From jaimecs at mat.uc.pt Tue Apr 22 10:25:16 2008
From: jaimecs at mat.uc.pt (Jaime Carvalho e Silva)
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 09:25:16 +0100
Subject: [ICMI-News] ICMI News 3: April 2008
Message-ID:
ICMI News 3: April 2008
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the
ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical
Instruction
Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica,
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
CONTENTS
1. Editorial: Aspects of communication about --- and within --- ICMI
2. The Felix Klein Medal for 2007 goes to Jeremy Kilpatrick
3. The Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2007 goes to Anna Sfard
4. HPM welcomes you!
5. More news about the 11th ICME-International
Congress on Mathematical Education
6. The Second Meeting of ICMI 2007-09 Executive Committee
7. Assessing the quality of research in mathematics education
8. Free PDFs of National Academy reports (USA)
9. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
10. Historical vignettes: How the first ICME congress was born
11. Subscribing to ICMI News
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Editorial: Aspects of communication about --- and within --- ICMI
For an organisation such as ICMI, communication
with the community it serves is of the utmost
importance. The recent launching of the
electronic newsletter "ICMI News" as a new
channel of communication provides an opportunity
for looking back at the various solutions
adopted, since the inception of ICMI, to
disseminate information about the Commission:
about its mission, actions, programmes of
activities, and publications.
When ICMI was established at the 1908
International Congress of Mathematicians held in
Rome, the journal "L'Enseignement Math?matique"
(L'EM), founded just a few years earlier, was
immediately adopted as the official organ of the
newly born Commission. This may be of no
surprise since the first Secretary-General of
ICMI, Henri Fehr, was one of the two founding
editors of L'EM.
While L'EM played a major role over the following
decades as regards maintaining an official record
of ICMI reports and activities, the need arose
for a lighter and more flexible means of
communication between ICMI and its community.
This was particularly expressed at ICME-2, held
in August-September 1972 in Exeter, where "many
requests" were made "for improved methods" for
"increasing the spread of information concerning
activities of ICMI and other matters of interest
to mathematical educators" (excerpts from the
first issue of the "ICMI Bulletin", pp. 1-2).
This led barely a month later to the launching of
the "ICMI Bulletin" under the editorship of the
ICMI Secretary[-General], but with L'EM
explicitly continuing to be the official journal
of ICMI (as stated in the "Report on the period
1971-74" by ICMI President Sir James Lighthill,
see L'EM 21 (1975) p. 330). Over the years the
Bulletin has proved to be a useful channel of
information, even if its frequency of appearance
has at times been somewhat erratic.
In order to make information and material about
ICMI more easily accessible (including the ICMI
Bulletin), the first version of the ICMI website
was launched at the end of 1995, again under the
responsibility of ICMI Secretary[-General]. The
site was then, and still is, hosted on the server
of the International Mathematical Union, ICMI's
mother organisation.
Finally, inspired by the success of IMU email
newsletter "IMU-Net", launched in September 2003,
the current ICMI Executive Committee decided at
its first meeting, held in June 2007, to
establish a similar means of prompt, efficient
and brief communication, the first issue of ICMI
News having been published in December 2007 and
the appearance occurring every other month, in
alternation with IMU-Net. Needless to say, the
EC is extremely pleased by the enthusiastic
reception of this new tool among the community.
Thus, ICMI now has at its disposal four different
channels of communication: L'EM, the Bulletin,
the website and ICMI News. Collectively these
serve a variety of purposes, from formal archival
needs to detailed reports on some aspects of the
life of ICMI or short announcements of activities
to come, including the permanent online
availability of a large number of ICMI documents
of all sorts.
Besides the precise nature of the channels
through which information is conveyed, another
crucial aspect of the quality and efficiency of
communication about and inside ICMI concerns the
linguistic vehicle thus used. It is of great
interest to see that the launching of ICMI News
was accompanied, thanks to the efforts of its
editor Jaime Carvalho e Silva, by a Portuguese
version, achieved through the collaboration of
several members of the Portuguese community.
