Reference : The role of international organisations in the New Math reform process
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
The role of international organisations in the New Math reform process
Nadimi Amiri, Shaghayegh mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
ECER 2017: Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change: Ambivalent roles of policy and the role of educational research
22 to 25 August 2017
[en] New Math reform ; Mathematics education ; international institutions
[en] This paper studies a particular school reform that travelled over countries and continents. The target reform of this paper is the New Math reform, which started in the United States and travelled through many European countries. This article is part of my PhD project. I previously presented some of the results in different conferences, for instance: (Nadimi, 2015a, 2015b, 2016). The present paper studies the role of the international institutions in the adaptation of the reform in Luxembourg
In 1958, the School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG) in the United States started a series of mathematics reform under the title “the New Math reform”. The aim of this reform plan was to promote the “problem solving” abilities in students (Phillips, 2014, pp. 16- 59). Many of mathematicians and math educators who became a member of the SMSG, had already started working on a new system of math education at the University of Chicago since 1955. However, the launch of Sputnik satellite by the USSR in 1957 gave the opportunity to trigger the New Math reform.
The origin of the New Math reform was the ‘modern mathematics’ of the French Bourbaki group. A group of French mathematicians, since 1935, under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki founded the “modern mathematics” by publishing the series of Elements of Mathematics (Bourbaki's_homepage). The reform came back to its land of origin through a conference organised by OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation) in the Royaumont abbey in Paris to foster the reform movement in Europe (OECD, 1961). The official title of the conference was “New thinking in mathematics education”, but it is known as the “Royaumont seminar”. OECD (the Organisation succeeding the OEEC) published the proceeding of the conference and organised other following conferences. The fact that OEEC/OECD hosts these conferences shows the politico-economic aspect of this reform. (Tröhler, 2015, p. 6) indicates that organisations like OEEC were created to link the national and the international, to create a global sphere, and to form an institutional or organisational channel to transfer desired ideas, policies, and curricula.
The practical implementations of the New Math reform, in Europe, were discussed in two international organisations: ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction), founded in 1908, and CIEAEM (Commission Internationale pour l’Étude et l’Améloration de l’Enseignement des Mathématiques), established in 1950 (Vanpaemel, 2012). Furthermore, there were also local institutions, such as Centre Belge de Pédagogie de la Mathématique (CBPM). This centre had a close collaboration with Luxembourgian teachers and school stakeholders.
This paper reviews the process of the New Math reform in Luxembourg by focusing on the interactions between the international institutions and the local school system. By telling the story of Luxembourg, the paper reveals a part of history related to the acts and efforts of the mentioned international organisations in the dissemination of the New Math reform idea in Europe. It shows how the national and international interactions could help the advancement of the reform and where the collaboration met challenges. The central question that shapes the paper is that up to what point the international cooperation of Luxembourgian stakeholders could be influential at the national level. This can be an example of how the acts and efforts of international organisations interact with the local interested parties in the development of an educational idea.
Researchers ; Students ; General public

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