

John E. Petrovic, Graciela Orozco, Esther González, Roger Dias de Cossio


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This publication provides an international comparative perspective on teacher preparation in Mexico and the United States, with a special focus on the preparation of bilingual education teachers. Its primary audience consists of teacher educators, program administrators, international transcript evaluators, and registrars in the United States working with students who have prior teacher preparation in the Mexican system. Therefore, the largest section of the monograph is dedicated to providing a thorough description of this system.

Section I begins with a discussion and overview of U.S. teacher certification requirements and processes. Mainly for international readers, this section provides a brief history of teacher education in the United States and discusses such issues as who grants the teaching license, recent developments and future trends in teacher preparation (e.g., high-stakes testing, disallowing “education” as a major, alternative certification), and the emergence of the bilingual education endorsement.

Section II presents the Mexican teacher preparation system. To provide a foundation, it begins with an overview of the history and structure of the Mexican educational system from elementary school through higher education. It then provides a thorough discussion of teacher preparation in Mexico, including a description of the different types of certification programs and the history and growth of teacher preparation. Of greatest interest to those readers working with students who have prior teacher preparation in Mexico are the specific programs of study (curricula) required to become a teacher. There have been a number of programs of study over the years and all of them from 1975 to the present are fully detailed, including the names and descriptions of specific courses and credit hour requirements.

Section III compares the two teacher preparation and certification systems, discussing the systemic and educational differences. The educational requirements for becoming a teacher in Mexico and the United States sometimes overlap and, yet, are sometimes strikingly different. The monograph summarizes major differences in the general education, professional education, specialization, and practical experience requirements. It ends with a discussion of what teachers prepared in Mexico may need to gain certification in the United States.

This publication was prepared by the Center for Bilingual Education and Research, College of Education, Arizona State University as a resource for Project Alianza – a consortium of organizations and universities working to improve preparation programs for bilingual education teachers. Project Alianza is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through a collaboration of Intercultural Development Research Association and the Mexican and American Solidarity Foundation.

Available online only (free). (IDRA and Arizona State University; No ISBN; Paperback; 100 Pages; 1999)

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Méxican Normalista Teachers as a Resource for Bilingual Education in the United States: Connecting Two Models of Teacher Preparation