ICMI would hope for more of such outreach to
happen with ICMI News, which in a way costs
rather little. (Possibly online language
translators can help reduce the burden by
allowing to concentrate on editing rather than
time-consuming full translation.)
Although the four communication channels
mentioned above function almost exclusively in
English, the ICMI EC is sensitive to the need of
diminishing the linguistic difficulties of
colleagues for whom working in English can at
times be an obstacle to a full involvement in
discussions about educational issues, be it
orally or in a written form. Still it is
probably difficult to go back to what appears to
be the multilingual days of the birth of ICMI,
when French, German and English seemed to be on
almost equal levels --- at least judging from
correspondence or reports about ICMI from that
time. And the futuristic dream conveyed by the
ICMI President, in her closing words at the
celebration of ICMI Centennial in Rome early
March, of having participants at symposia to come
to each speak in his or her mother tongue and
have everyone understand each other through some
special automatic translation device, will
clearly not materialise tomorrow?
The fact that English is today's "lingua franca",
including for ICMI, is not to be denied, and on
the contrary must be used as efficiently and
positively as possible. The main point is to
ensure that such a position of English as a
vector for communication is an opportunity for
inclusiveness, not one for the preponderance or
even dominance of a given linguistic group on
others. (On that subject, one of the Survey
Teams at ICME-10 pointed to rather delicate
issues relating to the predominance in the
literature on mathematical education of authors
having English as a first language as well as,
more generally, of research in countries where
English is the national language --- see J. Adler
et al. in "Educational Studies in Mathematics" 60
(2005) pp. 359-381.) Having myself French as a
mother tongue --- in spite of my patronymic ---,
I am very sensitive to the issue of an adequate
and decidedly inclusive use of English in the
life of ICMI, and so are my ICMI EC colleagues.
On the other hand, the EC also supports
language-related initiatives such as the
geolinguistic network "Espace Math?matique
Francophone" (EMF), one of ICMI series of
regional conferences, or, as regards the context
of ICME congresses, the presence of Spanish at
ICME-11 for instance, when it is the case that
the language of the host country of an ICME is at
the same time an international one shared among
various countries.
Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. The Felix Klein Medal for 2007 goes to Jeremy Kilpatrick
The Felix Klein Medal for 2007 goes to
Jeremy Kilpatrick, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
It is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards
Committee hereby announces that the Felix Klein
Medal for 2007 is given to Professor Jeremy
Kilpatrick, University of Georgia, Athens, GA,
USA, in recognition of his more than forty years
of sustained and distinguished lifetime
achievement in mathematics education research and
development. Jeremy Kilpatrick's numerous
contributions and services to mathematics
education as a field of theory and practice, as
he prefers to call it, are centered around his
extraordinary ability to reflect on, critically
analyse, and unify essential aspects of our field
as it has developed since the early 20th century,
while always insisting on the need for
reconciliation and balance among the points of
view taken, the approaches undertaken, and the
methodologies adopted for research. It is a
characteristic feature of Jeremy Kilpatrick that
he has always embraced a very cosmopolitan
perspective on mathematics education. Thus he has
worked in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Italy,
New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, and Thailand, in addition to being, of
course, extraordinarily knowledgeable about the
international literature.
Throughout his academic career, Jeremy Kilpatrick
has published groundbreaking papers, book
chapters and books - many of which are now
standard references in the literature - on
problem solving, on the history of research in
mathematics education, on teachers' proficiency,
on curriculum change and its history, and on
assessment.
Mogens Niss, Chair, The ICMI Awards Committee, mn at ruc.dk
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. The Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2007 goes to Anna Sfard
The Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2007 goes to
Anna Sfard, University of Haifa, Israel, and the
Institute of Education, University of London, UK,
also affiliated to Michigan State University.
It is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards
Committee hereby announces that the Hans
Freudenthal Medal for 2007 is given to Professor
Anna Sfard, University of Haifa, Israel, and the
University of London, UK, in recognition of her
highly significant and scientifically deep
accomplishments within a consistent, long-term
research programme focused on objectification and
discourse in mathematics education, which has had
a major impact on many strands of research in
mathematics education and on numerous young
researchers.
