[ICMI-News] ICMI News 21: December 2011

Jaime Carvalho e Silva jaimecs at mat.uc.pt
Thu Jan 12 13:39:45 CET 2012

ICMI News 21: December 2011

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical Instruction

Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal

1. Editorial: A Very Brief History of Korean Language and Scholarship
2. ICME-12: TSGs, WSGs, posters, registration
3. ICME-12: Mathematical Carnival
4. ICME-12: Grants for delegates from non-affluent countries
5. ICME-12: The fifth appetizer
     Quality teaching of mathematical modelling – what do we know, what can we do?
6. ICME-13 will be in Hamburg in 2016
7. ICMI Study 22: first meeting of the IPC
8. Database Project Researcher 
9. Pipeline Researcher & Individual Country Data Collectors
10. News from IMU
11. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
12. Subscribing to ICMI News


1.  Editorial: A Very Brief History of Korean Language and Scholarship

Korea has a long history of about 5,000 years. Koreans speak one common language and have a deep respect for culture and scholarship throughout her long history. Koreans use a unique phonetic alphabet called "Hangeul", which turns out to be the most efficient alphabet in the digital communication era (only ten keys are needed to transmit messages through cellular phones with three keys designated for all vowels). Hangeul is very mathematical and was invented by King Sejong the Great in 1446. It is very easy to write by simply following the rules of composition.

In the year 372, our forefathers founded the "Taehak" (literally great learning), which is the earliest educational institute in the Korean peninsula. Since then there have been various forms of public and private educational institutes. Among private academic institutes, Sosu Sewon is the most notable. This Confucian academy was established in 1543 and lasted until the end of 19th century. The building of this academy has been well preserved retaining most of its old structures. It is a worthwhile place to visit especially for educators.  

Mathematics in Korean School

Mathematics is a compulsory subject up to the first year of high school in Korea. For the last two years of high school, Mathematics is an elective course but most university bound students take Mathematics to help them prepare for university entrance examination. Since most Koreans strive for university admission, in theory one would expect that most Koreans are well prepared for mathematics. However, in reality, the opposite is true. After their graduation from high school the vast majority of graduates abandon Mathematics completely. Mathematics ranks as the most hated subject for school children during their school years. People tend to think that Mathematics is only needed for the university entrance examination and is considered useless for their daily lives. Of course, this is completely wrong. Mathematics is everywhere in our daily lives in some form or another but it operates invisibly, because it is the principle behind every modern gadget or invention. During the forthcoming ICME in Seoul, we will do our best to arouse public interest in Mathematics. We have to let them know and feel that Mathematics is always around us to be used somewhere in our daily lives. The ICME-12 LOC is planning many activities related to the popularization of Mathematics.

ICME in Korea

During the ICME, scientific activities will be of the utmost importance. However, besides scientific activities, we hope you will be delighted to learn more about Korean culture and perhaps be able to pronounce a few words in "Hangeul" on street signs and menus in the restaurants. Come to Korea to join us to promote Mathematics education. 

Sung Je Cho, Member-at-large, ICMI-EC, Chair, International Program Committee of ICME-12, sungjcho at snu.ac.kr


2.  ICME-12: TSGs, WSGs, posters, registration

More than 1100 papers have been submitted to the 37 Topic Study Groupss and are being reviewed now. More than 45 proposals for Workshops and Sharing groups have been received and the IPC is analyzing them. More than 300 proposals for posters were received and they are also being reviewed. Soon there will be decisions on the acceptance of them all.

The 3rd Announcement for ICME-12 has been published and all can download it. Just go to the congress website


Registration for the Congress is available at ICME-12 registration webpage. Registration is valid only when accompanied by confirmation of payment. Note that 10% of the registration fee is directed to the Solidarity Fund. Further contributions are welcome and can be indicated upon registration. Those who register for the meeting of MCG-The International Group for Mathematical Creativity and Giftedness or for the meeting of HPM-the International Study Group on the Relations between the History and Pedagogy of Mathematics, to be held in Korea, will have a 20% discount off registration fee for ICME-12. To have this special discount rate, you should register at the conferences MCG or HPM first. Once your registration is confirmed at these conferences, you can have a discounted rate for ICME-12. You are requested to upload a receipt or a confirmation letter by MCG or HPM when you register at ICME-12.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


