International Conference on Mathematics Education and Society
took place in Nottingham, Great Britain, in September 1998. The
Second Conference was held in Montechoro, Portugal, in March
2000. On both occasions, people from around the world had the
opportunity of sharing their ideas, perspectives and reflections
concerning the social, political, cultural and ethical
dimensions of mathematics education and mathematics education
research in the world present societies.
As a result of the success of these two meetings, it was
decided to have a third conference within a period of two years
in Denmark. The 3rd International Conference on Mathematics
Education and Society was held in Helsingør, Denmark, from the
2nd to 7th of April 2002.
The conference was promoted by the Centre for Research in
Learning Mathematics, a co-operation centre between Aalborg
University, the Danish University of Education, and Roskilde
Education is becoming more and more politicised throughout the
world. Mathematics education is a key discipline in the politics
of education. Mathematics qualifications remain an accepted
gatekeeper to employment. Thus, managing success in mathematics
becomes a way of controlling the employment market. Mathematics
education also tends to contribute to the regeneration of an
inequitable society through undemocratic and exclusive
pedagogical practices which portray mathematics and mathematics
education as absolute, authoritarian disciplines. There is a
need for a discussing widely the social, cultural and political
dimensions of mathematics education; for disseminating research
that explores those dimensions; for addressing methodological
issues of that type of research; for planning international
co-operation in the area; and for developing a strong research
community interested in this view on mathematics education.
The MES3 Conference aims to bring together mathematics
educators around the world to provide such a forum as well as to
offer a platform on which to built future collaborative
As a result of an evaluation of the thematic organisation of
the two previous conferences, MES 3 will have a central
discussion issue that intends to be approached by exploring four
different related issues during each day of the conference. The
central discussion theme is the relationship between theory and
practice in mathematics education research from a
social/political/cultural/ethical perspective. This issue will
be stated in the opening session and will be explored through
the following areas:
- 'Minorities' and mathematics education: integration or
- Mathematics education reforms: content or context?
- Technology in mathematics education: inclusion or exclusion?
- Research and practice: reflection or change?
This group of volunteers has as a function to advise the Local
Organising Committee about the academic program of the
conference, and to review the papers submitted for presentation.
Tamara Bibby, Kings' College, England
KarinBrodie, Wittwaterands University, South Africa
Dimitris Chassapis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Tony Cotton, Nottingham Trent University, England
Peter Gates, University of Nottingham, England
Joao Filipe Matos, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Candia Morgan, University of London, England
Paola Valero, The Danish University of Education, Denmark
Renuka Vithal, University of Durban-Westville, South Africa
Robyn Zevenbergen, Griffith University, Australia
This group of volunteers is in charge of setting the academic
program of the conference, and of managing all the organisation
of the conference.
Morten Blomhøj, Roskilde University
Jessica Carter, Odense University
Kristine Jess, Copenhagen Teacher Training College
Lene Johansen, Aalborg University
Rasmus Hedegaard Nielsen, Copenhagen University
Ole Skovsmose, Aalborg University
Paola Valero, The Danish University of Education
This firm is in charge of the registration and handling of
Martensens Allé 8
Tel (int.) (+45) 70 20 03 05
Fax (int) (+45) 70 20 03 15
The conference will open on the afternoon of the 2nd of April
and will close at lunchtime of the 7th of April.
Plenary Lectures and Reactions
Tuesday, April 2nd. Theory and practice in mathematics education
research from social/political/cultural/ethical perspectives
Mathematics education in a world apart -where we are all
Paola Valero -Danish University of Education, and Ole Skovsmose
-Aalborg University, Denmark.
A person's foreground frames what a person is doing and want to
do. The foreground provides resources for learning. The
foreground is the social constituted perspective of a person's
hopes and aspirations, and also of the person's wishes for
engaging in learning.
Society may assign very different foregrounds to different
groups of students. As a consequence the psychological
perspective in research in mathematics education must be
reframed within a sociological perspective. If research in
mathematics education should interpret the meaning of learning
mathematics for different groups of people, then the social
construction of foreground must be considered. In this way we
can hope to discuss how social processes of inclusion or
exclusion determine a person's processes of learning.
Mathematics education is a world wide activity, but it has
very different significance depending on from where we see this
education. Manuel Castell's notion of the Forth World refers to
the black holes of the Informational Society, and this notion
gives a new meaning to inclusion and exclusion. From many
classrooms students can "see" both the Fourth World and the
Network society. What sense to make of activities in mathematics
education from such a perspective?
Awareness of processes of inclusion or exclusion makes a new
demand to research in mathematics education, and sociological
studies have to be reframed as politological and economic
studies. Thus, we argue for the relevance of a field of research
which we could call the political economy of mathematics
education. The Fourth World is very different from the
Informational Society, but both worlds are connected. Being
apart and being connected sets the scene for mathematics
education, and makes a demand to research in this area.