In addition to publications related to the
above-mentioned research programme, Anna Sfard
has published numerous other papers and book
chapters within a broad range of topics. It is a
characteristic feature of Anna Sfard's scientific
achievements that they are always very thorough,
original and intellectually sharp. She often
uncovers the tacit if not hidden assumptions
behind notions, approaches, and conventional
wisdom, and by turning things upside-down she
usually succeeds in generating new fundamental
and striking insights into complex issues and
probl?matiques.
Mogens Niss, Chair, The ICMI Awards Committee, mn at ruc.dk
------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. HPM welcomes you!
HPM is the International Study Group on the
Relations between History and Pedagogy of
Mathematics affiliated to the International
Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI).
By combining the history of mathematics with the
teaching and learning of mathematics, HPM is the
link between the past and the future of
mathematics. Therefore, the group aims at
stressing the conception of mathematics as a
living science, a science with a long history, a
vivid present and an as yet unforeseen future.
Among members of the group are researchers in
mathematics education, mathematicians, historians
of mathematics, teachers of mathematics and
curriculum developers.
MAIN ACTIVITIES
ICME Satellite Meetings of HPM
Among the activities of the HPM Group, there is
the tradition of organizing conferences that are
satellite meetings to the International Congress
on Mathematical Education (ICME), organized by
ICMI every four years, since 1984. The 7th one
will take place in Mexico City in July 2008.
European Summer University on the History and
Epistemology in Mathematics Education
Closely related to the activities of the HPM
Group is the organization of the European Summer
University on the History and Epistemology in
Mathematics Education (ESU).
The initiative of organizing such a Summer
University belongs to the French Mathematics
Education community, in the early 1980's. From
those meetings emerged the organization of a SU
on a European scale, since 1993. The 5th one took
place in 2007 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Other Meetings and Conferences
Also there are regional meetings organized by HPM
in different countries. Additionally, in various
conferences, there are special sections organized
on themes that are of interest to HPM.
For example: The Topic Study Groups (TSG) at ICME-10 (Copenhagen 2004)
TSG 17: The role of the history of mathematics in mathematics education
TSG 29: The history of the teaching and the learning of mathematics
There will be the same TSGs (as TSG 23 and TSG 38
respectively) at ICME-11 in Monterrey, Mexico in
July 2008.
The HPM Newsletter
The HPM publishes a Newsletter three times per
year (67 issues have been published and since
2000 they are available online). The Newsletter
is available by contacting the regional
representatives (see last pages of any recent
issue), or can be downloaded from the HPM
websites (see below).
The HPM websites
Further information on the group, its aims,
history and activities, together with details on
relevant documents and resources can be found in
the HPM official website
http://www.clab.edc.uoc.gr/HPM/ and the website
of the Americas Section of the HPM Group
http://www.hpm-americas.org/
Constantinos Tzanakis, Chair of the HPM Group, tzanakis at edc.uoc.gr
------------------------------------------------------------------------
5. More news about the 11th ICME-International
Congress on Mathematical Education
The program of ICME-11 is rapidly being defined and if we go to its website
http://www.icme11.org/
it is clear that this Congress is going to be
very exciting and will leave very valuable
lessons to all those attending. If you register before June 1st you will have a
discounted registration fee and everything can be done online very smoothly.
I will just point out now the variety and
richness of the plenary activities. Namely
PS 1. What do we know that we did not know ten
years ago, what have we achieved and what have we
missed out? Positive results as researchers and
mathematics educators, The nature of evidence of
results in student outputs, What is a good
mathematics education? What is society asking
from us? Do we understand learning/teaching the
same way?
Speakers: Mich?le Artigue (France), Jeremy Kilpatrick (USA)
PS 2. What do we need to know? Does research in
mathematics education address the concerns of
practitioners and policy makers?
Panel moderator: David Clarke (Australia)
Panelists: Paul Cobb (USA), Mariolina Bartolini
Bussi (Italy), Teresa Rojano (Mexico), Shiqi Li
(China)
PS 3. Current trends in mathematics
Speaker: Jos? Antonio de la Pe?a (Mexico)
PS 4. History of the development of mathematics
education in Latin American countries.
