[ICMI-News] ICMI News 2: February 2008

Jaime Carvalho e Silva jaimecs at mat.uc.pt
Tue Feb 19 17:28:37 CET 2008

ICMI News 2: February 2008

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the 
ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical 
Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica, 
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


1.  Challenges for Mathematics Educators in 2008
2.  Symposium on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of ICMI
3.  PME welcomes you!
4.  Post-ICME-11 Workshop
5.  ICME-12 (2012) to be held in Korea
6.  ICMI Study 19: Proof and Proving in Mathematics Education
7.  Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
8.  Historical vignettes: How the first ICMI 
study was born, a personal recollection
9.  Subscribing to ICMI News


1.  Challenges for Mathematics Educators in 2008

This newsletter will appear immediately prior to 
the ICMI Centennial Symposium hosted
by the Italian community of mathematicians and mathematics educators, see
http://www.unige.ch/math/EnsMath/Rome2008. In her 
first Editorial, Michèle Artigue mentioned
the inaugural president, Felix Klein, who served 
from 1908 until his death at age 76 in 1925.
Henri Fehr was the first secretary until 1939. 
These two men served together for more than
ten years in the formative years of our organization.
What exciting but difficult work it must have 
been. On the one hand they were at the forefront
of a new endeavour, producing an international 
voice in the field for the first time. On the
other hand, communications must have been 
difficult, both had many other responsibilities,
and they lived through difficult political times.
Our work is still exciting. New insights and 
research results surprise and stimulate us. New
areas of investigation continue to emerge. 
However our current challenges are both different
and parallel, both smaller and larger.
We are challenged by the volume and speed of 
communications rather than by delays.
However we are faced with a new communication 
challenge, namely, to reach all those
who have a stake in mathematics education. Klein 
and Fehr's world was smaller. We now
want to reach out to primary school teachers and 
policy makers as well as to mathematicians.
We are concerned to involve developing countries 
like Niue, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Namibia
as well as those of Europe and North America. 
This is not just a matter of finding efficient
country representatives, although that is 
especially important this year with the General 
in Mexico in July. We also need to find the voice 
that ensures that we can hear each other.
All those involved in mathematics education 
remain challenged by the variety of their 
Our enthusiasm for our work, other institutional 
duties, and/or our full email In-Box should not
result in work-life imbalance. This is not just a 
question of physical and mental health, but we
risk developing insular perspectives on our work 
if we are not involved in a wider world. I see
dissociation from everyday life as a serious 
danger. Even within our work I often hear people
regret that they have little time to be in the 
classroom, or to read enough, or to support or
collaborate sufficiently with their colleagues. 
There are no easy answers to these stresses.
With respect to the politics of international 
collaboration, the challenge remains but it is 
more subtle.
I suspect that we are more challenged by cultural 
misunderstanding (talking past each other like
ships in the night) than by the impact of 
geo-politics. It will require attention, 
tolerance, and effort
to meet this challenge. But what a great 
opportunity we have to work towards such 
in Monterrey in July.
I look forward to seeing you there.

Bill Barton, Vice-President, ICMI, b.barton at auckland.ac.nz


2. Symposium on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of ICMI

The First Century of the International 
Commission_on Mathematical Instruction (1908-2008)
Reflecting and Shaping the World of Mathematics Education
Accademia dei Lincei (Wednesday to Friday, March 5-7)
and Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana (Saturday, March 8)

