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Initial teacher training in initial literacy under the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala’s specialized teacher training programme in primary education

Effective literacy teaching programmes have, as a common denominator, teachers with specialized training. The study summarized in this article suggests that a significant number of teachers in the region do not receive this level of training and, consequently, are unaware of what the basic initial literacy skills are and how they are taught.

According to the analysis, the initial training programmes lack courses based on scientific evidence to prepare students in this respect. The research, conducted between 2018 and 2019, analysed the state of initial teacher training in initial literacy at a Guatemalan university. A qualitative methodology was applied and information obtained from the following was triangulated: (1) mapping of initial teacher training on initial literacy, informed by a conceptual framework based on the research evidence around initial literacy learning and what trainee teachers need to learn in order to teach it effectively; (2) interviews with teacher trainers and trainee teachers; and (3) observations of university classrooms.

The results reveal gaps between what the evidence suggests, what the programme includes, and the initial training received by teachers, prompting discussion over its design. Recommendations have been made to review initial teacher training programmes and potentially restructure them to bring them into line with current evidence, in order to address some of the identified weaknesses.