Wednesday, April 3rd. Minorities in mathematics education:
integration or isolation?
Ethnomathematics and the challenges of racism in mathematics
Arthur Powell - Rutgers University, USA.
In this plenary address, I will focus on issues and critiques of
ethnomathematics and its challenges to racism in mathematics
education. Ethnomathematics, a nascent but burgeoning field of
inquiry and action, has since the 1970s provided hopes for
significant, worldwide challenges to the professional practice,
historiography, and pedagogy of mathematics. Researchers in
mathematics and mathematics education have turned to
ethnomathematics as a space of new scholarship and of action
against oppressive educational structures that continually
disempower particularly subaltern learners of ethnic and racial
minorities within nations and subaltern nations within global
regions. To discuss this perspective of ethnomathematics, I will
explore questions such as these four: Have the hopes of
ethnomathematics been realized? Does ethnomathematics have
political origins and orientation that suggest an educational
praxis? Can ethnomathematics provide a praxis that helps
mathematics education activists? Under the current imperial
project euphemistically called globalization, how might
ethnomathematics effectively challenge structural features of
educational systems that continue to threaten racial minorities
and plummet nations into economic dependency?
Mamogkethi Setati - Witwaterands University, South Africa
Reza Farzin - AMU-Centre Copenhagen, Denmark
Thursday, April 4th. Mathematics education reforms: content
Whose heaven and whose redemption? The alchemy of the
mathematics curriculum to save (please check one or all of the
following) (a) the economy, (b) democracy, (c) the nation, (d)
human rights, (d) the welfare state, (e) the individual
Thomas Popkewitz -University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
The making of mathematics education is a fabrication that can
be called an alchemy. As analogous to the sorcerer of the Middle
Ages who sought to turn lead into gold, the alchemy of school
subjects is to transform the knowledge of the disciplines into
social spaces of schooling. The new spaces of interpretation and
regulation in pedagogy conform to the expectations related to
the school timetable, conceptions of childhood, and, in today's
language, through such terms 'concept mastery,' psychological
registers about 'cooperative small group learning,' and concerns
about the "motivation" and the "self-esteem" of children.
Except for the name of the discipline and the words of
disciplinary knowledge, school subjects have little relation to
the intellectual field that bears its name in schooling. The
problem of teaching and assessment is only tangentially related
to space of mathematics, music or history as it is about the
psychology of the child: the ability to think (informed
decision-making, problem solving), skill in communication
(defending an argument, working effectively in groups)
production of quality work (acquiring and using information),
and connections with community (recognizing and acting on
responsibilities as a citizen).
Why is the alchemy important? First, the alchemy of school
subjects is a particular system of reason whose effects are the
fabrication of the kinds of people administered in schooling.
Second, the alchemy stabilizes school content knowledge in order
to make the child as the site of administration. The mathematics
or science education is not about these disciplines but is an
ordering of the capabilities and dispositions of the child.
Revelation is transferred to strategies that administer personal
development, self-reflection, and the inner, self-guided moral
growth of the individual personality and character. In this
sense, the alchemy of school subjects shapes and fashions the
kinds of people that children are and are to become. Third, it
is a site in which the relations between the state, society,
community and individuality are worked and reworked. Fourth,
principles are generated that qualify and disqualify individuals
to act and participate.
Tamara Bibby - Kings' College, UK
Kristine Jess - Copenhagen Teacher College, Denmark
Friday, April 5th. Technology in mathematics education:
inclusion or exclusion?
Mathematics and technological literacy
Keiko Yasukawa - University of Technology - Sydney, Australia
There are arguments, which can be put to claim that some
notion of technological literacy is an important social goal.
Global warming and the destruction of the ozone layers and
globalisation of economic activities are examples of phenomena,
which are attributed at least partially to technological
'developments'. The sociologist Ulrich Beck and others argue
that we are living in a risk society, a society in which those
technologies and practices which were seen as solutions to the
problems of modernity have come back to haunt us as risks with
global and much greater consequences than the risks faced by
humanity in previous eras. At a more local, personal level, new
technological gadgets provide new 'capabilities' which often may
not be products of some democratic process of needs analysis.
So, technological literacy is a relevant concept in
understanding social change, and how one is positioned in
I will work with a loose definition of technological literacy
as a recognition, use, and critical questioning and
interpretation of technologies in personal and broader social
contexts. This draws on Luke and Freebody's definition of
critical literacy and Watson's definition of statistical
literacy. I will examine how, where and why mathematics
education interacts with this definition of technological
literacy. In particular, I will identify a critical gap in the
mathematics education of technologists - those people involved
in the design and production of new technologies - which works
to sustain the barrier to technological literacy of the
technologists themselves, and for society more generally.