In Rome in March 2008 there will be a symposium 
to celebrate the centennial of the  ICMI
(International Commission on Mathematical 
Instruction). The ICMI was founded in Rome in 1908
during the International Mathematics Congress 
with the aim of supporting and expanding the
interest of mathematicians in teaching in 
schools. Its first president was Felix Klein.
Something similar was attempted in many different 
subjects but only in mathematics was there
success in obtaining widespread international 
collaboration in order face problems relating to
the social image of mathematics, to difficulties 
in learning and to links with research and 
The convention for the centennial to be held in 
Rome foresees a selected group of invited
participants (about 180 people). It will be of 
great importance: starting out from a historical 
of the principal themes regarding the activities 
of the ICMI (reforms in the teaching of the 
teacher training, relations with mathematicians 
and with research, and so on), debate will focus 
identifying the future directions of research in 
mathematics education and the possible action to 
taken to improve the level of scientific culture in the various countries.
As has always been the case with the ICMI, the 
scientific committee, which met from 3rd - 5th
February 2006 at the Department of Mathematics at 
the "La Sapienza" University of Rome, is 
in its membership. It is composed of researchers 
who are well-known figures in the field of the 
of mathematics, both for the research that they 
have carried out and for the institutional 
positions they
hold. The Organising Committee is made up of 
professors from Italian Departments of 
The 'Enciclopedia Italiana' will publish the proceedings.
The web site 
contains the program, the
composition of the IPC and of the organizing 
committee, the summaries of the plenary talks and 
of the
working groups, the list of the participants and the rich History of ICMI.

Ferdinando Arzarello, chair of International 
Programme Committee, ferdinando.arzarello at unito.it


3. PME welcomes you!

As an affiliated organization of ICMI, the 
International Group for the Psychology of 
Education (PME) is a very active academic 
community. PME came into existence at ICME 3 in 
Every year PME hosts an annual conference, 
following the first meeting that was held in 
Utrecht, The
Netherlands in 1977. A joint conference of PME32 
and PME-NA XXX (a chapter of PME at North America)
will be held from 17th to 21st of July, 2008, at 
Morelia, Michoacán, México. Each PME conference 
a specific theme. The theme of PME32 & PME-NA XXX 
is Mathematical Ideas: History, Education and
Cognition. Based on the theme, plenary speakers 
and plenary panellists are invited members of PME,
with some non-member experts. At the conference, 
PME members' research can be presented as
'Research Reports', 'Short Oral Communications', 
and 'Posters'. Members with the same interests
can organize 'Working Sessions' and 'Discussion 
Groups'. For contemporary research issues, members
are also able to form teams to conduct 'Research Forums'.

The major goals of PME are:
i.	to promote international contact and 
exchange of scientific information in 
the field of mathematical education;
ii.	to promote and stimulate 
interdisciplinary research in the aforesaid area; 
iii.	to further a deeper and more correct 
understanding of the psychological and
other aspects of teaching and learning 
mathematics and the implications thereof.
Based on PME members' work during the last thirty 
years, the PME Handbook on the Psychology of
Mathematics Education was published in 2006. 
Focusing on the contents of the handbook, the 
Paolo Boero and Ángel Gutiérrez, will run one of 
the four PME sessions at ICME 11.

The topics and presenters of the other three PME sessions are::

o	Mathematics Teacher Education
  Peter Sullivan and Barbara Jaworski

o	Affect, equity and diversity
  Joanne R. Becker and Ferdinand Rivera

o	Technology and Mathematics Education
  Colleen Vale and Carolyn Kieran

The four sessions are representative of the work 
of PME, and the presenters are all active PME 
Participants of ICME 11 are welcome to attend all 
four PME sessions. In particular, PME is 
participants of ICME 11 to come to Morelia to attend PME32 and PME-NA XXX.

Fou-Lai LIN, President of PME, linfl at math.ntnu.edu.tw


4. Post-ICME-11 Workshop

Invitation to Attend One-day Workshop
Classroom Assessment: The Impact on Teaching and Learning in
Non-University Tertiary Institutions

Sadie Bragg, a member of the United States 
National Commission on Mathematics Instruction 
and a co-chair with George Ekol (Kyambogo 
University, Uganda) for DG 23- Current Problems 
Challenges in Non-University Tertiary Mathematics 
Education (NUTI) at ICME -11, will lead a one-day
workshop entitled, "Classroom Assessment: The 
Impact on Teaching and Learning in NUTI," on 
July 14, 2008, after the ICME Congress.   Marilyn 
Mays, a former member of USNCMI, and Cheryl 
the Executive Director of the American 
Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges 
(AMATYC), will be