3.  ICME-12: Mathematical Carnival

As a part of the program directed towards children and a general public, the LOC of ICME-12 will arrange a mathematical carnival during the conference days of ICME-12. The idea is that this will attract local families, teachers and families of participants as a welcoming way to experience mathematical activities. The carnival will be operated in D1 Hall located at the very center of the COEX. The carnival will have six categories. Please consider to contribute to the following one:

Mathematical Show with Puzzles, Games and Magic
The LOC invites teachers from all countries to contribute and participate in this show program. This program includes activities that have been tried out with students in class, at mathematics fairs or other events aimed at engaging children in active participation. In this way we, mathematics educators, will also have a chance to show how outdoor activities might be used as a tool for learning mathematics while having fun.  

Hee-chan Lew, Vice Chair of the LOC and Chair of the Congress Subcommittee, hclew at knue.ac.kr


4.  ICME-12: Grants for delegates from non-affluent countries

One of the aims of the ICME congresses is to have a balanced representation from all over the world among the presenters as well as among the general participants.

In order to achieve this goal ICMI has instigated a general policy of forming a solidarity fund established by setting aside 10% of the registration fees for grants. These grants assist delegates from non-affluent countries to attend the ICMEs. An autonomous and anonymous Grants Committee, appointed by the ICMI Executive Committee, will distribute the funds  amongst the successful applicants. Priority will be given to applicants from non-affluent countries who contribute to the scientific program and to participants who are expected to be the only representative from their part of the world.

Grants will be given as partial support to registration fee, accommodation, meals and/or travel costs. All potential applicants are advised to apply for funding from other sources  as well. Participants who consider themselves eligible for an ICME-12 grant are encouraged to send a grant application to the Grants Committee, if access to the Internet is available.

Applications should be sent as soon as possible and so that they are received no later than February 15, 2012.

Professor Hyun Yong Shin
Chair of LOC of the ICME-12
Department of Mathematics Education
Korea National University of Education
Cheong-Won, Chungbuk,


5. ICME-12: The Fifth appetizer

The 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education will be held in Seoul, Korea, on July 8-15, 2012. This Congress is the main event organized by ICMI and it is expected that more than 3000 professionals will attend. In order to open the appetite for this Congress and encourage people to participate and register early, we will begin publishing some appetizers for the plenary lectures and plenary panels. I thank all the people involved for the effort made to anticipate what they might say at the Congress.

Quality teaching of mathematical modelling – what do we know, what can we do?

by Werner Blum (Professor of Didactics of Mathematics at the Universität Kassel, Germany, from 1995 to 2001 President of the GDM-Society for the Didactics of Mathematics, Archimedes 2006 prize of the MNU-German Association for the Advancement of Math and Science Education)
Mathematical modelling is one of the topics in mathematics education that has been discussed most intensely during the last few decades. There are many reasons why modelling, that is translating between the real world and mathematics, ought to be an integral part of the mathematics school curriculum from the first to the final grade. However, in everyday mathematics classrooms all over the world, modelling still has a far less prominent role than is desirable, and students all over the world have difficulties with modelling tasks (compare, for instance, the PISA results). The main reason for these problems and deficiencies is that modelling is a cognitively demanding activity, both for learners and for teachers.

However, there are a lot of sound, theory-based empirical results that show how modelling may indeed be successfully taught and learned. To this end, teaching has, generally speaking, to obey certain well-established quality criteria. In my presentation, I will put together some of the most important criteria and show some examples (at the secondary level) of how teachers have successfully implemented such criteria in their classrooms and students have subsequently improved their modelling competency to a considerable extent. Finally, I will draw some consequences from those findings and formulate some obvious implications for teaching mathematical modelling in secondary schools.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


6. ICME-13 will be in Hamburg in 2016

As reported earlier, the Executive Committee of ICMI has received by November 2010 three bids for hosting ICME-13 in 2016, namely (in alphabetical order) from

--  Czech Republic (Prague)
--  Germany  (Hamburg)
--  South Africa  (Durban)