I will present evidence of the limitations in breadth of
debates in mathematics education of engineers, namely, the lack
of attention to social studies of mathematics within the
engineering curricula. Using social constructivist frameworks of
technological development, I will argue the significance of this
gap in achieving technological literacy in a true democratic
form. I will also point to some opportunities for educators to
subvert the dominant curricula to fill this gap, both in
engineering and other curricula.
Cristina Carulla - University of Los Andes, Colombia
Rita Bastos - Escola Secundária Artística António Arroio,
Saturday, April 6th. Research and practice: reflection or
Field research tensions and paradigm shifts in action sciences
Orlando Fals Borda - National University of Colombia - Bogotá,
Three contextual kinds of tensions in fieldwork accompanied the
rise of Participatory Action-Research (PAR) in the Third World
during the 1970's: on theory/practice, on subject/object, and in
the development of a philosophy of life. Questions on validity
and rigor were also considered. The implications of this quest
for knowledge necessary to induce social change invited a
discussion on ontological components of paradigm formation,
especially in tropical areas. Some educational and academic
effects of this work on hard and soft sciences are examined.
Bill Atweh - Brisbane University of Technology, Australia
Mickael Skånstrøm - Statens Pædagogiske Forsøgscenter, Denmark
Sunday, April 7th. Concluding plenary panel
Groups will be set at the beginning of the conference and are
expected to discuss the plenary lecture and the reactions. Each
discussion group will produce a brief report detailing key
questions or issues to be addressed by the speaker and reactors
in the Plenary Response session.
There will be three parallel symposia with two sessions each, on
the 3rd and 5th of April.
Cultural differences and the teaching of proof for all
Christine Knipping -Universität Hamburg, and David A. Reid
Methodological implications for researching mathematical
thinking as a socially organised phenomenon
João Filipe Matos - University of Lisbon, Susana Carreira -
University of Algarve, Jeff Evans - Middlesex University,
Stephen Lerman - South Bank University, Candia Morgan -
Institute of Education, University of London, Madalena Santos -
University of Lisbon, and Anna Tsatsaroni - University of
The sociology and philosophy of mathematics revisited: Personal
Wenda K. Bauchspies -Pennsylvania State University, Jean Paul
Van Bendegem -Vrije Universiteit Brusssel, and Sal Restivo
-Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Paper Discussion Sessions
After peer review of all submissions, the Organising Committee
accepted 39 papers from presentation and discussion. The full
text of accepted papers is posted in the conference's website.
Project Discussion Sessions
During the peer review process, there emerged a new category of
presentations. These sessions on-going projects and reflections
have a place for formal discussion within the conference
programme. The summary of accepted project discussion sessions
is posted in the conference's website.
There are two evenings dedicated to an open, informal exchange
of ideas concerning two proposed topics: Mathematics,
mathematics education and war, and the future of MES.
Within the programme there are slots dedicated to discussing
possible co-operation among participants.
The venue for MES3 is Helsingør, a city located north of
Copenhagen, about 50 km (1 hour by train) from Copenhagen
International Airport. Helsingør (Elsinore) is known for its
fourteenth century castle, Kronborg, made famous by
Shakespeare's play Hamlet. Conference activities,
accommodation of participants and meals will be at LO-Skolen
in Helsingør, an educational institution with close ties to
the Danish labour movement. Given the very high costs of
food and accommodation in Denmark, the Local Organising
Committee chose this place since it gives the best possible
offer in terms of price in relation to the facilities for a
conference of this type.
During the conference, participants will be accommodated at the
LO-Skolen in double rooms or single rooms, according to
preference. All rooms are equipped with shower, toilet, radio,
television, telephone and hairdryer. During leisure time, you
can entertain yourself with many activities, e.g. table tennis,
billiards, skittles, bowling, fitness centre, and saunas. There
are a number of 'in-house pubs' at the LO-Skole for a late
dinner, dancing, or partying. There is a good library with
access to networks and an international section with newspapers
and literature in English. Telephone and fax services are also
available. There is a number of bicycles available for guests.
Walking tours to the city and to the beach area are also
Additional Accommodation pre- and post- Conference
People needing accommodation for extra nights before or after
the conference have the following options:
- Extra nights can be booked in the LO Skolen through the
conference secretariat. The LO Skolen offers a rate of 485 DKK
per night, per person in double room occupancy, and 710 DKK in
single room. These rates include breakfast. The payment for
extra nights accommodation at the LO-Skolen should be done
together with the registration. The cancellation policy for this
booking and payment is the same as for the conference fee.
- If you wish to make your own arrangements for accommodation in
Copenhagen, we suggest you to consult the following website
where you will find information about different kinds of
accommodation in the city:
Copenhagen International Airport is the closest
international airport to the conference site. The LO-Skolen
can be reached by train directly from the airport to
Helsingør. This regional train in direction to Helsingør
departs every 20 minutes from the Airport train station. A
single ticket from the airport to Helsingør costs
approximately 45 DKK ($1 US = 8,00 DKK) The ticket must be
bought in the airport's train ticket office.
