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2011 ICMI Award Winners

The Felix Klein Medal: Alan H. Schoenfeld

Citation for the 2011 ICMI Felix Klein Award to Professor Alan H. Schoenfeld

2011-Schoenfeld.jpgIt is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards Committee hereby announces that the Felix Klein Medal for 2011 is given to the Elizabeth and Edward Connor Professor of Education and Affiliated Professor of Mathematics, Alan H. Schoenfeld, University of California at Berkeley, USA, in recognition of his more than thirty years of sustained, consistent, and outstanding lifetime achievements in mathematics education research and development. Alan Schoenfeld, a research mathematician by training, developed his keen interest in mathematics education early on in his career. He quickly emerged as a pioneer and leader in research on mathematical problem solving and, more broadly, on mathematical thinking, teaching, and learning. His scholarly work shows a remarkable life-long pursuit of deeper understanding of the nature and development of mathematical learning and teaching at different educational levels. Starting with work on mathematical problem solving in the late 1970s, he broadened his interests in the mid-1980s to focus on mathematical teaching and teachers’ proficiency. His work has helped to shape research and theory development in these areas, making a seminal impact on subsequent research. Alan Schoenfeld has also done fundamental theoretical and applied work that connects research and practice in assessment, mathematical curriculum, diversity in mathematics education, research methodology, and teacher education. His work is internationally acclaimed across disciplines with more than 200 highly-cited publications in mathematics education, mathematics, educational research, and educational psychology. His scholarship is of the highest quality, reflected in esteemed recognition from mathematical, scientific, teaching, and educational organizations over the years.

Another significant component of Alan Schoenfeld’s achievements is the mentoring he has provided to graduate students and scholars; he has nurtured a generation of new scholars who generate increasing impact on the field of mathematics education research, both nationally and internationally. Alan Schoenfeld’s achievements also include a remarkable amount of outstanding work for national, regional, and international communities in education, mathematics, and mathematics education. He has provided important leadership in prestigious professional associations and joint research endeavors, both nationally and internationally, and has been an invited keynote speaker at numerous conferences around the globe.

Alan Schoenfeld began his career as a research mathematician. After obtaining a B.A. in mathematics from Queen’s College, New York, in 1968, and an M.S in mathematics from Stanford University in 1969, he began his doctoral studies in mathematics at Stanford, earning a Ph.D. in 1973. He became a lecturer at the University of California at Davis in 1973, and in 1975 a lecturer and research mathematician in the Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education (SESAME) at the University of California at Berkeley. During that time at Berkeley, he became interested in mathematics education research. This interest has kept him in the field of mathematics education for the rest of his professional career. After academic appointments at Hamilton College (1978-1981) and the University of Rochester (1981-1984), Alan Schoenfeld was invited back to U.C. Berkeley in 1985 to develop the mathematics education group. He has been a full professor since 1987, and now has a named chair in education and is an affiliated professor in the mathematics department. He has also been a Special Professor of the University of Nottingham since 1994.

Alan Schoenfeld’s high-quality work and dedicated effort have earned him leadership positions in renowned professional associations in education, mathematics, and mathematics education. He has been, among his many other leadership roles, an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Education since 1994, a member of its Executive Board in 1995, and Vice President in 2001. He also served as the President Elect/President/Past President of American Educational Research Association (AERA) from 1997 to 2000. In addition, he has been instrumental in shaping the professional development of mathematics teachers by, for example, his service to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics where he led the writing team for the high school standards of the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, published in 2000.

It is, of course, impossible to point to more than a few of Alan Schoenfeld’s publications. Suffice it to mention his highly-cited, groundbreaking book, Mathematical Problem Solving (1985), his chapter on cognition and metacognition, Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense-making in mathematics (in the 1992 Handbook for Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning), his rigorous study of the development and learning of a complex mathematical idea, Learning (1993, co-authored with J.P. Smith and A.A. Arcavi), his finely-detailed work on teacher decision making, Toward a theory of teaching-in-context (published in Issues in Education in 1998), and his most recent book, How We Think (2010). Alan Schoenfeld’s seminal theoretical contributions are all based on, and buttressed by, long sequences of carefully designed experiments and their exhaustive analysis.

