- Introduction to MES3

  - Aims of MES3

  - Organising Comittee

  - Conference Programme

  - Venue

  - Accommodation

  - Travel

  - Conference Fee

  - Registration

  - MES3 Scholarship Fund

  - Cancellation Policy

  - Contacts and Further Information

    about MES3
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Introduction to MES3

The First 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 University.


Aims of MES3

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 activity.


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 isolation?
  • Mathematics education reforms: content or context?
  • Technology in mathematics education: inclusion or exclusion?
  • Research and practice: reflection or change?

Organising Committee

International Committee

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

Local Committee

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

Conference Secretariat

This firm is in charge of the registration and handling of payments.
Congress Consultants
Martensens Allé 8
Tel (int.) (+45) 70 20 03 05
Fax (int) (+45) 70 20 03 15


Conference Programme

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 together
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 education
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 or context?

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 society.


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, Portugal



Saturday, April 6th. Research and practice: reflection or change?

Field research tensions and paradigm shifts in action sciences
Orlando Fals Borda - National University of Colombia - Bogotá, Colombia.

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

Working Groups

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.

Symposium 1
Cultural differences and the teaching of proof for all
Christine Knipping -Universität Hamburg, and David A. Reid -Acadia University

Symposium 2
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 Patras.

Symposium 3
The sociology and philosophy of mathematics revisited: Personal reflections
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 possible.

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: http://www.aok.dk/Copenhagen/Visiting_Copenhagen/


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.


Conference Fee

The full conference fee is 4800 DKK per participant in double room occupancy, and 5700 DKK per participant in single room occupancy.


The registration fee includes:


  • Conference registration
  • Proceedings
  • 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 7th)
  • Coffee Breaks

For people who do not request accommodation, the registration fee is 3000 DKK. This fee includes:

  • Conference registration
  • Proceedings
  • 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 7th)
  • 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 registration fee.


You can 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 cheque.

Bank transfer

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, Denmark.
Swiftcode: BIKUDKKK
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.


MES3 Scholarship Fund

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 ways:

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.

Awarded Scholarships

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.

Cancellation Policy

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.

Contacts and Further Information on MES3

Local Organising Committee

All information considering the academic aspects of the conference can be provided by the main contact to the Local Organising Committee:

Paola Valero
The Danish University of Education
101 Emdrupvej, DK - 2400 NV, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel. +45 39696633 or 39663232 ext. 2681
Fax +45 39696626
E-mail: or or

Conference Secretariat

For all information having to do with the formalities of registration (payments and expedition of receipts) contact:

Congress Consultants
Martensens Allé 8
DK-1828, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Tel: +45 70 20 05 03
Fax: +45 70 20 03 15
E-mail MES-3@congress-consult.com