From Helsingør Train Station you can either take bus 803 (in
direction to Hellebo) or a taxi to the LO-Skolen. A bus ride
costs around 13 DKK and a cab, 60DKK.
If you come with a group of colleagues or consider visiting
Copenhagen while being in the conference, before or after it, it
could be convenient to buy a grey, 10-rides, train card, that
will allow you to travel between Copenhagen and Helsingør. This
card costs around 250 DKK (that is 25 DKK per ride).
Denmark requests a visa for entry into the country to
citizens from non-European countries. Please, contact the Danish
Embassy or Consulate in your country and make sure that you have
the required entry documents before leaving your country. We can
provide invitation letters for visa application purposes upon
request in your registration format.
The full conference fee is 4800 DKK per participant in double
room occupancy, and 5700 DKK per participant in single room
The registration fee includes:
- Conference registration
- Accommodation at the LO-Skolen (2nd to 7th, April -5 nights)
- Meals at the LO-Skolen (Dinner on the 2nd; breakfast, lunch and
dinner from the 3rd to the 6th; and breakfast and lunch on the
- Coffee Breaks
For people who do not request accommodation, the registration
fee is 3000 DKK. This fee includes:
- Conference registration
- Lunch and dinner at the LO-Skolen (Dinner on the 2nd; lunch and
dinner from the 3rd to the 6th; and lunch on the 7th of April)
- Coffee Breaks
The registration fee for one accompanying person staying in a
double room with a conference participant is 4800 DKK
(Accompanying persons staying in single room should pay a fee of
5700 DKK). This fee includes:
- Accommodation at the LO-Skolen (2nd to 7th, April - 5 nights)
- Meals at the LO-Skolen (Dinner on the 2nd; breakfast, lunch and
dinner from the 3rd to the 6th; and breakfast and lunch on the
- Access to all the facilities of the LO Skolen.
NOTE: We suggest participants to stay in LO-Skolen since finding
an alternative accommodation and meals is not easy and
definitely not cheaper.
The Conference Secretariat run by Congress Consultants, in
co-operation with the Local Organising Committee, will be in
charge of handling registrations, payments and receipts. The
registration deadline is the 10th of January 2002. After this
date an additional rate of 500 DKK will be charged to the
pay all registration charges using one of the following methods:
International credit card
In this case you have to print the registration form, fill in
the information for your card, sign for authorisation and send
it by fax or mail to the Conference Secretariat.
Danish or international bank cheque
You can send a cheque in DKK to the Conference Secretariat for
the full amount of your payment. The cheque needs to be issued
to the order of MES. In the registration form you need to
indicate the bank that issued your cheque and the number of the
A bank transfer for the full amount of your payment in DKK can
be made to the MES 3 account. The bank information is:
BG-Bank Pilestraede 19, POBox 1193, DK-1011 Copenhagen K,
Account no: 9541 795 04 63931
As a reference for your payment, indicate your name (Ref:
First-name Family-name). In the registration form please
indicate the date of your transfer.
Since one of the aims of the conference is the discussion of
equity in mathematics education, we believe that we should
commit to allowing the participation of colleagues in different
parts of the world, who cannot easily find support for attending
to the conference. This idea of sharing will be done in two
Donations to the MES3 Scholarship Fund
We encourage colleagues from more advantaged environments to
make a contribution to the MES3 Scholarship Fund. This donation
is a voluntary amount of minimum 300 DKK that will be used to
support the registration fee of colleagues from disadvantaged
environments. In your registration form you will find a space
for indicating the amount of your contribution. This amount is
non-refundable in case of cancellation.
The Local Organising Committee raised funds to support the
participation of a limited number of colleagues from
disadvantaged environments. After acceptance of a paper or a
project discussion, the organising committee has granted 9
scholarships to participants who applied to the Fund.
Given the conditions of the contract with the LO-Skolen,
cancellations are possible with the following charges:
500 DKK is deducted from a paid registration fee for
cancellations before the 2nd of February 2002.
70% is deducted from a paid registration fee and additional
nights booked in the LO Skolen, for cancellations between the
2nd of February and the 2nd of March 2002.
No refunds are possible after the 2nd of March 2002.
Local Organising Committee
All information considering the academic aspects of the
conference can be provided by the main contact to the Local
The Danish University of Education
101 Emdrupvej, DK - 2400 NV, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel. +45 39696633 or 39663232 ext. 2681
Fax +45 39696626
For all information having to do with the formalities of
registration (payments and expedition of receipts) contact:
Martensens Allé 8
DK-1828, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Tel: +45 70 20 05 03
Fax: +45 70 20 03 15