The workshop is funded by The United States' 
National Science Foundation and co-sponsored by 
USNCMI and AMATYC.  It is designed to explore 
further the topic of classroom assessment and 
will be
an outgrowth of the DG-23 discussion related to 
this issue.   Participation is by invitation only 
and will
include invitees from several of the countries 
represented at the Congress.   DG-23 
will be given preference for selection for the 
workshop.  Note that the number of seats 
available is limited. 
Those invited to attend will be funded for two 
additional nights of lodging (July 13 and 14, 
2008) and some
meals.   No funding is available for travel expenses (e.g. airfare, taxi, etc.)

For more information about participating in the 
workshop, contact Sadie Bragg, Professor of 
and Provost, Borough of Manhattan Community 
College, The City University of New York at
sbragg at bmcc.cuny.edu.  (Please place ICME-11 
after Congress Workshop in the subject line.)    

Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca


5.  ICME-12 (2012) to be held in Korea

Three bids for hosting the Twelfth International 
Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-12) in 
have been submitted to the Executive Committee of 
ICMI, namely (in alphabetical order) from
--  China  (Shanghai)
--  Korea  (Seoul)
--  South Africa  (Durban)
Site visits were organised early in 2007, the 
visiting team being composed of ICMI President 
Michèle Artigue,
Vice-President Bill Barton and myself.  The bids 
were thoroughly discussed by the ICMI EC at its 
meeting in
London last June, which led to requests for 
additional pieces of information from the bidding 
countries.  The
final decision was made through an email 
discussion that took place between October and 
December 2007.
The high quality of the three proposed bids made 
the decision task especially difficult.

The ICMI Executive Committee is pleased to 
announce its decision of accepting the invitation 
from Korea.
We hope that the international mathematical 
education community will enthusiastically receive 
the invitation
of our Korean colleagues for 2012, so to make 
ICME-12 a memorable event from Korean, Asiatic and
international perspectives.  The precise dates of 
ICME-12 will be announced later and a Korean 
will be present at ICME-11 to provide information on the 2012 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 Jianpan Wang (China), Sung Je Cho 
and Renuka Vithal (South Africa).  It goes much 
beyond lip-service to say how impressed the ICMI 
was by the high professionalism shown in the 
preparation of the dossiers and the dedication of 
the bidding
teams. It is our hope that the enthusiasm of 
those who supported these bids will reflect not 
only in ICME-12
(and ICME-11!), but in future ICMEs as well.

The ICMI Executive Committee wishes to stress 
that since two of the current EC members are from 
one of
bidding countries --- namely Vice-President Jill 
Adler (South Africa) and Member-at-Large 
Frederick Leung
(China / Hong Kong) ---, they have taken no part 
in the discussion or decision-making about 
ICME-12, nor
have had access to the competing bids.

Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca


6. ICMI Study 19: Proof and Proving in Mathematics Education

The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) announces
its next ICMI Study: Proof and Proving in Mathematics Education.

The Study Conference will be held in Taipei, 
Taiwan, from May 10 to May 15, 2009.

The International Program Committee (IPC) invites individuals or groups to
submit original contributions. A submission should represent a significant
contribution to knowledge about learning and teaching proof. It may address
questions from one or more of the study themes, or further issues relating to
these, but it should identify its primary focus. 
The Study themes are set out in
the Discussion Document which is available in the "conference program"
section of the ICMI Study 19 website (still under construction but functional)
http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/ocs/index.php?cf=8 (or via Google: 'ICMI 19').

Submissions will be a maximum of 6 pages, including references and figures,
written in English, the language of the conference. Further technical details
about the format of submissions will be available on the Study website.

