History education and educational competences

ABSTRACT Results from a study carried out in the Spanish universities of Murcia and Santiago de Compostela are discussed. The objective is to examine the perceptions and pedagogical content knowledge about history of pre-service primary teachers. The study yielded statistically significant results, which allowed a diagnostic about the professional competence of future primary teachers. Quantitative methods have been employed, and their use in an exploratory study is justified. The findings show that a majority of participants identify themselves, formally, with a model of critical teacher, who should use active teaching strategies and promote ethical values related to social justice. This formal stance stands in contrast with a) their implicit teaching models, more traditional in their theoretical and methodological conceptions; and b) with their selection of contents and practices in order to achieve an education coherent with the model formally endorsed. The discussion suggests the need for improvement in teacher’s education, establishing direct connections with the practicum in primary classrooms. We propose a teacher education model based on reflection about practice from practice, connected to theory, in order to educate competent primary teachers.