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2013 ICMI Award Winners

The Felix Klein Medal: Michèle Artigue

Citation for the 2013 ICMI Felix Klein Award to Michèle ARTIGUE, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, France

2013-Artique.jpgIt is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards Committee hereby announces that the Felix Klein Medal for 2013 is given to Michèle Artigue, Emeritus Professor, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, France, in recognition of her more than thirty years of sustained, consistent, and outstanding lifetime achievements in mathematics education research and development. Michèle Artigue’s research, which was initially in the area of mathematics, progressively moved toward mathematics education during the mid-to-late 1970s. She has been a leading figure in developing and strengthening new directions of research inquiry in areas as diverse as advanced mathematical thinking, the role of technological tools in the teaching and learning of mathematics, institutional considerations in the professional development of teachers, the articulation of didactical theory and methodology, and the networking of theoretical frameworks in mathematics education research. Michèle Artigue’s theoretical contributions to the instrumental approach to tool use and her elaboration of the methodological tool of didactic engineering have had a significant impact and are but two examples of the way in which her work has advanced the field’s collective expertise. Her research is internationally acclaimed with more than 100 groundbreaking articles and books published nationally and internationally, and with no fewer than 40 invited lectures outside France within the past five years alone. A seminal characteristic of Michèle Artigue’s research is that it is always supported by deep mathematical and epistemological reflection. This reflective orientation, combined with her remarkable ability to build bridges between various issues, to identify fruitful directions for research, to clarify and discuss different approaches, and ultimately to enrich theoretical frameworks, make her contributions to the field of mathematics education research extraordinary in both their scope and coherence.

Michèle Artigue’s distinguished scholarly work is matched by a record of outstanding service to the international mathematics education community. In addition to the strong leadership she has demonstrated within the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), she has played a central role in ICMI’s program of international cooperation, the Developing Countries Strategic Group. She has also built relationships with UNESCO for both the International Mathematical Union and ICMI, which have given rise to her authoring the document “Challenges in Basic Mathematics Education”, published in several languages by UNESCO, and serving as ICMI liaison officer for the development and launching of the Capacity and Networking Programme. Her international cooperation activity beyond ICMI has ranged from advising the European projects Fibonacci and PRIMAS to collaborating in program development with researchers in Spain, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. At the national level, Michèle Artigue has been active in the Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique, in the French Commission for the Teaching of Mathematics (a regional ICMI sub-commission), and within her own university. Another component of Michèle Artigue’s service to the international community has been her editorial work over several years for the International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, as well as her current co-editorship of the Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education, and her participation in the editorial boards of several prestigious research journals. 

Michèle Artigue obtained her Ph.D. in mathematical logic in 1972 from the Université Paris 7. This was followed by a Doctorat d’État ès Sciences in 1984 and the Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches in 1987 from the Université Paris 7. During the years 1970-1991, she was Lecturer and then Maître de Conférences at the Université Paris 7, where she taught mathematics to undergraduate students. In 1991, she was named Professor of the IUFM (University Institute for Teacher Training) at Reims, where she remained until 1999, in charge of the training of future secondary school mathematics teachers. In 1999, she returned to the mathematics department of the Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, as Professor and also Head of the Institut de Recherche sur l’Enseignement des Mathématiques. In September 2010, she was named Emeritus Professor.

When Michèle Artigue joined the newly created Université Paris 7, she was one of the first members of its Institute for Research on Mathematics Teaching (IREM). There she became interested in the developing theory of didactical situations and, for the thesis of her Doctorat d’État, conducted the first study in didactic engineering in an “ordinary” school. She found that the classroom as a dynamical system defied the then-current implicit models of reproducibility of didactical situations and thus was kindled her passion for theory building. When her research turned toward the integration of digital tools into the learning of upper secondary and university level mathematics, the need for theoretical foundations in this area was soon apparent to her. She and her research team sought to generate a framework that would avoid the traditional “technical-conceptual cut.” Drawing on Chevallard’s anthropological theory of the didactic and Rabardel’s cognitive ergonomic approach, the framework of the instrumental approach to tool use emerged. Further theoretical development was to occur when she collaborated on the two successive European projects, TELMA and ReMath. One of her early initiatives within the ReMath project was the formulation of an integrative theoretical frame, using for the first time the language of networking of theories. This construct is one that she has been continuing to develop both theoretically and methodologically with a group of CERME researchers. 

Some of Michèle Artigue’s most highly-cited publications include: the now-classic article on the use of digital tools in mathematics education, Learning mathematics in a CAS environment: the genesis of a reflection about instrumentation and the dialectics between technical and conceptual work(2002); her seminal article on didactic engineering, Ingénierie didactique (1989); the article on epistemology and didactics, Epistémologie et didactique (1990); and her chapter on university-level teaching and learning, What can we learn from educational research at the university level? (2001). In addition to her published contributions, Michèle Artigue has supervised more than two dozen Ph.D.s and Habilitations à diriger les recherches, and has mentored several young researchers, especially from developing countries.

