Marino Miranda Noriega– Graduate Student International Summer Research or Residency Award Recipient

Mexico: Development of curriculum in rural schools in Mexico, 1911 – 1936

The trip’s primary purpose was to conduct preliminary archival research on the various programs the Ministry of Public Education in Mexico created to solve what it labeled the rural problem. I visited five archives during my trip. Four of them in Mexico City, and another in Xalapa, Veracruz. In Mexico City, I surveyed the archives of the Ministry of Education, the National Library, the Archives of Mexico City, and the Archives of the National University of Mexico. In Xalapa, I examined the archive of the first Teacher School in the country, founded in 1875.

I encountered several promising documents that allowed me to understand how Mexican authorities understood how rural environments affected students’ learning perspectives and outcomes. In this regard, the programs were designed and promoted by a crucial figure, Rafael Ramirez, who became the head of the Rural education program within the Ministry of Education after studying in the US. I found some of his published and unpublished work, which centers on how rurality creates a particular kind of learner, borrowing from psychological theories about the effects of the environment on the learner. Besides his pedagogical and social thinking, there are traces of how teachers engaged with the teacher programs he designed. On the Archives of the Ministry, I found an exercise promoted in teacher workshops where student teachers had to make a map of their school and the surrounding area and write a text about the educational problems in their rural communities. I am attaching one of these maps in the images because it is an exciting source that captures teachers’ voices and displays a particular way of observing and administering the territory.

I was also interested in reconnecting and furthering the academic relationship with experts and colleagues who research the history of education in Mexico. I contacted several professors at Cinvestav, the country’s most relevant educational research institution. These connections and my regular engagement with a couple of seminars help me find my way through the abundance of documentary sources. I was lucky enough to present preliminary project to fellow PhD students, faculty, and a couple international visiting scholars. They recommended secondary literature, as well as some sources, archives, and ideas that have added much depth to my project.