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14 December 2017
Doctoral thesis (Dissertations and theses)
Historicizing the journey of the New Math reform from the United States to Luxembourg in the 1960s and 1970s
Nadimi Amiri, Shaghayegh


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Keywords :
Math education; history of math education; New Math reform
Abstract :
[en] This research investigates the process of the New Math, an internationally disseminated reform of school mathematics in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, during the 1960s and 1970s. This mathematics reform was propagated in the Western side of the Cold War to promote the mathematical and scientific power of Western countries. With this initial objective as a core of the study, the research then expands the area of the research to look at the mathematics education in the western countries. Timewise also, this expansion goes beyond the 1960s and 1970s, the era of the New Math reform. Thus, in a broader perspective, the research attempts to study what school policymakers expect from school mathematics historically in Western countries. It studies how the background idea and reasoning of the New Math reform through the journey of the reform from the United States to Europe and Luxembourg was changed and adapted to be applicable in the educational context of Luxembourg. The three main questions of the research are: 1 How was the New Math reform received and advanced in Luxembourg? 2 What did Luxembourgers expect from their school mathematics? Or Why students in Luxembourg should learn mathematics? 3 What was the reasoning behind mathematics education in Western countries through the history of schooling? The research began by exploratory methods to clear the property of the research and to determine the data collection method and other features that research needed to improve its design. This approach led to a collection of data including documents related to the context of Luxembourg, and context outside Luxembourg. This collection included both primary and secondary sources. The research studied texts of laws, regulations, newspapers, conference proceedings of the era, mathematics textbooks, teacher journals and other officially published sources as well as unpublished sources such as correspondences between different actors related to the school system and math education. For reading and analyzing data, the research was inspired by Foucault’s archaeological approach in historical research and the study of different layers, which shape the discourse. In addition to Foucault, Popkewitz (e.g., 1997, 2009; Popkewitz & Lindblad, 2004) and Hacking (2012) inspired the work in developing the historical study of the reasoning. The research indicated two paradigms, which shaped the answers to the questions “why students should learn mathematics.” The first paradigm supports the reasoning, which argues that mathematics education should improve thinking ability, mental power and intellectuality. The second paradigm was based on the idea that mathematics offers a tool to learners to solve the problems of everyday life such as economics, engineering, etc. The research showed that these two paradigms shaped the discourse before and during the New Math reform and in different contexts and culture.
Disciplines :
Author, co-author :
Nadimi Amiri, Shaghayegh ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS)
Language :
Title :
Historicizing the journey of the New Math reform from the United States to Luxembourg in the 1960s and 1970s
Defense date :
13 September 2017
Number of pages :
Institution :
Unilu - University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Degree :
Focus Area :
Educational Sciences


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