Site visits were organised in May and September this year, the visiting team being composed of ICMI President Bill Barton, Vice-President Mina Teicher and myself.  The visits allowed the Executive Committee to appreciate the quality of the local infrastructure, congress center or university, the accommodation namely cheap accommodation at university residences or the like, the support the project was receiving locally and nationally as well as the ideas, composition and expertise of the organising team. A photo reporting of the three site visits is available here:

Durban: https://picasaweb.google.com/jaimecarvalho/ICME13SiteVisit1Durban?authuser=0&feat=directlink
Prague: https://picasaweb.google.com/jaimecarvalho/ICME13SiteVisit2Prague?authuser=0&feat=directlink
Hamburg: https://picasaweb.google.com/jaimecarvalho/ICME13SiteVisit3Hamburg?authuser=0&feat=directlink

The bids were thoroughly discussed by the ICMI EC at its meeting in Beijing last February; after the site visits additional requests were made to the three bidding countries that had the opportunity to revise the bids accordingly.  The final decision was made through an email discussion that took place between October and December 2011.  The very high quality of the three proposed bids is a very good sign for the vitality of ICMI, but only one site could be chosen. In consequence the task of the Executive Committee was especially difficult.

The ICMI Executive Committee is pleased to announce its decision of accepting the invitation from Germany.  We hope that the international mathematical education community will enthusiastically receive the invitation of our German colleagues for 2016, so to make ICME-13 a huge international event that will advance studies, interest and support for mathematics education all over the world.  The precise dates of ICME-13 will be announced later and a German delegation will be present at ICME-12 to provide information on the 2016 ICME.

The ICMI Executive Committee wishes to express its deepest gratitude to the mathematics education and mathematics communities in the three bidding countries, and especially to the three persons who chaired the committees that prepared the bids, namely Professors Jarmila Novotna (Czech Republic), Gabriele Kaiser (Germany) and Mamokgethi Setati (South Africa).  The care they took coordinating the team that prepared the bids and organised the site visits deserves our recognizance. It is our hope that the enthusiasm of those who supported these bids will reflect not only in ICME-13 (and ICME-12!), but in future ICMEs as well.

The ICMI Executive Committee wishes to stress that since one of the current EC members is from one of bidding countries --- namely Member-at-Large Renuka Vithal (South Africa) ---, she has taken no part in the discussion or decision-making about ICME-16, nor have had access to the competing bids.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


7. IPC for ICMI Study 22 has first meeting

The IPC-International Programme Committee of ICMI Study 22 on Task Design had a meeting at Oxford University January 9 and 10, in order to prepare the Discussion Document for this Study and also prepare the Study Conference that will take place in july 2013. The IPC is

	• Anne Watson (UK) (Co-chair)
	• Minoru Ohtani (Japan) (Co-chair)
	• Janet Ainley (UK)
	• Michiel Doorman (Netherlands)
	• Claire Margolinas (France)
	• Carolyn Kieran (Canada)
	• Glenda Lappan (US)
	• Allen Leung (Hong Kong)
	• Peter Sullivan (Australia)
	• Janete Bolite Frant (Brazil)
	• Yang Yudong (China)
	• Jaime Carvalho e Silva (Portugal) (ICMI S-G ex officio)
	• TBA (ICMI liaison) 

Michèle Artique (France), member of the EC of ICMI, was present in the meeting as ICMI liaison. The work has been progressing well and we expect the discussion document to be available in three months.

Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Secretary-General of ICMI, jaimecs at mat.uc.pt


8. Database Project Researcher 
This is an opportunity for one or more researchers to continue the ICMI Database project. The aim is to build and update a database of the mathematics curricula all over the world.

For the first phase of this project we asked all ICMI representatives to send us a link to the webpage(s) of their country where anybody can find the official mathematics curricula at all levels of instruction (pre-primary, primary, elementary, middle, secondary, vocational, etc.).

We have for the moment received information on the following countries:  Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, United States of America and United Kingdom. Information about the project and data: http://www1.mathunion.org/index.php?id=918

This voluntary position would suit someone with an interest in mathematics education. The research would include collecting further data from new countries and update the existing links (if necessary). The researcher is invited to use this data to publish reports under his/her name, organise small seminars or, in the case of multiple researchers, form a research group or panel.