In summary, Michèle Artigue is an eminently worthy recipient of the Felix Klein Medal for 2013.

The Hans Freudenthal Medal: Frederick Koon Shing Leung

Citation for the 2013 Frederick Koon Shing LEUNG, The University of Hong Kong, SAR China

2013-Leung.jpgIt is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards Committee hereby announces that the Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2013 is given to Professor Frederick K. S. Leung of The University of Hong Kong, in recognition of his research in comparative studies of mathematics education and on the influence of culture on mathematics teaching and learning. His groundbreaking work, for which he is internationally known, is the utilization of the perspective of the Confucian Heritage Culture to explain the superior mathematics achievement of East Asian students in international studies such as the IEA Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies and the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment. His research extends to the use of the same cultural perspective to explain characteristics of classroom teaching in East Asia, and more recently in explaining differences in teacher knowledge between East Asian and Western countries. His research has contributed significantly to the cultural perspective of mathematics education and has produced a framework for understanding the relation between culture and mathematics education.

Frederick Leung’s research and professional activities have had an important impact on policies and practices in mathematics education in East Asian countries and beyond. He has been a pivotal figure in promoting understanding between mathematics educators in the East Asian region and the rest of the world through, for example, his co-chairing of the 13th ICMI Study on “Mathematics Education in Different Cultural Traditions: A Comparative Study of East Asia and the West” and his numerous research publications in comparative studies of East Asia and the West. In the East Asian region, he has been instrumental in organizing the East Asia Regional Conferences in Mathematics Education and has been the liaison person in many initiatives of collaboration among mathematics education scholars in East Asia, and between scholars in East Asia and the West. Frederick Leung has been invited to be the keynote speaker in major mathematics education conferences in the region and around the world. He has also served on prestigious international committees, as well as on the editorial teams of the Second and Third International Handbooks on Mathematics Education.

Frederick Leung’s degrees include a B.Sc. (Mathematics) in 1977 and M.Ed. (Testing, Measurement and Evaluation) in 1984 from The University of Hong Kong, and a Ph.D. (Mathematics Education) in 1992 from the University of London, Institute of Education. From 1977 to 1982, he taught secondary school mathematics. He obtained the position of Lecturer at The University of Hong Kong in 1982, then Senior Lecturer in 1992, and Professor in 2006. Frederick Leung was awarded a Senior Fulbright scholarship in 2003 for research at UCLA and, from the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong, both the Outstanding Researcher award in 2006 and the Outstanding Researcher Student Supervisor award in 2008. 

Early in his academic career Frederick Leung became interested in comparative studies of mathematics education. His master’s thesis, part of which was published in Educational Studies in Mathematics (1987), compared the mathematics curricula in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. This research interest was further developed in his Ph.D. study where he compared the mathematics curricula of China, Hong Kong, and England. He found that the data could not be fully accounted for without reference to the similarities and differences among the cultures of the three sites. In the 1990s, Frederick Leung participated in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) as Principal Investigator and National Research Co-ordinator for Hong Kong. He recognized that the cultural explanation he used for his Ph.D. research afforded an appropriate framework to interpret the superior performance of the East Asian countries in the TIMSS study. Equally important, this framework of interpretation provided East Asian countries with a basis for exploring their own mathematics education identity, described in his highly-cited paper: In Search of an East Asian Identity in Mathematics Education (2001).

Frederick Leung’s research evolved from comparative study of student achievement in mathematics to comparative study of mathematics teaching in different countries, and led to the extension of his cultural explanation of mathematics achievement to interpreting results of classroom studies. An early publication reflecting this direction was his 1995 article: The Mathematics Classroom in Beijing, Hong Kong and London. His subsequent involvement in two international classroom video studies, the TIMSS 1999 Video Study and the Learner’s Perspective Study, led to deeper development of his cultural perspective, as illustrated by his several publications related to these studies (e.g., Some Characteristics of East Asian Mathematics Classrooms Based on Data from the TIMSS 1999 Video Study, published in 2005). He elaborated further on the characteristics of the Confucian Heritage Culture in relation to mathematics teaching and learning in his scholarly presentation at the 2012 ICME-12 plenary panel. Frederick Leung’s impressive research contributions include 21 funded research projects and more than 60 books, book chapters, and journal articles.   

Frederick Leung’s work has opened up a new dimension of looking at differences in mathematics achievement and classroom practices from the perspective of culture. His outstanding achievement in research, his contribution to mathematics education in the East Asian region, and his promotion of understanding between mathematics education communities in East Asian and western countries attest to the merit of Frederick Leung’s receiving the Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2013.