The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction
Bulletin No. 48
Report by PME
The International Group for the
Psychology of Mathematics Education
PME Activities 1996-2000
A brief introduction
The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education [PME] came into existence at the Third Inter-national Congress on Mathematics Education (ICME-3) held in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1976. Its past presidents have been Efraim Fischbein (Israel), Richard R. Skemp (UK), Gerard Vergnaud (France), Kevin F. Collis (Australia), Pearla Nesher (Israel), Nicolas Balacheff (France), Kathleen Hart (UK), Carolyn Kieran (Canada) and Stephen Lerman (UK). Gilah Leder (Australia) is its current president. PME is a subgroup of ICMI, the International Commission on Mathematics Instruction.
The International Committee, which consists of 16 members and the President, is responsible for administering the affairs of the Group. Every year, four of the sixteen committee places are refilled. Immediate re-election is not possible.
PME is affiliated with ICMI and as such presents itself during ICMI's conferences (ICME) in which its aims and activities can be discussed with non members.
The goals of PME
The major goals of the Group are:
- To promote international contacts and the exchange of scientific information in the psychology of mathematics education;
- To promote and stimulate interdisciplinary research in the aforesaid area with the cooperation of psychologists, mathematicians and mathematics educators;
- To further a deeper understanding into the psychological aspects of teaching and learning mathematics and the implications thereof.
Membership is open to those involved in active research consistent with the aims of PME, and those professionally interested in the results of such research. Membership is on an annual basis. Currently, PME has about 850 members from some 50 countries all over the world.
Conference The main activity of PME is its yearly conference of four or five days, during which members have the opportunity to communicate personally with each other about their special and general interests. There are plenary lectures, a plenary panel, research paper presentations, working groups, poster sessions as well as other activities. Every year the conference is held in a different country. Host countries were Finland, South Africa, Israel, and Japan in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 respectively. In 2001, the 25th anniversary of PME, the conference will be held in the Netherlands.
Newsletter A PME Newsletter is issued twice a year. Copies of PME NEWS can be obtained from a Regional Contact or from the Executive Secretary Dr Joop van Dormolen.
Conference Proceedings Contributions to the scientific program, which are subject to a strict refereeing process, are recorded in the Group's annual Conference Proceedings. Copies of past Conference Proceedings still in print are available from the Executive Secretary.
Other Scientific Publications From time to time PME issues a special scientific publication, for example the result of research done by a Working or Project Group. Publications which have emerged over the past four years as a result of activities stimulated at PME conferences include:
- Ellerton, N. F. (Ed.) (1999). Mathematics teacher development: International perspectives. Perth: Meridian Press - based on the Working Group Research on the Psychology of Mathematics Teacher Development
- Jaworski, B., Wood, T., and Dawson A.J. (1999) (Eds.) Mathematics Teacher Education: Critical International Perspectives. London: Falmer Press - based on the Working Group concerned with the Psychology of inservice education of mathematics teachers
- Zack, V., Mousley, J., and Breen, C. (1997) (Eds.) Developing Practice: Teachers Inquiry and Educational Change. Deakin University Press: Melbourne - based on the Teachers as Researchers Working Group
- Two Special Issues of the Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Volume 17, Nos 1 and 2 (1998) which are devoted to interests of the Working Group on Representations
In addition, starting in 2001, two issues of Educational Studies in Mathematics will be guest-edited by PME members and are largely devoted to research carried out by PME members.
Group activities aim to facilitate and strengthen contact among PME members and to achieve greater exchange of scientific ideas and information relevant to the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Such groups must be approved by the International Committee or Program Committee. Their focus and composition change regularly. The following groups will meet during this year's conference:
Cultural Aspects of the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics;
Encouraging Reflective Practice;
Exploring Dilemmas of Research on the Social Aspect of Mathematics Education;
Imagery and Affect in Mathematics Learning;
The importance of matching research questions and methodology to the reality of researcher's lives;
Intuitive Rules and Mathematics Learning and Teaching;
Research on Mathematics Teacher Development;
Stochastical thinking, learning and teaching;
Theory of embodied mathematics;
Underrepresented countries in PME: The state of mathematics education;
Understanding of Multiplicative Concepts.
Present Officers of PME
President: Gilah Leder (Australia)
Vice-president: Janet Ainley (UK)
Secretary: Vicki Zack (Canada)
Treasurer: Gard Brekke (Norway)
Other members of the International Committee for 1999-2000
Janete Bolite Frant (Brazil)
Chris Breen (South Africa)
Jan Draisma (Mozambique)
Ruhama Even (Israel)
Toshiakira Fujii (Japan)
Nicolina Antonia Malara (Italy)
Ana Mesquita (France)
Ricardo Nemirovsky (USA)
Alwyn Olivier (South Africa)
Norma Presmeg (USA)
Catherine Sackur (France)
Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen (The Netherlands)
Orit Zaslavsky (Israel)
Joop van Dormolen (Israel)
Further details can be found on the PME Homepage at
or from the Executive Secretary Dr. Joop van Dormolen.
Gilah Leder, President of PME
Graduate School of Education
La Trobe University
Bundoora, Victoria 3083 Australia