Enquiries should be directed to Lena Koch, IMU Secretariat: icmi.cdc.administrator at mathunion.org


9. Pipeline Researcher & Individual Country Data Collectors

This is an opportunity for one or more researchers to continue the IMU/ICMI Pipeline project. The aim is to collect and analyze comprehensive data on the flow of mathematical science students from school to university to workplace on a worldwide basis and study the issues associated with this flow. 

Up to this point data significant data had been collected for 12 countries from 1960 to the present and the first report was written in 2009. The data collected so far includes: School leavers qualifications AND/OR cohort of students studying mathematics, Bachelor data (Mathematical Sciences & All subjects), PhD Data (Mathematical Sciences & All subjects), Population data 20-24 year old, Destinations of mathematical science graduates by industry, Employment status of mathematical science graduates – employed / study / other, Number of graduates of senior secondary mathematics teacher training programmes.

This voluntary position would suit someone with an interest in mathematics education. The research would include collecting further data from new countries and completing the existing datasets. 

The researcher is invited to publish further reports under his or her name, organise small seminars or, in the case of multiple researchers, form a research group or panel.

More information about the project:

Enquiries should be directed to Lena Koch, IMU Secretariat: icmi.cdc.administrator at mathunion.org


10. News from IMU


The IMU and the ICIAM have created a joint working group to
 study the issue issue of why a rating of
 mathematical journals is desirable. It has
 finished its work and come up with a report which is on IMU's
 Web page at the following URL:

The working group submitted a detailed
 proposal for IMU/ICIAM journal rating. Before going ahead
 and taking any further action the IMU and ICIAM want to
 explore opinions on a larger scale and get as much input
 as possible from the mathematical community. That is why
 a Blog on Mathematical Journals has been installed:

Everyone interested can submit his/her opinion through posting an
article (e-mail to: journal.blog at mathunion.org) and/or forwarding a
comment (add a comment to a posted article by typing in the "comments"
window or sending e-mail to journal.blog at mathunion.org).


IMU-NET is a newsletter from IMU whose aim us to improve communication 
between IMU and the worldwide mathematical community, by reporting 
decisions and recommendations of IMU, and  highlighting issues 
that are under discussion. There are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:

1. Click on http://www.mathunion.org/IMU-Net with a Web browser and
go to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to IMU-Net online.

2. Send an e-mail to imu-net-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. IMU will not use the list of IMU-Net
emails for any purpose other than sending IMU-Net, and will not
make it available to others.

Previous issues can be seen at:


11. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community

Creating Balance in an Unjust World Conference on Math Education and Social Justice
Mission High School in San Francisco, CA, USA, January 13-15, 2012.

EMF 2012 - Espace Mathématique Francophone,
Genève, 3-7 Février 2012

Seventh International Conference on Science, Mathematics & Technology Education:
Transformations through Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
- Towards an Innovative and Sustainable Society, Muscat, Oman, February 12-15, 2012
d.fisher at smec.curtin.edu.au

International colloquium in honour of Michele Artigue  -
-  (Professor at the Université Paris Diderot, ex-president of ICMI):
The didactics of mathematics: approaches and issues.
Paris, May 31st, June 1st and 2nd 2012.

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, July 2-6, 2012

WFNMC  Mini Conference 2012
COEX, Seoul, July 7, 2012

ICME-12 - Twelfth International Congress on Mathematical Education
COEX, Seoul, Korea, July 8-15, 2012

KSA, Busan, Korea, July 15-18, 2012

HPM 2012 History and Pedagogy of Mathematics
The HPM Satellite Meeting of ICME-12
Daejeon (Korea), July 16-20, 2012

PME Annual Conference
Taipei, Taiwan, July 18-22, 2012

Statistics Education Section of Eleventh Iranian Statistical Conference
Iran University of Science and Technology, August 28-30, 2012
info: isc11 at iust.ac.ir

EARCOME6 - The Sixth East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education,
Thailand, March, 2013



There are two ways of subscribing to ICMI News:

1. Click on http://www.mathunion.org/index.php?id=674 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:


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