Panel moderator: Fidel Oteiza (Chile)
Panelists: Eugenio Filloy (Mexico), Ubiratan
D?Ambrosio (Brazil), Luis Campistrous (Cuba),
Carlos Vasco (Colombia)
PS 5. Equal access to quality mathematics education.
Panel Moderator: Bill Atweh (Australia)
Panelists: Olimpia Figueras (Mexico), Murad
Jurdak (Lebanon), Catherine Vistro-Yu (The
Philippines)
PS 6. Knowledge for teaching mathematics
Speakers: Toshiakira Fujii (Japan), Ruhama Even (Israel)
PS 7. Technology and mathematics education
Speaker: Celia Hoyles (United Kingdom)
PS 8. Report of Survey Team 3: The impact of
research findings in mathematics education on
students? learning of mathematics
Organizer on behalf of Survey Team 3: Angel Guti?rrez (Spain)
PS 9. Report of Survey Team 4: Representations of
mathematical concepts, objects and processes in
mathematics teaching and learning
Organizer on behalf of Survey Team 4: Gerald Goldin (USA)
These are 9 good reasons to attend ICME-11.
You will not want to miss this.
Register now!
http://www.icme11.org/registration_info
------------------------------------------------------------------------
6. The Second Meeting of ICMI 2007-09 Executive Committee
The second meeting of the current ICMI Executive
took place at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome on
4th and 9th of March around the Symposium of the
100th Anniversary of ICMI. It was chaired by
Mich?le Artigue, ICMI President. Also present
were Bernard Hodgson (Secretary-General), Jill
Adler, Mariolina Bartolini Bussi, Bill Barton,
Hyman Bass, Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Celia Hoyles,
S. Kumaresan, Frederick Leung, Alexei Semenov.
L?szl? Lov?sz, President of IMU and ex-officio
member of Executive, and Claudio Procesi,
Vice-President of IMU, also partially attended
the meeting.
The focus of this meeting was arrangements for
ICME-11 in Mexico in July. The successful
deliberations of the ICME-11 Grants Committee
were reported, noting, in particular, the grant
from NCTM (USA) that made possible more generous
support of participants from non-affluent
countries. The organisation of the Opening
Ceremony and Award presentations were decided,
and the Agenda for the ICMI General Assembly set.
This last is extremely important in 2008 because
it will be the first time that the ICMI General
Assembly elects the Executive Committee of the
Commission. Practical arrangements for ICME-11 at
the main campus of the UANL (Universidad Aut?noma
de Nuevo Le?n) are now in place, and the
Executive is looking forward to a successful
meeting.
Considerable discussion also took place about two
new ICMI Studies to be launched in the near
future. The IPC is currently being formed for a
study on Teaching and Learning Mathematics in
Constrained Conditions: The Case of Language.
Progress was also made regarding another study
relating mathematics education to industry and
the workplace and undertaken in conjunction with
ICIAM (International Council for Industrial and
Applied Mathematics).
Two further projects, the Pipeline Project and a
proposed Klein Project, were also advanced. The
former will have a preliminary report available
by the end of the year. The Klein project is a
proposed joint project with IMU, and has been
referred to the IMU Executive.
Organisational issues, relating to the
establishment of a permanent secretariat in
conjunction with IMU and putting ICMI on a firmer
financial footing, were also discussed.
Bill Barton, Vice-President of ICMI, barton at math.auckland.ac.nz
------------------------------------------------------------------------
7. Assessing the quality of research in mathematics education
(Summary of a text prepared by the ICMI Executive Committee)
All over the world, there is an increasing
tendency to rely on numbers, such as impact
factors and citation indices, for assessing the
quality of scientific research. The field of
Mathematics Education does not escape this
tendency.
The SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index) of ISI
Thompson, the index most widely in use, includes
many journals in the field of education, but only
one in mathematics education: the Journal for
Research in Mathematics Education (JRME), which
was included in the index a long time ago. The
applications made by Educational Studies in
Mathematics (ESM), founded in 1968 by Hans
Freudenthal, ICMI President from 1967 to 1970,
which is widely recognised by the international
mathematics education community as one of the
major international journals in the field, if not
the premier journal, have not been successful up
to now. JRME and ESM are, in terms of citations,
by far the major journals in the field, and
including one and not the other in an index does
not make sense from a scientific point of view.
One might even consider that ESM has a broader
international coverage than JRME.
The ICMI EC looked into the situation and feels
that it is obliged to draw to the attention of
those in charge of the evaluation of research in
mathematics education, the scientific bias of the
current situation. The ICMI EC is in no doubt
that the SSCI of ISI Thompson cannot be
considered as an appropriate means for
appreciating and assessing the quality of
research in mathematics education. Because of the
potentially harmful effects on our field of the
use of this metric, the ICMI EC is more than
willing to collaborate with ISI or other agencies
in their efforts to achieve an improved
representation and evaluation of research in
mathematics education.
The ICMI EC would like to point out that, even if
it is the most used, the SSCI is not the only
reference list in use today. The European Science
Foundation, for instance, has recently created in
the European Reference Index for the Humanities
(ERIH) a list for journals on Pedagogical and
Educational Research, which has the aim of
helping to identify excellence in Humanities
scholarship. It is our judgement that the
representation of research in mathematics
education journals is better in ERIH than in
SSCI, although it too might be improved.
The full text of the ICMI EC position can be seen on the web at
http://www.mathunion.org/ICMI/ISI.pdf
------------------------------------------------------------------------
8. Free PDFs of National Academy reports (USA)
The National Academy of Sciences of the United
States would like to let you know that
individuals from developing countries can
download FREE PDFs OF ALL ACADEMY REPORTS at
http://www.nap.edu/.
Please share this resource with your colleagues.
Once the desired book has been selected on the
NAP website, free PDF books will have a "SIGN IN"
link at the bottom of the "purchase options" box.
The user has to click on this link, complete a
short survey, and then can download the book.
Detailed information about which countries are
eligible and how the process works is available
at the following link:
http://www.nap.edu/info/faq_dc_pdf.html.
Note that the user's computer must have an IP
address in one of the eligible countries.
Ester Sztein, Program Officer for the Board on
International Scientific Organizations of the
National Academies (USA).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
9. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
Future Curricular Trends in School Algebra and Geometry
Univ. Chicago, USA, May 2-4, 2008
http://www.mathcurriculumcenter.org/conferences.php
International Consortium for Research in Science and Mathematics Education
ICRSME XII - 2008 Consultation
Quito, Ecuador, May 13-16, 2008
http://ehe.osu.edu/groups/icrsme/
The Second International Conference on Education for Real-Life Learning
University of Bristol, UK, June 19-21, 2008
http://www.thislearninglife.org
Fifth U.S. Conference on Computer Algebra Systems
(CAS) in Secondary Mathematics
Northfield, IL, USA, June 28-29, 2008
http://meecas.org/usacas.php
International Society for Design and Development in Education
ISDDE 2008 conference
Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, June 29 - July 2, 2008
http://www.fi.uu.nl/isdde/
Joint ICMI /IASE Study Statistics Education in School Mathematics:
Challenges for Teaching and Teacher Education
ICMI Study and IASE Round Table Conference
ITESM, Monterrey, Mexico, June 30-July 4, 2008
http://www.ugr.es/~icmi/iase_study/
ICME-11 - Mexico 2008
11th International Congress on Mathematical Education
Monterrey, Mexico, July 6 - 13, 2008.
http://icme11.org/
HPM 2008: History and Pedagogy of Mathematics
The HPM Satellite Meeting of ICME-11,
National Mexican University, Mexico City (UNAM), Mexico, July 14-18, 2008
http://www.red-cimates.org.mx/HPM2008.htm
Fifth European Congress of Mathematics
Amsterdam RAI Center, Netherlands, July 14-18, 2008
http://www.5ecm.nl/
PME32 & PME-NA30 Mexico joint conference
Morelia, Mexico, July 17-21 2008.
