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History of International Cooperation in Mathematics Education

Abstract

This chapter outlines the evolution of international cooperation in mathematics education from its beginning in the nineteenth century, when an international perspective entered the world view, until the post-Second World War origin of the present structured network of activities aimed at mutually helping people. Cooperation is treated by following the path that goes from communication in mathematics to communication in mathematics education and from communication within countries to communication among countries. Particular attention is paid to the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) because of its key role as a catalyst of initiatives and as a privileged interlocutor between mathematicians, mathematics educators, and the bodies accredited for international cooperation in education.

Keywords

  • Nineteenth Century
  • Mathematics Education
  • Mathematics Teacher
  • International Cooperation
  • Executive Committee

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Fig. 27.1
Fig. 27.2

Notes

  1. 1.

    A discussion about the word “internationalization” and its related neologisms is in Parshall and Rice (2002a). The issue of internationalization of mathematics is treated in Parshall and Rice (2002b).

  2. 2.

    Though in this chapter the acronym ICMI is used to refer to all periods, it should be noted that the name of the Commission underwent many changes. Earlier, the Commission was known by the French acronym CIEM (Commission Internationale de l’Enseignement Mathématique) or by the German acronym IMUK (Internationale Mathematische Unterrichtskommission). In English the denomination was “International Commission on the Teaching of Mathematics” or other slightly different expressions; no acronyms were used. In Italian acronyms were not used for the Commissione Internazionale per l’insegnamento Matematico. When the International Mathematics Union had reconstituted the Commission (6–8 March 1952), the name “International Mathematical Instruction Commission” (IMIC) was adopted. This denomination was ephemeral: since 1954, ICMI (International Commission on the Teaching of Mathematics) became the denomination internationally used. Furinghetti and Giacardi (2008) present information and documents on the first hundred years of ICMI and links with the official organ L’Enseignement Mathématique and ICMI Bulletin, which are the main sources of the information reported in this chapter.

  3. 3.

    The Annuaire des Mathématiciens was a publication that contained the names and addresses of living mathematicians, scientific societies, and scientific periodicals.

  4. 4.

    See Mercanti (2008).

  5. 5.

    See Schubring (2008c).

  6. 6.

    Il Congresso, avendo riconosciuto la importanza di un esame accurato dei programmi e dei metodi d’insegnamento delle matematiche nelle scuole secondarie delle varie nazioni, confida ai Professori KLEIN, GREENHILL e FEHR l’incarico di costituire un Comitato internazionale che studii la questione e ne riferisca al prossimo Congresso.

  7. 7.

    Fehr (1910, p. 371) mentions a meeting in Göttingen (April 1910). Howson (1984) mentions a meeting in the Harz Mountains (Germany).

  8. 8.

    The sum of the reports in the table reported by Fehr (1920–1921) is 319 and not 300, as Fehr writes.

  9. 9.

    Alternative transliterations are Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Aleksandr Alexandrov.

  10. 10.

    Already at the meeting of the Executive Committee in Geneva (2 July 1955), Freudenthal criticized the style of the reports and advocated for scientific research carried out by the Commission (see Desforges 1955).

  11. 11.

    See http://www.mathunion.org/icmi/about-icmi/icmi-as-an-organisation/terms-of-reference/.

    The duration of the Executive Committees in the period 2007–2012 is 3 years (not 4 as it was in the past). After this period of transition, the mandates will revert to a duration of 4 years as before. Further information about the new procedure may be found in Bass and Hodgson (2004).

    The new procedure was adopted by IMU General Assembly (Santiago de Compostela, 19–20 August 2006). Further information may be found in Hodgson (2009) and on the IMU website, on the page dedicated to election procedures for ICMI http://www.mathunion.org/organization/ec/procedures-for-election/#ICMI.

  12. 12.

    EFA movement is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth, and adults; see http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/, accessed July 2011.

  13. 13.

    http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/wef_2000/, accessed July 2011.

  14. 14.

    The section entitled “China joins the IMU” (Lehto 1998, pp. 242–250) outlines the story of this episode. In Bulletin (1986, p. 16), two new members were welcomed to ICMI: the Chinese Mathematical Society representing the People’s Republic of China and Kuwait. In the list of national representatives, the Chinese Mathematical Society and Mathematical Society located in Taipei are mentioned.

  15. 15.

    See Kilpatrick (2008)

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Furinghetti, F. (2014). History of International Cooperation in Mathematics Education. In: Karp, A., Schubring, G. (eds) Handbook on the History of Mathematics Education. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9155-2_27

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