Important dates:

By 30 June 2008:
Potential authors upload their papers to the conference website.
By 15 November 2008: 
Potential authors receive the result of the refereeing
process. Invitations to participate in the conference are sent to authors whose
papers are accepted.

International Program Committee

Gila Hanna (Canada), co-chair; Michael de Villiers (South Africa), co-chair
Ferdinando Arzarello (Italy); Tommy Dreyfus 
(Israel); Viviane Durand-Guerrier (France);
Hans Niels Jahnke (Germany); Fou-Lai Lin (Taiwan); Annie Selden (USA);
David Tall (UK); Oleksiy Yevdokimov (Australia); 
Bernard R. Hodgson (Canada), ex officio

ICMI Executive Advisors: Hyman Bass (USA); Mariolina Bartolini-Bussi (Italy)

Gila Hanna, co-Chair of the International 
Programme Committee, ghanna at oise.utoronto.ca


7. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community

The 13th International Seminar on Education of Talented Children in Mathematics
Soongsil University, 511 Sangdo-dong, Dongjak-gu, 
Seoul, Korea, February 23, 2008
yhchoe1940 at yahoo.co.kr

Symposium on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of ICMI
Rome, Italy, March 5-8, 2008

2008 Conference on Math Education and Social Justice
"Creating Balance in an Unjust World"
Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, USA, April 4-6, 2008

Future Curricular Trends in School Algebra and Geometry
Univ. Chicago, USA, May 2-4, 2008

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

ICME 11 - Mexico 2008
11th International Congress on Mathematical Education
Monterrey, Mexico, July 6 - 13, 2008.

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

PME32 & PME-NA30 Mexico joint conference
Morelia, Mexico, July 17-21 2008.
PME33: Thessaloniki - Greece, July 19-24, 2009
PME34: Univ. Fed. Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - July 2010

10 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

TIME-2008: Technology and its Integration in Mathematics Education
Tshwane Univ. of Tech., Buffelspoort, South Africa, September 22-26, 2008

"Models in Developing Mathematics Education"
The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project
Dresden, Saxony, Germany, September 11-17, 2009
<mailto:arogerson at inetia.pl>arogerson at inetia.pl