http://www.pme32-na30.org.mx/annou.htm
PME33: Thessaloniki - Greece, July 19-24, 2009
PME34: Univ. Fed. Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - July 2010
http://igpme.org/
MathFest 2008
Madison, WI, USA, July 31- August 2 2008
http://www.maa.org/
10th Iranian Mathematics Education Conference (IMEC-10)
Yazd, Iran, August 12-15, 2008
Contact: a_rejali at cc.iut.ac.ir, soheila_azad at yahoo.com
http://www.imec10yazd.com
4th European Workshop on Mathematical & Scientific e-Contents
Trondheim, Norway, September 11-13, 2008,
http://www.ntnu.no/delta/workshop/
TIME-2008: Technology and its Integration in Mathematics Education
Tshwane Univ. of Tech., Buffelspoort, South Africa, September 22-26, 2008
http://time.tut.ac.za/
ATCM-13: 13th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
Bangkok, Thailand, December 15-19, 2008
http://atcm.mathandtech.org
ICTMT-9 - 9th Int Conf on Technology in Mathematics Teaching
Metz, France, July 4-8, 2009
http://www.ictmt9.org
"Models in Developing Mathematics Education"
The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project
Dresden, Saxony, Germany, September 11-17, 2009
arogerson at inetia.pl
------------------------------------------------------------------------
10. Historical vignettes: How the first ICME congress was born
Anyone "under a certain age" who looks at the ICMI History website
to discover what the first ICME was like will
almost certainly be surprised and not greatly
impressed: just a long list of the plenary
lectures that were given.
However, to those of us who went to Lyon this was
an exciting time even though the programme might
have had its great disappointments. For example,
in 1969 I was employed on educational development
overseas and was disturbed that there was no
mention in Lyon of the problems I encountered in
the countries I had visited. Yet we could
rejoice that this was the first time that
mathematics educators had had a truly
international congress to themselves, where they
could design the programme and its emphases.
But what were those emphases to be? This was
only made clear to me at the Budapest ICME in
1988 when I had my last conversation with Hans
Freudenthal. He was not happy with the way in
which that ICME had been organised: "when I
planned ICME-1 it was as a showcase for all that
was best in mathematics education; the present
ICME is more like a bazaar". If, then, one was
only concerned in Lyon with exhibiting what was
good, there was no room to discuss the problems
of those who were simply striving to be better.
It is important to keep this in mind when
considering the form that ICME-1 took. It was,
of course, the form to which Freudenthal had
become accustomed at the four-yearly congresses
of the International Mathematical Union. Thus
the published programme for ICME-1 told of 20
plenary talks (four of which were given by women)
and the opportunity for members to present
20-minute short papers in the afternoons. All
these meetings were held in the one large hall
and it was very depressing to see an audience of
thirty or so scattered around it while a short
paper was being given.
In view of Freudenthal's aims for the Congress,
and the fact that the selection of speakers owed
much to him, it was not surprising that almost
all came from Europe and that the remainder were
from North America. Nevertheless, I was able to
see and hear many leading mathematics educators
whose names were familiar but whom I had never
met. The talks were in the main devoted to
curricular issues within schools. There was no
mention of the teaching of mathematics at
university level or for vocational purposes.
However, there were interesting and important
talks by Ed Begle on "The role of research in the
improvement of mathematics education", Andr?
Delessert on teacher education, Arthur Engel
(whose talks and papers I personally always
prized very highly) and Henry Pollak on the
relevance and teaching of applications of
mathematics, Efraim Fischbein on "Mathematics
teaching and intellectual development", and Bryan
Thwaites on "The role of the computer in school
mathematics". In retrospect, though, I should
not wish many of those who spoke at Lyon to be
judged on the papers they presented there. In
particular, two speakers whom I was later to
delight in working with, Bent Christiansen and
Emma Castelnuovo, gave talks which did not truly
represent what I most valued in them.
