Reference : Cultural conditions in the adaptation of a global ideology: New Maths reform in Luxem...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Cultural conditions in the adaptation of a global ideology: New Maths reform in Luxembourg in the 1960’s and 1970’s
Nadimi Amiri, Shaghayegh mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
International Standing Conference for the History of Education - ISCHE 37 Culture And Education
from 24-06-2015 to 27-06-2015
[en] The idea that the modern mathematics can help pupil to become more intelligent or rational as the future citizens, was initiated in the United States after the WWII and accelerated after the launch of Sputnik by the USSR. As a part of martial plan, the United States introduced this idea in Europe through the so-called Royaumont Seminar in 1959. The seminar with the title “New thinking in school mathematics” was organized by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) and chaired by the American mathematician Dr. Marshall Stone in Royaumont Abbey in Paris. This seminar recommended its member countries to proceed with a reform in their mathematics teaching. Dr. Stone expressed the need for this reform “deep and urgent” (OEEC, 1961, p. 29). Luxembourg was also one of the first nations to participate in these international curricular activities including the Royaumont Seminar (OECD, 1961, p. 215). The development of maths and sciences education became an issue for the country to such an extent that Pierre Frieden, the prime minister of Luxembourg in 1958, proclaimed: “Those, who have the best scientists will win the Cold War … [and] the economic war!” (LW February 27, 1958, p. 3), thus underscoring the need for Luxembourg’s to participate in the reform movement.
This paper is part of a research project that studies how New Math was adapted for Luxembourgish primary schools. It works to reveal how a ‘globally’-disseminated idea about how mathematics relates to the ideology of the rational and critical citizen has been implemented in Luxembourg by translating it into its cultural idiosyncrasy. Many Luxembourgian mathematicians attempted to adapt conceptions of the new mathematics for the elementary levels during the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside, these mathematicians were also active in participating and even hosting conferences focusing on the subject of New Maths reform in that era. However, despite all these efforts, the new mathematics officially entered Luxembourg’s primary school textbooks twenty years after the Royaumont seminar.
The research data is drawn from relevant archival records including reports, correspondences, teachers’ journals, local newspaper articles, texts of laws, non-official and official relevant school-books of the era in Luxembourg. In addition, I also look at the handbooks of the new mathematics conceptions suggested in the US, in order to have a comparison to see how the suggested conceptions were adapted to serve values and expectations in Luxembourg.
My study shows that in one hand, Luxembourg had a very tight cooperation with OEEC/OECD, and on the other hand, there was the local culture and beliefs about the role of mathematics and the expectation from the future citizens. Besides the restriction that multilingualism made for preparing textbooks, moral and religious values also played their tremendous roles. In that situation, Luxembourgian educational-policy makers had to go through many delicate and time-consuming dialogues which are an interesting area of study. In this paper, I study how the ideology of New Math has been justified and adapted to be acceptable in the Luxembourgish culture.  

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