Dg 6: the Nature and Roles of International Co-Operation in Mathematics Education(Journal Article)
The aim of the DG was to engage participants in fruitful dialogue about the nature and roles of international co-operation in mathematics education. Mathematics education, both research and practice, is international. This means that it is carried out in most places in the world and that, despite particular national or local characteristics, practitioners experience similar predicaments and share similar bodies of knowledge not only about mathematics but also about teaching and learning phenomena related to mathematics. Being international, relations among people in different national contexts have always been at the basis for the development of new trends in the field. The history of ICMI as an international organisation promoting coordinated effort towards the betterment of mathematical instruction is a clear example of how the development of the field is international from its outset (Menghini, Furinghetti, Giacardi, & Arzarello, 2008). The nature and role of internationalisation in relation to the advancement of mathematics education has changed with time. From being an exchange between mainly European and North American mathematicians interested in exploring ideas for instruction at the beginning of the 20th century, in the last decade we have an extensive network of mathematicians and mathematics educators placed in a variety of research and teaching institutions, all around the world. In ICME-10, DG 5 had already taken up this issue under the heading “International cooperation in mathematics education”. The group concluded the following important points (Atweh & Boero, 2008). In a globalised world with increasing inequality, international cooperation can be strategic to get access to scarce resources. However, the difference in resources in a partnership can lead to a dominant role of those who have access to the resources and thereby creating an unequal partnership. There are clear barriers to cooperation, namely financial resources, language barriers, cultural norms, conflicting agendas and issues of voicing the results of cooperation. The search for a genuine, mutually beneficial, equitable cooperation could diminish the impact of the barriers. Whether internationalisation leads to homogenisation depends on whether cooperative participants succeed in building strong links “from the bottom” so that diversification of perspectives and forms of contribution in cooperation can emerge. DG 6 ICME-11 built on the discussions and lessons from the previous group. The following questions guided our discussions. What are the goals of international co-operation? Cooperation can take many forms, be organised in many ways, and be implemented accordingly. What are the advantages and disadvantages of different forms, organisations, and implementations? What topics best fit into which version of cooperation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using regional versus global cooperation? What are concrete examples of international co-operation and what has been learned that can be disseminated to all? What are the barriers to international cooperation and how they can be dealt with? Would international cooperation lead to homogenisation? Would that be to the detriment of mathematics education or in its favour for acceptance of the discipline at large? As a response for a broad paper call, we received nine written contributions, which were made available prior to the conference. The sessions during the conference were organised to build on the written contributions but also to integrate the experience of the twenty participants, from countries such as Australia, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, United Kingdom, Unites States of America and Vietnam. In what follows, a thematic discussion of the main issues that emerged during the sessions as a response to the motivating questions is presented. We will support the points raised using the written contributions submitted to the group.
Authoured by: Richard Awichi , Paola Valero, Johnny W. Lott, Corine Castela
Academic units: Faculty of Science