MAking MAThEmatics TEAchers MObile
All the institutions set up training courses to prepare trainees
teachers and teachers in service to teach abroad. All these training
courses include different points of view: an intercultural,
linguistic and mathematical education, therefore language and
mathematical trainers were associated to prepare and assume the
training courses in all the countries.
The intercultural education allows the trainees or teachers
concerned to contact the general organization of teaching in the
host country and with teaching practices.
As for the mathematical education, it permits to take interest
in the various approaches of certain concepts, from the point of
view of curricula, didactics and teaching in class.
However these training courses present important differences
according to countries' as well in their organization as in their
The first differences appear from an institutional point of view.
Only Czech Republic already had a teaching in foreign language
(English) included in its course. In the other countries, a new
training course should have been created.
This new training course could be included like a part of the
official training of student teachers in Italy, and in opposite, it
was based on voluntary participation in others countries with an
eventual reduction of the number of hours of teaching (Denmark) or
without any institutional compensation or promotion (Austria,
France). So these training courses have been more or less difficult
to create according to the countries.
However it did not have a strong incidence on the duration of these
new training courses, from 20 hours to 30 hours. It is on the other
hand one of the reasons which can explain the important differences
in term of total numbers, by example 1 or 2 student teachers in
Austria and France and 40 in Italy.
These differences of total numbers can also be due to reasons of a
cultural nature: the lack of strong tradition of teachers’
exchange with other countries is noted both by Austrian and Danish
teams, while the Czech Republic had already joint a program in
mathematics and foreign languages, and got a strong tradition of
participation in exchange programs with other countries.
At last, the fact that the training courses took place, at least
partly, in a foreign language had an influence on the recruitment of
student teachers and teachers in service for this project. In
France, the training course was done in Italian, the host country
language, and it was difficult to find voluntary teachers speaking
Italian. In others countries, English was the language used during
the training courses and in spite of that, in Denmark, teachers have
often considered their language level too low to participate to
exchanges with foreign countries.
About contents, the conceptions of these training courses were very
different according to the countries. The institutional rooting or
not but also the exchange conditions, the chosen language for the
training courses and the total numbers of participants were very
important variables. In particular, respective shares devoted to a
general training and to the specific training of visiting teachers
to carry out the exchange are extremely different from one country
In Italy, the training course was focused on a study of the
different educational systems of the countries involved in the
project, with comparison and discussion about their positive and
negative aspects but the visiting teachers were in charge of the
specific preparation for teaching in Austria and in German language.
In the opposite, in Austria and France, training courses were
focused on the host country and the preparation of visiting teachers
to teach in this country about contents, language and teaching
On one hand, the linguistic aspect, i. e. vocabulary (general
vocabulary, specific vocabulary for teacher talk, mathematical
vocabulary) and grammar, is interlinked with the rest of training in
all the training courses. On the other hand, depending on whether
the training course language was the host country language or not,
the work remaining at the load of the visiting teachers was very
different from one country to another.
Some methods were specific to certain countries: French participants
had the opportunity to visit the «Liceo Leonardo da Vinci» in
Paris where they were able to attend classes, and become acquainted
with the culture of the Italian classes. The training course in
Czech Republic has included a visit to a bilingual school and an
observation of video recordings of mathematics lessons conducted in
In the same way, mathematical contents have been studied very
widely like in Denmark and Italy or specifically focused on the
chosen subjects (Pythagoras and fractions). So, if student teachers
and teachers in service have prepared lessons during the training
courses, these lessons were related to various mathematical subjects
like in Czech Republic or they were focused on Pythagoras and
fractions like in Austria and France. Everywhere, student teachers
or teachers in service had the occasion to present teaching units
during the training course. In some countries visiting teachers had
even tested parts of the lessons they planned to conduct in the host
country. Finally some of these presentations could be video-recorded
like in Czech Republic, Denmark or France.