8. Historical vignettes: How the first ICMI study 
was born, a personal recollection

Let me go back far into the past.
In 1948 a famous British biologist, 
J.B.S.Haldane, gave in Paris a lecture on 
for a few French students, and I was among them. 
He was a marxist thinker and had
large views on many subjects, including 
mathematics. A few sentences of his struck
me for life. The computers were new and heavy, but Haldane had a prophetic view
on their possible influence on the evolution of 
mathematics. Solving an equation, he said,
would be more and more finding good algorithms 
for numerical solutions. This would apply
to functional equations as well, and change our 
views on functions. Functions as they are
taught, 'elementary' or 'specia' functions, are 
all tabulated functions; they were
introduced and used after the Gütenberg printing 
revolution. Functions as we should see
them are linked to all possible processes of 
construction and approximation by means of
computers. All mathematical aspects would be 
modified after computers as they had been
after printing.
Hearing Haldane I immediately thought (as far as 
I remember) of my recent discoveries as
a mathematics student: series of functions, 
approximation theory, general topology. 
as they had developed in the 1900s were well 
prepared for the changes to occur in the 1950s.
Viewed from the 2000s, the intuition of Haldane 
was a very positive view on mathematics,
its role and possible evolution.
However it took some time to fully understand the 
strong linkage in both directions between
Computers and Informatics on one hand, and all 
parts of Mathematics on the other. In 1982
the International Mathematical Union (IMU), 
following a proposition of its president Lennart
Carleson, made an important step: the Rolf 
Nevanlinna Prize, parallel to the Fields Medals,
was created on "Mathematical aspects of 
Information Science". The announcement of the
Prize was made at the Warsaw International Congress in 1983.
The idea of a study on the influence of computers 
and informatics on mathematics and its
teaching was in the air. It was formalized by the 
newly elected ICMI EC, after a preliminary
meeting in Orsay at the end of 1982 where 
Geoffrey Howson as secretary, Bent Chritiansen
as vice-president and myself as president 
established the planning of actions to take during
our term, beginning in 1983, with the help of Ed 
Jacobsen, the Unesco officer in charge of
mathematical education. The general scheme of the 
studies was sketched at that time: a theme
of current interest, a program committee, a 
discussion document, an invited meeting, and a
selection of contributions for a book. We agreed 
to begin with the theme on computers and
informatics, and to consider their influence not 
only on mathematics teaching, but on
mathematics itself.
1983 and 1984 were busy years for ICMI. We had 
special sessions at the Warsaw ICM in 1983,
we had to prepare and then to held the Adelaïde 
ICME in 1984, and we were involved in several
regional congresses. But the first study took 
form. We decided to rely on the French 
chaired by Jean Martinet from Strasbourg, and on 
François Pluvinage, director of the Strasbourg
IREM (Institut de recherche sur l'enseignement 
des mathématiques) for hosting the symposium.
A first draft of the discussion document was 
written by François Pluvinage in Strasbourg, 
Cornu in Grenoble and myself in Orsay, in one 
morning, using the new communication facilities.
The real work began with a meeting of the program 
committee at the Ecole Normale Supérieure
in Paris: the committee, elected by the ICMI EC, 
consisted of R.F. Churchouse from Cardiff,
B. Cornu, A.E. Ershov from Novosobirsk, A.G. 
Howson, J.P. Kahane, J.H. van Lint from Eindhoven,
F. PLuvinage, A. Ralston from Buffalo and M. 
Yamaguti from Kyoto. The discussion document
was written between January and March, 1984, 
published in many ways and languages, in
particular in English in l'Enseignement 
Mathématique. We received many contributions, 
by the IREM in Strasbourg, we issued the 
invitations, and for a week in March, 1985, we 
the beautiful though somewhat spartan hospitality 
of our colleagues in Strasbourg, for the main
meeting. Then came the writing of the 
Proceedings, published by Cambridge University 
while the IREM kept and published a collection of 
the Supporting papers, about 600 pages. The
whole process was a fascinating experience for 
me, and a good model for the ICMI studies to
come, in which Geoffrey Howson and myself 
collaborated very closely (though in every case
the real organiser was Geoffrey).
The Proceedings of this first study were well 
received, the main reservation being that they 
not largely distributed. An excellent report, 
containing this criticism, was published in 1986 
ZDM (Zentralblatt fûr Didaktik der Mathematik). 
The Strasbourg meeting was followed by meetings
in Luminy (France) and Monastir (Tunisia) in 
January and February, 1986, and it was the basis
of the invited lecture I gave at the Berkeley ICM 
in 1986 on "Enseignement mathématique,
ordinateurs et calculettes". A new edition proved 
necessary. It was made by Bernard Cornu
and Tony Ralston, with a lot of new material, and 
was published in 1992 as a Unesco
document. Again, the distribution was not what it should have been.
Since then it seems to me that the conception of 
mathematics changed in many ways,
proving that computers and informatics do not 
replace brain nor mathematics, but allow
and force brain and mathematics to plough new 
fields. Mathematics teaching has still to
take advantage of informatics, or Information 
sciences, not only as a tool for a better
understanding of most classical subjects in 
mathematics, but also in order to provide new
ideas about what could be and what should be 
taught in our times. A reference to the first
ICMI study is still relevant in that matter.

Jean-Pierre Kahane, former President of ICMI, jean-pierre.kahane at math.u-psud.fr

Note from the editor: the second edition of the 
first ICMI Study is available onine at the
UNESCO website. Go to
and use the keyword Ralston in the search form. 
The second edition of the first ICMI Study
will be the first item to show up as a result of the search.



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