In summary, Alan H. Schoenfeld is an eminently worthy recipient of the Felix Klein Medal for 2011.

The Hans Freudenthal Medal: Luis Radford

Citation for the 2011 ICMI Hans Freudenthal Award to Professor Luis Radford

2011-Radford.jpgIt is with great pleasure that the ICMI Awards Committee hereby announces that the Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2011 is given to Professor Luis Radford, Université Laurentienne, Canada, in recognition of the theoretically well-conceived and highly coherent research programme that he initiated and has brought to fruition over the past two decades, and which has had a significant impact on the community. His development of a semiotic-cultural theory of learning, rooted in his interest in the history of mathematics, has drawn on epistemology, semiotics, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy, and has been anchored in detailed observations of students’ algebraic activity in class. His research, which has already garnered several awards, has been documented extensively in a vast number of highly renowned scientific journals and specialized books and handbooks, as well as in numerous invited keynote presentations at international conferences. The impact of Luis Radford’s programme of research has been felt especially by the community of research in algebra teaching and learning where his theoretical and empirical work has led to significant new insights in this domain, and more broadly by the entire community of mathematics education research with his development of a groundbreaking, widely applicable theory of learning.

Further evidence of the impact of Luis Radford’s work can be found in the many mentoring workshops for graduate students he has been invited to give in several countries that include Italy, Spain, Denmark, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. As well, he has influenced teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, and representatives of ministries of education at the regional and national levels by his seminars on the implications of his research. His scholarly work has also led to prestigious invitations at the international level, such as his participation in the scientific programme of the Symposium for the ICMI Centennial “The First Century of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (1908-2008): Reflecting and Shaping the World of Mathematics Education” in Rome in 2008. In addition, he has served as associate editor of For the Learning of Mathematics and is currently an associate editor of Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Luis Radford graduated from the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala in 1977 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He then taught at that university’s Engineering School in the Department of Mathematics from 1978 to 1980. This was followed by studies at Université Louis Pasteur I, Strasbourg, France, where Luis Radford obtained a Licence in Mathematics and Fundamental Applications in 1981, a Diplôme of Advanced Studies in Mathematical Didactics in 1983, and a Doctorat de troisième cycle in Mathematical Didactics in 1985. He then returned to Guatemala where he taught as an Associate Professor at the Universidad de San Carlos in the Humanities Faculty. In 1992, he moved to Canada where he obtained a position in the School of Education at Université Laurentienne, Sudbury, Ontario, at the rank of Full Professor.

The beginnings of Luis Radford’s research programme, and the theoretical depth that was to characterize all of his work, can be traced back to the early 1990s when he initiated a study that examined the role of historical-epistemological analyses of learning within a socio-cultural perspective, and which he described in “On psychology, historical epistemology, and the teaching of mathematics: Towards a socio-cultural history of mathematics” (1997, in For the Learning of Mathematics). His work continued to evolve during the late 1990s, when he drew upon the works of Vygotsky, Bakhtin, and Voloshinov to develop a semiotic-cultural framework, a framework that was used to investigate the ways in which students use signs and endow them with meaning in their initial encounters with algebraic generalization of patterns. The journal article that is his most highly cited thus far, and which described the results of that particular phase of his research programme, is “Gestures, speech, and the sprouting of signs: A semiotic-cultural approach to students’ types of generalization” (2003, in Mathematical Thinking and Learning). The further development of his semiotic-cultural theory of learning is revealed in more recent papers where, for example, he elaborated the notion that thinking is a sensuous and sign-mediated reflective activity embodied in the corporeality of actions, gestures, and artifacts (2010, in Research in Mathematics Education) and in a chapter in which he formulated learning as a process where knowing and being are mutually constitutive (2008, in Semiotics in Mathematics Education). Luis Radford’s more than 170 publications, many of them highly cited, attest not only to the prolific nature of his research activity but also to the international interest it has attracted.

Luis Radford’s research was awarded the Université Laurentienne 2004-05 Research Excellence award. He was also nominated for the prestigious Gold Medal of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2005. His research programme was ranked first in three consecutive competitions of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Education 1): 2004-2007, 2007-2010, and 2010-2013.

In summary, Luis Radford is an eminently worthy recipient of the Hans Freudenthal Medal 2011.