Conference report: Second International Conference for the History of Mathematics Education

The Second International Conference for the History of Mathematics Education was held in Lisbon, Portugal, October 2–5, 2011 at the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. A total of 35 papers from 40 contributors were presented at the conference. The themes were:
Policy and Mathematics Education – 9 papers

  • U.S. Mathematicians and the New Math Movement, Jeremy Kilpatrick.
  • Changes in exercise of power over school mathematics, Johan Prytz.
  • Values and beliefs of a self-sustaining society as reflected in 18th and 19th century arithmetic textbooks in Iceland, Kristín Bjarnadóttir.
  • Doing math or learning to count? Primary school mathematics facing the democratization of secondary education access in France, 1945-1985, Renaud d’Enfert.
  • From the Few to the Many: Historical Perspectives on Who Should Learn Mathematics, Gert Schubring.
  • Martha Dantas at Centre International d’Études Pédagogiques (Sèvres, 1953): an interpretation for historiography of Mathematics Education in Brazil, André Luís Mattedi Dias.
  • The organization of mathematics teaching in Europe according Jules Houël (1823-86), François Plantade.
  • Lessons in mathematics and astronomy in the court of Emperor Kangxi, Man Keung Siu, Qi Han.
  • The Transposition of the foundational studies in Italian pedagogic debates, Erika Luciano.

Mathematics teachers – 5 papers

  • American influence in math teacher training of primary education in Brazil, Wagner Rodrigues Valente.
  • Supervising and monitoring: How the work of Mathematics teachers was checked and assessed in the Soviet Union between the 1930s and the 1950s, Alexander Karp.
  • Forerunners of the Field: Mathematics Faculty and the Academic Climate for Mathematics Education in America during the 1890s, Eileen F. Donoghue.
  • The mathematics teaching in the first years after the 1772 Reform of the University of Coimbra, Jaime Carvalho e Silva.
  • Teaching mathematics in the Italian kingdom: missions and visions of secondary mathematics teachers, Fulvia Furinghetti.

The mathematics curricula – 4 papers

  • An early attempt for the teaching of history of science. Paul Tannery, his program on history of science for the secondary school, and his chapters “Sciences” in the General History from the Fourth Century to the Present by Lavisse and Rambaud, François Pineau.
  • Mathematics and the Dars-i-Niz.¹am¹³ Educational Reform in 18th Century India, Gregg De Young.
  • La enseñanza de las matemáticas en la Ratio studiorum de los jesuitas, Jesús Paradinas
  • Practical mathematics in 16th century England: Social-economic contexts and emerging ideologies in mathematical activity, Leo Rogers.

Methods of teaching – 3 papers

  • The notion of method in 19th century French geometry textbooks, Guillaume Moussard.
  • Mathematics education for orphans in the Dutch Republic; the Foundation of Renswoude in the eighteenth century, Jenneke Krüger.
  • The Emergence of the Idea of the Mathematics Laboratory in the Early Twentieth Century, Livia Giacardi.

Reforms of Mathematics Teaching – 5 papers

  • The making of mathematics curriculum: the case of Telescola in Portugal in the middle 1960s, Mária Cristina Almeida.
  • Inventing modern mathematics: Early debates on mathematical curriculum reform in Belgium, Geert Vanpaemel, Dirk De Bock, and Lieven Verschaffel.
  • Ernst Breslich’s reform initiatives in the spirit of Felix Klein, João Bosco Pitombeira de Carvalho.
  • Mathematics teaching and learning in the late 1970s in Portugal: intentions and implementations, José Manuel Matos.
  • The First International Reform Movement and its failure in the Netherlands, Harm Jan Smid.

Teaching Arithmetic and Algebra – 3 papers

  • Juan de Iciar practical arithmetic (1549): writing and counting in Spanish renaissance, Elena Ausejo.
  • Rational approaches to arithmetic and real numbers in the Italian programmes for the scientific curricula, Marta Menghini.
  • Historical research in mathematics education: the case of the metric system in Spain, Miguel Picado, Luis Rico.

Teaching geometry – 3 papers

  • Teaching of conics in 19th and 20th centuries in France: what changes for what conceptions of geometrical teaching? Evelyne Barbin.
  • The rise and fall of ‘Reality Geometry’, a contribution to the History of Geometry in Danish schools 1900-1960, Hans Christian Hansen.
  • Descriptive Geometry and the Polytechnic Schools – the origin and spread of an idea, Snezana Lawrence.

Textbooks – 3 papers

  • Measure and Metric System in Portuguese Primary School. Textbooks, between XIX and XX centuries, Ana Amaral, Alexandra Gomes, Elfrida Ralha.
  • A controversy about geometry textbooks in Norway 1835–36, Andreas Christiansen
  • A Course of Mathematics (1798-1841): The American story of an English textbook, Thomas Preveraud.

On the second day of the conference a splendid exhibition of Portuguese mathematics textbooks was opened. The organization of the conference allowed lively discussions after each presentation and in coffee- and lunch-breaks. A strong fellowship was gradually felt among the participants who presented many generations of researchers, veterans as well as doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows.

The leader of the local organizing group was José Manuel Matos, professor and leader of the research centre Unidade de Investigação Educação e Desenvolvimento at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The organizing committee of the conference comprised José Manuel Matos, Fulvia Furinghetti, Gert Schubring and Kristín Bjarnadóttir. Proceedings will be issued in spring 2012. The participants hope to be able to follow up the fellowship by a third conference on the history of mathematics education, preferably in Sweden in 2013.

The first specialized international research conference entitled “On-going Research in the History of Mathematics Education” took place in Iceland, June 20–24, 2009, see a report by Furinghetti (2009). The themes treated in the conference were: Geometry teaching, Interdisciplinarity and contexts, Method, Modern mathematics, Movements in the development of mathematics education in specific countries, Practice, The internationalization of education with particular reference to the ICMI and Transmission. Proceedings of the first conference (Bjarnadóttir, Furinghetti & Schubring, 2009) are still available at the University of Iceland, School of Education, email:

Bjarnadóttir, Kristín, Furinghetti, Fulvia, & Schubring, Gert (Eds.) (2009). “Dig where you stand”. Proceedings of the conference on On-going research in the History of Mathematics Education. Reykjavik : University of Iceland – School of Education.
Furinghetti, Fulvia (2009). On-going research in the history of mathematics education. International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education, 4 (2), 103-108.


  1. 1 Toekomstverkenning reken-/wiskundeonderwijs - Beter Onderwijs Nederland

    […] International Conference for the History of Mathematics Education. October 2-5, 2011, Portugal.contents (o.a.: Inventing modern mathematics: Early debates on mathematical curriculum reform in Belgium, […]

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