A Congress, though, is not only about what one
finds in the printed programme. My personal
memories extend much further than those plenary
talks. There was the pleasure of meeting,
speaking with, and learning from, members from
other countries - perhaps the most important part
of any congress. There was the chaos caused by
the fact that the supplier of the official
lunches provided such a bad one on the first day
that Freudenthal and Maurice Glaymann, who
shouldered so much of the local organisation,
immediately cancelled the contract with the
restaurateur. Coaches were then organised to
take those members who had ordered lunches out to
the airport restaurant - a journey that
necessitated the retiming of all the afternoon
sessions. Later, Freudenthal told me that the
outcome was a court case, although I can no
longer remember which side brought the suit. He,
Freudenthal, pleaded that the restaurant's
cooking was such as to bring French cuisine into
disrepute and the judge was so influenced as to
award damages to ICMI. With this money and
further help from UNESCO, Freudenthal then
mounted a seminar for invited educators that
resulted in the third volume of UNESCO's series,
"New Trends in Mathematics Teaching". Then there
was the congress excursion when the members
(about 650 I believe) set out in coaches, for
some reason accompanied by an escort of policemen
on motorcycles, for the Beaujolais region where
after wine tasting at various vineyards we
enjoyed an excellent dinner and yet more wine;
leaving some members decidedly light-headed.
Attempts, too, were made to add unplanned
elements to the programme. Alan Bishop and I
both recall that the British Association of
Teachers of Mathematics brought a bus filled with
schoolchildren - but neither of us can remember
if they ever found a home in which they could
take part in demonstration lessons. Also, after
complaints from members it was arranged that on
one evening there would be two discussion groups
at which contributions could be made in English,
French, and possibly German. Alas, that was not
a success so far as I was concerned, for I was
persuaded, despite the pleas that my French was
rudimentary, to act as chairman for the group
that was to discuss the place of axiomatics in
school mathematics. Now, I recall Karl Menger
writing how, early in his lecturing career, he
was advised that, "You must never underestimate
the ignorance of your audience". After that
meeting I could give somewhat similar advice:
"Never underestimate the speed at which an
excited Frenchman can speak". 1969 was the time
that a new, extremely abstract mathematics
curriculum had been introduced in France and
there were great divisions between its teachers
relating to its suitability. (This unrest was
also evident at ICME-2 when some French members
walked out of the talk by Ren? Thom when he
criticised "modern mathematics".) The meeting
got very heated, but, alas, the chairman was
unable to comprehend French spoken at such speed
and, at times, such vehemence. Perhaps those
with better French than I derived something
useful from the meeting. I certainly learned one
important lesson, but that did not relate to a
greater understanding of the place of axiomatics
in school mathematics!
ICME-1, then, had its problems, but that it came
about at all was a triumph for mathematics
education. It provided a foundation on which to
build and for those of us on the Programme
Committee for ICME-2 it gave us a clearer idea of
the changes that needed to be made. We must be
grateful to Hans Freudenthal and Maurice Glaymann
for embarking on such an initiative.
Geoffrey Howson, former Secretary-General of ICMI
Note from the editor: the ICMI History website
was created by Fulvia Furignhetti
and Livia Giacardi with the cooperation of Daniel
Coray, Marta Menghini and Gert Schubring on the
occasion of the ICMI Centennial meeting in Rome
in March 2008 and is available at
http://www.icmihistory.unito.it/
The ICMI Centennial meeting website is still available at
http://www.unige.ch/math/EnsMath/Rome2008/welcome.html
where pictures of the event can also be found.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
11. SUBSCRIBING TO ICMI News
There are two ways of subscribing to ICMI News:
1. Click on http://www.mathunion.org/ICMI/Mailinglist with a Web browser
and go to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to ICMI News online.
2. Send an e-mail to icmi-news-request at mathunion.org with the Subject-line:
Subject: subscribe
In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so
that misuse will be minimized. ICMI will not use the list of ICMI News
addresses for any purpose other than sending ICMI News, and will not
make it available to others.
Previous issues can be seen at:
http://www.mathunion.org/pipermail/icmi-news
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