Roles of mathematics in education

Since the late 19th century, mathematics as a research discipline functioned as the best model for correct reasoning in the sciences. Since then, mathematization of not only natural, but also social sciences, especially sociology and psychology, served as a way of making these disciplines more scientific, thus contributing to the credibility of the conclusions of the researchers. During the 20th century, mathematics became an integral and undisputed part of (European) education, even if in the first half of 20th century, it was usually called calculations and measurements. Including mathematics in general education became so natural that nowadays, mathematics teachers do not ask themselves the question why teach mathematics at all. It is generally accepted that mathematics lessons train the logical thinking of the pupils and success in mathematics at primary and lower secondary school is often taken as a sign of ability to succeed in academic career. Mathematics has thus partially taken over the role of Latin and Greek classes.

After the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989, one of the first major changes in mathematics education in Czechoslovakia was abolishing the compulsory exam in mathematics that those who wanted to enter the university had to take. It was a part of "Matura" or "A-levels", and this change resulted in turning the view on mathematics classes at secondary schools from that of a "necessary evil" to an "unnecessary evil". The efforts to re-introduce the compulsory exam in mathematics, led by the community of mathematicians and mathematics teachers have repeatedly failed, thus implicitly questioning the status of mathematics as a compulsory subject at upper secondary schools.

Looking into the history of mathematics in education may help our understanding why mathematics is included in the curricula. Why and when did educators suggest or agree with including mathematics among compulsory subjects? Why and when did professional mathematicians enter the decision-making process as to what parts of mathematics should be taught in upper secondary, lower secondary, and eventually even primary school?

We welcome proposals for papers on

· mathematics education and its place in general education, especially, although not exclusively, focusing on the Modern Era;

· the role of mathematicians in the negotiations as to what mathematics should be taught;

· embracing or refusal of mathematics education (in general or partially) by pedagogues who are not mathematics teachers;

· views held by the general public about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of mathematics education;

· and also other topics relevant to the conference topic.

Please, submit your proposals through EasyChair until 7 May 2022 (prolonged).

Acceptance notification: by 10 May 2022.

©  math & society, 2022
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